Injustice: Why Social Inequality Persistsby Danny Dorling is a sweeping critique of British politics that bluntly dismisses a plethora of supposedly progressive policies as ineffective, distractions from what he says are the real trends undermining the wellbeing of individuals, communities and the country. “I’d done 20 years’ worth of saying, ‘This is what I think is going on’, sort of describing it, and I’d get these little criticisms saying, ‘But he doesn’t say why it’s happening.’ The big question is why is it going on?”
He identifies five sets of beliefs – elitism, exclusion, prejudice, greed and despair – that he claims are replacing Beveridge’s five social evils at the dawn of the welfare state (ignorance, want, idleness, squalor and disease), and have become so entrenched in Britain and some other affluent countries that they uphold an unjust system that perpetuates extreme inequality.
He makes a case for why each set of beliefs is propagated, how each contributes to a growing gap between rich and poor, and why they endure. He says: “The beliefs are supported by the media where stories often imply that some people are less deserving, where great City businessmen (and a few businesswomen) are lauded as superheroes, and where immigrants looking to work for a crumb of the City’s bonuses are seen as scroungers.”
Dorling feels that politicians of all hues should be called to account for overseeing such unprecedented rises in inequality that put us on a par with Victorian society. “In countries like Britain, people last lived lives as unequal as today, as measured by wage inequality, in 1854, when Charles Dickens was writing Hard Times,” he states. Mary O’Hara, The Guardian.
Looks like the next book on my reading list and for anybody else with an interest in the upcoming election – I suspect the Tories are going to love this but for all the wrong reasons.