Dysfunctional Societies: How Equality Makes Societies Stronger (2015) ($5)

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What distinguishing feature do the world's healthiest and happiest societies have in common? According to acclaimed author Richard Wilkinson, the answer is simple: they have far less income inequality than other societies. In this new film based on his international best-seller The Spirit Level, Wilkinson focuses on why the U.S., despite being one of the richest nations in the world, lags behind so many other rich Western societies in a number of crucial statistical measures - including life expectancy, violence, health, community, teen pregnancy, mental illness, and incarceration. The reason, he suggests, is that the immense wealth of the U.S. has been unevenly distributed among the American people.

Mobilizing years of research, Wilkinson looks at the devastating toll economic inequality is taking on people around the world, and shows that societies with the smallest gaps between rich and poor enjoy the highest levels of health and happiness across all social and economic classes. The result is a timely and accessible reassessment of some of our most cherished socio-economic principles and myths. As one reviewer observed, the research of Wilkinson and his colleagues "will change the way you think about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

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