In this book, pioneering social epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson, shows how inequality affects social relations and well-being. In wealthy countries, health is not simply a matter of material circumstances and access to health care; it is also how your relationships and social standing make you feel about life.

Using detailed evidence from rich market democracies, the book addresses people’s experience of inequality and presents a radical theory of the psychosocial impact of class stratification. The book demonstrates how poor health, high rates of violence and low levels of social capital all reflect the stresses of inequality and explains the pervasive sense that, despite material success, our societies are sometimes social failures. What emerges is a new conception of what it means to say that we are social beings and of how the social structure penetrates our personal lives and relationships.

chapter 1|31 pages

Affluent Societies

Material Success, Social Failure

chapter 2|24 pages


More Hostile, Less Sociable Societies

chapter 3|44 pages

Anxieties and Insecurities

The Eyes of Others

chapter 4|43 pages

Health and Inequality

Shorter, Stressful Lives

chapter 5|23 pages

Violence and Inequality

Status, Stigma, and Respect

chapter 6|46 pages

Cooperation or Conflict?

Inequality Names the Game

chapter 7|20 pages

Gender, Race, and Inequality

Kicking Down

chapter 8|48 pages

Evolved Social Strategies

Mutuality and Dominance

chapter 9|36 pages

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

Economic Democracy