Tuesday December 23, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
13o C
8o 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)  
Klaus Regling stresses debt sustainability through commitment to reforms
‘Crisis of confidence will come back again and again,’ says Thomas Piketty
Who lost Greece
Snubbing the moderates
Gov´t seeks better result in second presidential vote as bribe claim probe shelved
With all political parties now actively preparing for the prospect of snap elections, MPs are to vote in the second ballot of a critical three-phase presidential vote at noon on Tuesday. The...
Civil servants to grade evaluation scheme
As of Monday, Greek civil servants are now able to have a say in the public sector evaluation scheme that is currently undergoing fine-tuning by the Ministry of Administrative Reform. By log...
Inside News
October data show fleeing bondholders
October data compiled by the Bank of Greece confirm that foreign investors are letting go of their Greek bonds, as within just one month the country’s central bank recorded an outflow of 1.7...
Expired debts to the state soar to more than 72 bln euros
Households’ inability to keep up with their tax payments combined with anticipation of the new repayment plans, which were finally announced a few weeks ago, led to expired debts to the stat...
Inside Business
SOCCER
Special day for Abidal, lucky one for PAOK
PAOK scraped through its Livadia challenge beating Levadiakos to remain on top of the Super League for Christmas, one point ahead of Olympiakos that enjoyed a great game at Kalloni and offer...
BASKETBALL
Explosive Barca unfazed by Panathinaikos, bomb scare
Panathinaikos lost 80-67 at home to Barcelona on Friday in a rather meaningless game at the end of the first group stage of the Euroleague, but the encounter will be remembered for the bomb ...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. October data show fleeing bondholders
2. Expired debts to the state soar to more than 72 bln euros
3. First four contracts to fund small firms signed by IfG and banks
4. Investors putting plans on hold
5. Gov´t seeks better result in second presidential vote as bribe claim probe shelved
6. Civil servants to grade evaluation scheme
more news
Today
This Week
1. Greek parliament vote in balance after Samaras election offer
2. Euro shaky on ECB and Greece, dollar keeps edge
3. Prosecutor gathers depositions in Independent Greeks 'bribe' probe
4. Government accuses SYRIZA and Independent Greeks of 'clear alliance'
5. Draghi starts squaring QE circle in month of persuasion for ECB
6. Klaus Regling stresses debt sustainability through commitment to reforms
Today
This Week
1. Samaras summons bond vigilantes with euro exit talk
2. High stakes
3. Europe's drama in Greece needs final act to avoid tragedy
4. On the edge but not gutless
5. Ship with 200 migrants off Pylos towed to Italy after passengers refuse to stop in Greece
6. Greek PM offers compromise solution with elections by end-2015
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.