Inequality Matters

TheGlobeandMail.com- opinions/letters
Published Monday, Jan. 10, 2011

Margaret Wente’s Jan. 8 column flippantly dismisses a very important argument. Wilkinson and Pickett’s The Spirit Level is the most recent description of a well-established body of literature that demonstrates how greater inequality results in shorter, less healthy lives for people.

In inner-city Saskatoon, where I practise medicine, the growing inequality of our society has led to an astonishing level of poverty. With it we see the attendant epidemics of annoyances like bed bugs, lice and scabies and the far more serious concerns of addictions, prostitution and HIV/AIDS. Even though it may be easier to get their daily calories, the lives of many of my neighbours are as desperate as any Dickensian match girl. While Ms. Wente is right to cry foul at the “financial über-elite,” to dismiss any call for greater equality as irrelevant will not help the situation.

Ryan Meili, MD, Saskatoon

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