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The Effects of Income Inequality

British epidemiologists Richard Wilkenson and Kate Pickett's book The Spirit Level:  Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger reveals the widespread effects of a country's inequality of income.  Greater income inequality is related to a wide range of harmful effects including many related to health such as life expectancy, obesity, drug use, and mental illness, and to social measures such violence, bullying and conflict in schools, rates of imprisonment, happiness, levels of trust, children's well being, educational performance, and teen pregnancy.

Wilkenson and Pickett based their book on research that used statistics from first world nations and from states in the U.S.  Following are two videos from a longer talk that they gave in 2010.


"Can an Unequal Society Become Sustainable?"
Epidemiologist Kate Pickett from the University of York addresses this question and more.  See the 6 minute video and transcript

"Why Cubans Live Longer than Americans" - Kate Pickett explains that the systemic problems of inequality penetrate the entire social hierarchy, giving wealthy societies like the U.S., greater health problems and shorter life expectancies than many, less economically developed, nations.  The video is not actually about Cuba, but part of a broader discussion of countries' wealth and their life expectancy.   See the 3 minute video.

david strand

A cross cultural research project in 2009 found the U.S. to be the most dysfunctional society in comparison to 16 other wealthy countries on measures of social cohesiveness from the Successful Societies Scale.  In fact, David Strand remarked in the August 3 Aitken Independent Age that the U.S. was a remarkable outlier, lagging other nations by a wide margin.  Strand wrote, "our poor standing on the Successful Society Scale is not surprising considering three decades of public policies promoting economic and social insecurity. The middle and lower classes have been under attack for 30 years."  Read his column summarizing the study.

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In June 2012, Think Again MN launched a history series that examines politics and policy-making in Minnesota during the last century from the immediate post World War II years up through the 1990s. That era witnessed fierce legislative battles at the State Capitol but it was also a time of shared values that cut across partisan lines. 

Read about it here

MN's Leading Election System

MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon


steve simon


Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

Get details on how to vote at

Oregon's Automatic Voter Registration

How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016

In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

Read the Article

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