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Publisher's Summary

A timely examination by a leading scientist of the physical, psychological, and moral effects of inequality.

Today's inequality is on a scale that none of us has seen in our lifetimes, yet this disparity between rich and poor has ramifications that extend far beyond mere financial means. In The Broken Ladder, psychologist Keith Payne examines how inequality divides us not just economically, but also has profound consequences for how we think, how our cardiovascular systems respond to stress, how our immune systems function, and how we view moral ideas such as justice and fairness.

Experiments in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral economics have not only revealed important new insights on how inequality changes people in predictable ways, but have also provided a corrective to our flawed way of viewing poverty as the result of individual character failings. Among modern developed societies, economic inequality is not primarily about money, but rather about relative status: where we stand in relation to other people. Regardless of their average income, countries or states with greater levels of income inequality have much higher rates of all the social problems we associate with poverty, including lower average life expectancies, serious health issues, mental illness, and crime.

The Broken Ladder explores such issues as why women in poor societies often have more children, and have them younger; why there is little trust among the working class that investing for the future will pay off; why people's perception of their relative social status affects their political beliefs, and why growing inequality leads to greater political divisions; how poverty raises stress levels in the same way as a physical threat; inequality in the workplace and how it affects performance; why unequal societies become more religious; and finally offers measures people can take to lessen the harm done by inequality in their own lives and the lives of their children.

©2017 Keith Payne (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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amazing book. changed my thinking about poverty.

wow this one needs to be read by everyone. I am a conservative and this book showed me several areas where I have been mistaken in my thinking.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Eye-Opening

This book expanded my idea around inequality and the true effects it has on society and life. I appreciated the numerous references to studies and specific ideas I hadn't really reflected on before. Well read and quick as well. I'd recommend this book to everyone.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I work for Habitat for Humanity

We build homes in poor neighborhoods and wonder why homeowners don’t succeed at higher rate. Now I know.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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another liberal brain washing book

more liberal dribble. uses studies and makes huge leaps of faith with them to push an agenda
easy story and the narrator was very good

0 of 4 people found this review helpful