Sunday Jul 13, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
28o C
22o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Society stands on equality

By Nikos Konstandaras

In early 2010, when Greece was sinking in debt and China was soaring with a growth rate of 11.9 percent of GDP, a visit to China turned out to be most enlightening. Government officials, executives of major companies and journalists were unanimous in expressing a grave fear: that inequality between rich and poor in their country was threatening their country’s achievements. This was a year or so before the Occupy movement drew attention to inequality between citizens and between countries.

A year earlier, in 2009, two epidemiologists in Britain, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, had published a book which, with a wealth of figures and compelling analysis, argued that almost everything in society is determined by the level of equality among its members. They said that life expectancy, mental illness, violence and the level of literacy depended not on how wealthy a society is but how equal it is. In “The Spirit Level: Why Equality Is Better for Everyone,” the authors wrote that societies with a bigger gap between rich and poor are bad for everyone.

The book had significant impact and also provoked criticism. However, one does not need all these (convincing) statistics to understand that inequality can poison everything. Solon and Aristotle believed that equality before the law was the basis for social progress and well-being. In the last century, great battles were waged for equality between the sexes and between races. But the road toward equality is still long, in many parts of the world.

Today, much of the public debate in Western societies is focused on this issue. Just a couple of days ago, in his State of the Union address, US President Barack Obama made clear that he will do whatever he can to close the widening gap between Americans. “Inequality has deepened,” he declared. “Our job is to reverse these trends.” On Wednesday, presenting her government program, newly re-elected Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke of Germany’s “social market economy” that aspires to growth, jobs and innovation while assuring social welfare and greater equality.

We know the issue well in Greece. Here we achieved unprecedented equality and prosperity only to see them shaken to the core. Our extravagance, impunity, indifference and lack of conscientiousness undermined the essence of equality to the extent that our prosperity was founded on borrowed wealth. The crisis and reforms have affected everyone, with greater weight falling on the middle class and social welfare system. Now that we have to start from the beginning, at least we know the danger that inequality poses and the need to achieve true equality among citizens.

ekathimerini.com , Thursday Jan 30, 2014 (19:23)  
Justice and Parliament, victims of the crisis
Everything but the obvious
Violence and selective sensitivities
Waste not, want not
Ministry to work with Interpol to trace artifacts
The Culture Ministry plans to cooperate with Interpol in a bid to trace some 100 Greek artifacts that have been missing since World War II and the subsequent Greek Civil War, Kathimerini has...
Kasidiaris led arms classes, magistrates leading GD probe say
Ilias Kasidiaris, the spokesman for ultranationalist party Golden Dawn who was remanded in pretrial custody last week on charges of supplying weapons to a criminal organization as part of a ...
Inside News
Hotel rates drop on Folegandros but soar on Myconos
Folegandros is the Greek destination with the biggest decline in hotel rates this month compared with a year earlier according to data processed by the Trivago travel website. Online hotel p...
Offsetting measures as gas market opens up
The Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) is processing a plan to offset the losses of the local gas supply corporations, known as EPAs, in the natural gas retail market, in cooperation with Shell a...
Inside Business
SWIMMING
Greek teenager takes swimming world aback
Eighteen-year-old Apostolos Christou has surprised the world of swimming by breaking the world junior record twice within 24 hours, in the process of grabbing gold at the 100 meters backstro...
SOCCER
Olympiakos lands Swiss midfielder Kasami
Greek champion Olympiakos Piraeus continued its summer rebuilding by signing Swiss midfielder Pajtim Kasami on a three-year deal from English side Fulham, it announced on Wednesday. The 22-y...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Ministry to work with Interpol to trace artifacts
2. Kasidiaris led arms classes, magistrates leading GD probe say
3. Coalition eyes tax, debt relief
4. Migrant rescue operations continue in the Aegean
5. US reiterates backing for solution to Cyprus impasse
6. Officer caught dealing drugs at Attica precinct
more news
Today
This Week
1. Kasidiaris led arms classes, magistrates leading GD probe say
2. Coalition eyes tax, debt relief
3. Migrant rescue operations continue in the Aegean
4. US reiterates backing for solution to Cyprus impasse
5. Ministry to work with Interpol to trace artifacts
6. Woman detained for scamming senior citizens
Today
This Week
1. More people to get social dividend
2. Major increase in travel receipts, tourism arrivals
3. Over 10,600 artifacts looted in WWII returned to Greece
4. Disbursement of bond profits hits a snag
5. EWG gives nod for bailout tranche
6. Crete crocodile to be relocated to tropical climes
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.