Inequality matters. We often hear politicians talk about tackling poverty’ and the need to improve social mobility’ but economic inequality lies at the heart of both these phenomena and much more. 

Here are ten reasons to care about economic inequality (in no particular order):

  1. Your pocket. As social beings we constantly compare ourselves to others, especially those who are better off. In an effort to keep up with what the rich have we exhaust and exceed our household resources and get into debt.
  2. Your talent (and your pocket again). The wealthy have more collateral to invest in their education and ideas. As there are only so many places at top universities, this locks in their success, and leaves less room at the top for everyone else.
  3. The economy (and your pocket for the third time). Inequality is bad for the economy. It impacts on tax-take, entrepreneurialism, and it was one of the main reasons for the financial crash.
  4. Your children. Inequality impedes social mobility because those with advantage can buy their children advantage.
  5. Your streets. Inequality erodes the connections within and between communities. Rich and poor live in different neighbourhoods and go to different schools. This creates distance between them that generates distrust, social conflict and crime.
  6. Your health. Inequality drives status anxiety, which contributes to ill-health.
  7. Your happiness. Inequality sharpens the focus on individual materialism, eroding other aspects of a good life crucial for well-being, such as relationships and community cohesion.
  8. Your planet. Inequality drives consumption at a rate the planet cannot sustain.
  9. Your government. Money equals power. Political lobbying instigated by the rich helps prevent redistribution and contributes to the democratic deficit.
  10. Your sense of justice. High levels of inequality, especially when they are transferred to future generations, are inherently unjust. This injustice damages the reputation of the UK and erodes civic pride and identity.