Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Broken Ladder by Keith Payne

The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die by Keith Payne --- 246 pages including footnotes and index.

Drawing on his research on the psychology of inequality and discrimination, Payne (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) argues that the amount of money you have doesn't directly equate with your sense of success or satisfaction. Instead, what really matters is how you feel when you compare yourself with other people. Research shows that poverty harms health, encourages short term thinking and bad decisions and de-stabilizes families and communities. But Payne demonstrates the deeper issue is not just poverty. Even people who by any objective measure are not economically deprived may act as if they are because they feel poor compared to the affluence they perceive around them. Regardless of their actual incomes, people who live in areas with greater levels of income inequality statistically demonstrate higher rates of the social problems associated with poverty: shorter life expectancy; more chronic diseases, more mental disorders, increased incidence of family instability, neighborhood violence and crime.

Payne explores how people's perceptions of their social status warps political and religious beliefs; how inequality in the workplace undermines performance and job satisfaction; how inequality in our communities destroys social cohesion and saps belief in the American dream.

Click HERE to read the review in Kirkus.

Click HERE to read a review from the National Book

Click HERE to read a review from the Los Angeles Our

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