In response to recent criticism, the authors of The Spirit Level defends its claim that there is always a link between social problems and inequalityby Richard Wilkinson / August 10, 2010 / Leave a comment
Published in August 2010 issue of Prospect Magazine
In our book The Spirit Level, Kate Pickett and I demonstrated that, first, many problems which are more prevalent lower down the social ladder are worse in societies with bigger income differences, and second, that almost everyone would benefit from reduced inequality. To some, however, these seem impossible notions. Writing in the August 2010 edition of Prospect, Matthew Sinclair from the Taxpayers Alliance claimed our research was “simply untrue.”
Sinclair believes he has spotted statistical sleights of hand that hundreds of fellow academics who reviewed our research papers for numerous journals have failed to detect. Decades of peer-reviewed epidemiological research, funded by research councils have, he imagines, been torn to shreds by Christopher Snowdon—author of The Spirit Level Delusion. While Snowdon is described as a “public health researcher,” in actual fact he has no public health qualifications and appears never to have published research in a peer-reviewed journal. Instead, his main contribution to public health is a diatribe against tobacco control and a denial of the ill effects of second-hand smoke.