We believe that in order to gain substantial improvements in the real quality of life of the populations of developed countries it is necessary that differences in income and wealth are greatly reduced.
OK, so we joke about how we have the randiest teenage liggers in Europe, can out-belch the Belgians and who would want perfect teef anyway? But inequality in society makes life worse for all, and – as you would expect – those on the lower end of the scale get a disproportionately worse deal than those at the top. The Thatcherite monetarist nostrum that, “… a rising tide floats all the boats…” is not true. To keep the metaphor, there is now very good evidence in Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, The Spirit Level (Penguin 2009), that lower tides and longer mooring lines are what we need.