Wednesday May 27, 2015 Search
Weather | Athens
14o C
09o 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)  
Romantic notions meet reality
Solving the Gordian Knot
Shame, justice, democracy
Worrying signs in ruling party
Greece says deal with creditors is close; markets cheer
Greece's prime minister said Wednesday that his country is close to reaching a deal with its bailout creditors, prompting European stock markets to jump on hopes of a breakthrough in the slo...
Falling museum visitor grabs at, smashes ancient Greek vase
Greece's culture ministry says a millennia-old pottery vase in a southern museum has been damaged after a visitor who lost her balance tried to hold onto the exhibit and crashed down with it...
Inside News
Resolve Greece talks soon to avoid crisis, says US´s Lew
US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew called Wednesday for Greece's debt crisis to be resolved quickly to avoid the risk of "accidents", as G7 finance ministers gathered. "Brinkmanship is a dangero...
Economic sentiment weakens in Cyprus in May, says survey
Economic sentiment in Cyprus weakened in May, a publicly funded survey said on Wednesday, as businesses forecast a worsening financial situation in the coming three months. The Economic Sent...
Inside Business
SOCCER
AEK Athens returns to top league after financial collapse
Greek club AEK Athens has just returned to the country's top soccer league, two years after financial collapse sent it to a lower league. One of the country's largest clubs, AEK sealed its s...
SOCCER
Berg brace gives Panathinaikos four-point lead
Panathinaikos beat Atromitos on Sunday and took advantage of the goalless draw between PAOK and Asteras Tripolis to open a four-point gap from PAOK at the top of the Super League play-off mi...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Greece says deal with creditors is close; markets cheer
2. Falling museum visitor grabs at, smashes ancient Greek vase
3. Greece says has begun drafting agreement with creditors
4. Technical teams from creditors and Greece drafting agreement, says gov´t source
5. Resolve Greece talks soon to avoid crisis, says US´s Lew
6. Commissioner Avramopoulos calls for EU solidarity on immigration issue [Update]
more news
Today
This Week
1. Some 300 mln left banks on Tuesday
2. Romantic notions meet reality
3. Target of Greek scorn shapes nation’s fate as IMF’s storm-chaser
4. Solving the Gordian Knot
5. The G-7's problem: Can the world deal with a Greek default?
6. ECB said to leave emergency aid level for Greek banks unchanged
Today
This Week
1. Conspiracy madness
2. National self-awareness put to the test
3. Albanian demarche raises concerns about possible territorial claims over Greece
4. Hotel contracts with a ‘Greek default clause’
5. Neither Grexit nor a dual currency will solve Greece’s problems
6. Merkel said to plan address for Greece if deal reached
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2015, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.