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Blinded by 'technology'

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London in a recent heatwave shows people using smartphones everywhere. Duncan Harris, Mansion House under a Creative Commons Licence

In early 2011, I was handing out leaflets at a demo against privatization of the British National Health Service. A smart middle-aged couple hove into view. They didn’t look as if they’d be terribly receptive but I thought I’d have a go: people often confound their stereotypes. But before I could utter a whole sentence, the man snatched my leaflet, scrunched it up and said: ‘You people are mad! You want to turn the clock back! You want to take us all back to a miserable world that’s simply incapable of producing something like this.’ And from the inside pocket of his overcoat he produced a new Apple iPhone.

This,’ he said, brandishing it under my nose, ‘is what a free market does. Brilliant technology that works! Not the rubbish you get from the kind of society you people want! She knows!’ And here he indicated his wife. Yes, she nodded, she had grown up in Romania. ‘This is the future,’ he continued, ‘not that!’ And with a contemptuous side-glance at our home-made placards, away they strode, into the future.

This either/or mindset bestrides the political landscape like the ancient Colossus of Rhodes. Again and again we hear, even from people of the political Left, that whatever its failings, capitalism reigns supreme when it comes to delivering advanced technologies. If we want wonderful things, we need the cut-and-thrust and inevitable casualties of free-market competition. One columnist, responding to the 2010 suicide epidemic at Foxconn’s iPhone assembly plant, equated boycotting the company to boycotting the 21st century.1

For ‘technology’ read ‘packaging’

But the notion that ‘progress’ and ‘technology’ equal the latest piece of consumer electronics is just hot air. According to hypertext pioneer Ted Nelson, an iPhone is not technology, it is packaging.2 Yes, it uses technologies (von Neumann architecture, binary arithmetic units, random access memory, Unix or a similar operating system, TCP/IP, DHCP, HTTP, USB, Ethernet… I could go on). Most of them are surprisingly old technologies, developed long before capitalist firms became computer enthusiasts. And they often do less than they did, or were meant to do, when they were new.

Were you aware, for example, that your smartphone or laptop is capable of sharing its resources with a whole network of cheap ‘dumb terminals’ or even old, cast-off machines? Its operating system (Unix, or one of its Open Source workalikes) began life in the late 1960s to serve multiple users simultaneously from a single machine. Today, all over Latin America, in South Korea and Nepal, in Greece and other austerity-stricken places, ingenious techies are using this buried feature to give schools and colleges all the computers their students need, despite having had their budgets axed.3

Almost none of these technologies owes anything to the cut-and-thrust of free-market competition. They emerged, instead, from unpaid, individual or collaborative effort, motivated solely by the very impulses that capitalism normally suppresses: the desire to help others, to solve an intriguing problem, to win the respect of one’s peers.

Capitalism’s defenders say that it brings these clever ideas out of the ethereal world of the lone inventor or the university lab into the real world, so that real people can benefit from them – as if capitalism were a sort of wise and reassuring parental presence, or a midwifery service for boffins. This idea is as tenacious as it is false.

Dumbing down technology since 1840

From the 1950s onwards, study after study has shown that capitalist firms are much more likely to resist new ideas than to foster or embrace them. Computers were possible at least a century before the present lineage emerged during the Second World War. Some of the early designs (like Thomas Fowler’s ‘ternary logic’ device of 1840) could have led to much more efficient computing paradigms than what we have now.

The big breakthroughs came to an end when computers started to become capitalist commodities in the 1970s and the failures became legion. For example, computer firms have all struggled to produce reliable operating systems (OSs, the software that co-ordinates a computer’s components and essential processes). Today’s OSs are nearly all based on one written in his scanty spare time by a programmer called Ken Thompson in 1969 (Unix, and its free GNU/Linux successors). Almost all today’s computers still use an architecture devised in the 1940s for fragile, valve-based machines to do precisely one thing at a time – and no more. This is why the typical modern computing device needs such a fast, energy-hungry processor, and is, according to one writer, ‘the least efficient machine that humans have ever built’.4

Computer disk drives have been the workhorses of the computer revolution since the early 1960s; ‘cloud computing’ would be unthinkable without the billions of them that fill data-centres. But the technology was developed in defiance of management orders by a group of IBM workers, who ‘risked their jobs to work on a project they believed in’.5

Where capitalist firms excel is in their tendency to ‘run away’ with any technology that they decide to adopt and stifling other technologies that might threaten the profit stream

Where capitalist firms excel is in their tendency to ‘run away’ with any technology that they eventually decide to adopt, forcing it into every possible nook and cranny of economic life that might yield even a short-term profit, and stifling other technologies that might threaten the profit stream – hence the winner-take-all character of technological change in capitalist economies. Technologies that start out full of promise turn into juggernauts. Nothing illustrates this more vividly than the computer and the internet. The promised ‘weightless economy’ is now one of the world’s greatest producers of greenhouse gases. In 2010, Greenpeace found that the internet’s global population of servers was consuming more electricity than Germany or even India.6

Good technology, bad impact

And here’s the paradox. Every new technology aims to achieve more with less. Yet the moment the forces of economic competition get involved, the equation is thrown into reverse. The more efficient the technology, the bigger its environmental impact, leading finally to the ecological catastrophe we now face.

The problem was first defined by the economist William Stanley Jevons in 1865. The British government had asked him to examine why Britain seemed to be getting through its coal reserves at an ever-faster rate, although steam engines were becoming more efficient with each passing year, requiring less coal to do the same amounts of work. Jevons’s verdict was that this was indeed a genuine phenomenon, probably an intractable one, and not confined to steam technologies: where there is price competition, greater efficiency can lead to greater demand, which negates any savings in energy consumption.

Since then, many economists have tried to show that Jevons was wrong, or that better technology would eventually achieve ‘escape velocity’, and start delivering the hoped-for reductions: a phenomenon known as ‘decoupling’. This is often the basis of ‘green growth’ arguments, but actual instances of decoupling are very hard to find. For example, LED lights seem miraculously efficient. They need minuscule amounts of electricity in use – but they use enormous amounts in manufacture, to which must be added the environmental and human costs of extracting and refining the raw materials that go into them, as well as packaging and shipping, all of which are borne far from the point of use. Only the brute force of global inequality keeps these expenses off the bottom line. The positional pressures on consumers and manufacturers to take advantage of the new, cheap-looking technologies while they still have a cost advantage (or might give rivals a cost advantage) then ensure massive growth in usage and impact, for little or no increase in anybody’s welfare.

The underlying reason for the Jevons effect is now becoming apparent: social inequality. When powerful new technologies emerge in unequal societies, they are deployed to protect and entrench inequality.

Archaeology has found that serious, human-initiated environmental degradation did not occur until the rise of entrenched inequality in the Bronze Age, a mere 5,000 years ago.7 Today, it is the more unequal societies (like the US and Dubai) that harm the environment most. Less-unequal societies harm their environments commensurately less, while achieving the same or better outcomes in terms of human and environmental welfare.8 The most egalitarian societies of all actually enrich their environments.

When powerful new technologies emerge in unequal societies, they are deployed to protect and entrench inequality

The implications are radical. Inequality cannot be allowed any longer to turn humanity’s achievements into juggernauts. Inequality may be the ‘great unmentionable’ of capitalist economics, but it must be challenged. Equality of all human beings has to be our goal, plain and simple. Not just gender equality, or ‘equal opportunity’ or ‘equality of respect’, but equality, as in nobody having more resources than anyone else without good reason (for example, if they are ill, or old, or very young, or handicapped in some way, or have a project that we all agree merits special support).

Reducing inequality offers a genuine win-win solution: humans gain, and so does our environment. And it becomes a ‘triple win’ when one looks again at how technological innovation actually happens. Here, equality is central.

The unlikely and officially disapproved partnership that produced Britain’s first electronic computer, the Colossus in 1943, is typical: on the one hand, a team of working-class telephone engineers led by a bricklayer’s son, Tommy Flowers; on the other, the posh-but-eccentric (and gay) mathematician Alan Turing. Their superiors did all they could to kill the partnership and bury its achievements, but the threat of national extinction robbed convention of its usual force. The collaboration proceeded, albeit briefly and on a shoestring – yet with terrific consequences. On the larger historical scale, there is plenty of evidence that ‘the rise of the West’ itself, which has made extreme inequality the global norm, owed far less to the creative energies of its new, capitalist states, than to their violence, and a treasure trove of technologies developed during the so-called ‘dark ages’ by anonymous craft-workers in egalitarian guilds and fraternities.9

How much further might our technologies have advanced by now if the commitment to equality that’s routinely emblazoned on public buildings and even our coins carried real, practical force? Today’s most creative societies are also our most egalitarian ones. In their dim way, even the ‘big beasts’ of the capitalist economies acknowledge equality’s importance, setting up hermetically sealed, quasi-egalitarian ‘villages’ and ‘campuses’ where programmers, designers and so on can operate free from the brutal hierarchies that dominate life for their other employees.

We are encouraged to marvel at our era’s technological achievements and either place our blind faith in them, or despair. We should recognize how pitiful those achievements actually are, and how obscene their impact, in relation to what is possible.

Bob Hughes taught digital media at Oxford Brookes University until 2013, with a particular interest in publishing for social change. He is the author of The Bleeding Edge: Why technology turns toxic in an unequal world (New Internationalist, 2016).

On 1 December, join author Bob Hughes and Richard Wilkinson for a panel and discussion on the impact of technology on inequality at Oxford's Blackwell's Bookshop. You can find more information on Blackwell's event page.

  1. Nick Cohen, ‘How much do you really want an iPad?’, The Guardian, 30 May 2010, nin.tl/Cohen-iPad
  2. See Ted Nelson’s 2012 YouTube series Computers for Cynics.
  3. See the Linux Terminal Server Project: ltsp.org
  4. George Dyson, Turing’s Cathedral, vintage, 2012.
  5. Economic Concentration; hearings before the subcommittee on antitrust and monopoly of the committee of the judiciary; US Senate, 89th Congress, May and June 1965.
  6. Gary Cook, ‘How Clean Is Your Cloud?’, Greenpeace International, April 2012, nin.tl/unclean-cloud
  7. Martin Jones, Feast: Why Humans Share Food, Oxford University Press, 2007.
  8. Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson, The Spirit Level, Bloomsbury, 2009, and The Equality Trust, equalitytrust.org.uk
  9. P Parthasarathi, Why Europe Grew Rich and Asia Did Not: Global Economic Divergence, 1600-1850, Cambridge University Press, 2011; Lynn Townsend White, Medieval Technology and Social Change, Oxford University Press, 1962; Steven A Epstein, Wage Labor and Guilds in Medieval Europe, UNC Press Books, 1991.

Inequality costs the earth

Divided we fall: social inequality adversely affects the rich as well as the poor.

Mark Henley / PANOS

The modern global economy doesn’t just run on fossil fuels. It runs on inequality, which now stands indicted by a rapidly growing mountain of evidence, as the real driving force behind all the harms, and more, that have led to climate change. A world without inequality is not just desirable: it’s an urgent necessity. And it can be achieved. The market may or may not have an ‘invisible hand’ but it most definitely has an ‘invisible foot’ – inequality – which has been bearing down harder and harder on the world and its people in the frenzied pursuit of economic growth. Emissions will not reduce until that pressure is eased.

Our new understanding began with the epidemiological studies of inequality initiated by Michael Marmot and others in the 1970s. Today, thousands of surveys confirm that life in an unequal country is shorter and nastier than life in a more equal one.

In the US (the world’s most unequal rich country) being among the least wealthy 20 per cent takes 14 years off your life and diminishes its quality in ways that go too deep and too wide to quantify. In Britain, the penalty for being in that lower fifth is 7.5 years. And inequality affects everyone: even the rich die slightly younger, and lead slightly worse lives, in the US and the UK than in more equal Sweden or Japan. Knowing this means that anyone who tolerates inequality must now accept full responsibility for other people’s misery, illness and early death.1

Rich countries generally have far greater ecological impacts than poorer ones – but a country’s impact may not relate so much to its wealth, as to its wealth inequality

What is less widely discussed is the environmental cost. Inequalities are far more costly than income differences alone might predict. For example, an Oxford University study in 2006 found that 61 per cent of all travel emissions came from individuals in the top 20 per cent (those earning $62,000 a year or more) while only 1 per cent of emissions came from those in the bottom 20 per cent (with incomes up to $15,500).

Sheffield University’s Danny Dorling (see ‘Mean machine’ p.20) reckons that: ‘... it is almost certainly an underestimate to claim that the richest tenth of the world’s population have a greater negative environmental impact than all the rest put together. [...] And, of the richest tenth of the world’s population, the richest tenth consume more, even than the other half a billion or so affluent.’2

This extraordinarily disproportionate impact is explained not by their wealth alone, but by their wealth relative to the rest of the population. The whole idea of ‘wealth’ becomes disastrously skewed in an unequal society.

Rich countries generally have far greater ecological impacts than poorer ones – but a country’s impact may not relate so much to its wealth, as to its wealth inequality. The World Wide Fund For Nature’s (WWF) 2008 Living Planet Report showed that the two countries with the greatest per capita ecological impact were the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United States, with ecological footprints of 9.5 and 9.4 global hectares (gha) per citizen in 2005. That compares to a sustainable footprint of just 2.1 gha. If wealth is defined in terms of human wellbeing and development, this need not carry any ecological price – highly egalitarian Cuba had a footprint of just 1.8 gha. In 2006, Cuba was the only country to achieve both sustainability and good-quality lives for its people as measured by the UN’s Human Development Index. Some countries that are almost as wealthy in crude terms as the UAE and US, but which are more equal, have nowhere near the ecological impact. But rich nations are deceptive units of comparison because they do less and less productive work, especially the dirty work, within their own borders.

In the US, a strong relationship has been established between inequality and environmental degradation. A 1999 study by James Boyce at the University of Massachusetts found that more-unequal states like Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi had worse pollution and weaker environmental laws than more-equal states like Minnesota, Maine and Wisconsin.3 These same unequal states also suffered from more crime, higher infant mortality and suicide rates and increased levels of incarceration – never mind the chances of being washed out of your home by a passing hurricane.

One country, two worlds: 20,000 poor Argentines and immigrants live in the Buenos Aires slum known as Villa 31.

Enrique Marcarian / Reuters

Emulative consumption: the cost of saving face

Inequality does its work in two ways – first, by the ‘emulative consumption’ described more than 100 years ago by the Norwegian-American sociologist Thorstein Veblen in his Theory of the Leisure Class. In an unequal world, says Veblen, life becomes above all a battle for respect, to avoid ‘invidious comparisons’.

‘Everyday life,’ he wrote, ‘is an unremitting demonstration of the ability to pay.’

The rich not only spur each other on in extraordinary feats of over-consumption. Their habits also transform consumption down the social pecking order. Whole societies morph into high-performance planet-trashing machines as everyone is drawn into an intensifying struggle for ever-more fragile respect (and self-respect). Take the billionaire who needs apartments in London, Paris and New York and a yacht with a helipad just to keep face with his peers; or the working-class families that must spend more than they can afford on a car that makes them look wealthier than they are; or their children, terrified of the scorn awaiting them should they turn up to school in the wrong shoes.

Positional consumption turns private wealth into public ‘illth’

Whereas emulative consumption is driven by frail human psychology, ‘positional consumption’ is 100 per cent material; forced on us by factors that physically shape our lives. The British economist Fred Hirsch first coined the term in his 1977 book, Social Limits to Growth. ‘Positional goods’ are those whose value is reduced, or which cease to be luxuries and become necessities, if others have them too. Hirsch’s analogy is standing up at a football match to get a better view: if everybody does it, nobody is any better off. Country cottages and ‘unspoiled Greek islands’ are classic positional goods, whose pursuit blights entire countries with terrifying speed. Private automobiles are another classic positional good. Once enough people are using them, they become obligatory. Anyone who wants to continue leading a ‘normal life’ must find the money to play a game whose ante is continuously being raised. Likewise private schools and private healthcare. The more others use them, the more (and the more urgent) reason there is for you to use them too – or be left behind. All this is very good for the GDP (the whole neoliberal project can be seen as one of turning as many goods as possible into positional goods) but of diminishing benefit to anyone or anything else. As Dorling has observed, the English city of Bristol spends vastly more money on secondary education than does similar-sized Sheffield, because it has an extraordinary number of private secondary schools. Sheffield has hardly any. Yet both cities send almost identical numbers of children to university.

Actually, to call these things ‘private’ is misleading: they have massive public impacts. A ‘private’ housing development dominates and diminishes the lives of everyone it excludes, or who even tries to conduct their life in its vicinity. Private helicopters intrude on the lives of millions (especially in hotspots of inequality like São Paulo, which has more private helicopters than Manhattan). These things are unlike genuine private goods (such as a meal, decent clothing or a good night’s sleep) whose enjoyment affects only the person enjoying them.

Hirsch observes that even good A-levels (a British secondary school graduation diploma) are ‘positional goods’ when the supply of plum jobs (like a doctor or a lawyer) is restricted. Decent marks are no longer adequate – you need straight As plus interesting extra-curricular accomplishments to get into the best universities. And the education that provides these opportunities itself becomes positional, especially when an élite private sector dominates it. Hence the Bristol taxi-driver who works double shifts from the time his daughter is two years old to get her into one of that city’s five private all-girls schools – adding two extra tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere every year and wearing himself out in the process. He is not necessarily driven by crude ambition, but by fear for his daughter if she has to attend the disparaged local secondary school.

But being a doctor should not be a prize for which people fight each other: the more good doctors, the better, surely. This is the approach taken in Cuba where doctors come to you rather than you to them. His or her carbon footprint is about the same size as everyone else’s. They are not a species of aristocracy, yet the profession still has no difficulty attracting recruits. And Cuba achieves almost the same health outcomes as the US – for a twentieth of the expenditure. While this may be bad for GDP, it’s certainly good for the planet.

Housing is possibly the most ridiculous positional ‘good’ of all. Dorling’s 2007 study, Poverty, Wealth and Place in Britain, 1968 to 2005, showed how the ‘exclusive rich’ must now compete for diminishing numbers of desirable house locations at a huge energy cost to society. Extra hours must be worked to secure the same amount of housing (two salaries instead of one); extra journeys must be made as ‘islands’ of respectability and safety become smaller and more isolated. Jobs are also more separated from where people live. In unequal countries (and even more so on this increasingly unequal planet) work of all kinds has been relocated to suit the rich.

Within countries this means more time must be spent commuting and cars must be more reliable and safer. There has been a 20 per cent increase in the size of automobiles in the US since 19854, plus a vast increase in their numbers and a tripling of commuting time between 1983 and 2003.

Globally it means more migration: the bravest and ablest embark on trials and journeys that rival Odysseus wherever there are borders between rich and poor. Internationally there are thought to be about 300 million migrants (and this does not include the hundreds of millions of ‘internal’ migrants, especially in China). They are the ‘dark matter’ of the neoliberal universe, without which no budget would ever balance – ‘ragged-trousered philanthropists’ working almost for nothing, doing the work the poor in the rich countries refuse because it doesn’t pay enough to survive. There are three-quarters of a million illegal migrants in Britain alone, trapped by draconian anti-immigrant laws. This system has led to a lucrative revival of slavery, debt-bondage and death through overwork – not to mention the increasingly acceptable racism that keeps the whole structure standing.

The automobilization of Swindon

Some of the most powerful mechanisms driving ‘positional consumption’ seem to happen just outside our peripheral vision. For example, in Britain many banks, insurance companies and building societies moved their headquarters out of drab town centres to new, ‘prestigious’, out-of-town settings during the 1980s and 1990s. The word ‘prestigious’ became a stock-epithet in UK advertising copy during that period, reflecting the growing importance of status.

This was partly to accommodate the needs of an enlarged, motorized sales-force (in turn, the consequence of turning pensions into ‘positional goods’, as private pensions were promoted in opposition to state and job-based pensions).

In one case, in the early 1990s, the Nationwide Building Society moved its headquarters out of central Swindon into a new, steel-and-glass, atrium-style building, amid landscaped car parks, close by the motorway. This meant that several hundred low-paid and mainly female clerical, catering and ancillary staff could no longer travel to work easily by bus, or do family shopping in their lunch-hours. From 1994 to 1997 (when I worked there) Nationwide’s parking lots gradually became fuller and fuller – mainly with older cars. Executives complained the lots were being filled up with ‘bangers’. Tennis courts and flowerbeds were paved over to make way for them. Even so, the women had to arrive at work earlier and earlier to be sure of getting a place. Low-paid staff had been forced into the automobile economy, to play their part in the monstrous ramping-up of carbon emissions that marked that decade, with impacts that left no corner of the planet untouched.

This saga seems to have been part of a general trend. Amanda Root has found that the number of women with driving licences in Britain jumped by 90 per cent during the 1980s and 1990s. For the first time there were as many female drivers as men, but women drove only a fifth as many miles as the men reflecting the same type of car usage, and the low status that went with it.1

  • Arthur Halsey and Jo Webb, eds, ‘Transport and Communication’, Twentieth Century Social Trends, Macmillan, 2000.
  • Prioritize public goods, outlaw inequality and open the borders

    In Hirsch’s analysis, ‘positionality’ supercedes older and more limited notions of private and public wealth, and embraces what the 19th century English social critic John Ruskin called ‘illth’. The opposite of a positional good might be a public good, which enriches everyone’s life no matter who owns it. Or a private good, whose consumption is an entirely private matter, affecting nobody else – things like warm clothes, decent food, leisure, creative activities and personal relationships. Private fortunes, on the other hand, have broad social impacts, as does the industrial ‘private sector’.

    Clean water, good schools, libraries, theatres, cafés, parks and public transport are clearly public goods – and the planet and its people need more of them. Yet no country has ever pursued an economic policy informed by this concept of maximizing public good while eliminating ‘positional goods’. Now is the time.

    Above all we need to reduce inequality because this means less competitive and less positional consumption – and less of almost any type of social morbidity you care to name, from homicide to obesity.

    We could do this rapidly: the British government did it during World War Two with great popular support. Consumption fell to a fraction of its peacetime level – yet public health made its greatest advance of any period in British history. Central to this project is the opening of all international borders. Instead of properly defining zones of responsibility, borders are now essentially a means of separating rich from poor, ‘us’ from ‘them’. The obscenity of EU and US border fortifications against the world’s poor (and the cancerous network of agencies and commercial interests serving them) is a terminal symptom of the divisive malaise the societies they pretend to protect have harboured for far too long: the divisions of class.

    Time for anger, not guilt

    Climate change is a social justice issue. But till now it has been presented as a problem of collective guilt. ‘We’ must repent and mend our ways. This spreads the blame in a way that mocks democracy, pretending that the poor and the rich are somehow equally responsible. Meanwhile the real crime – the very existence of rich and poor – continues to create havoc. There are powerful interests who are quite content if social justice stays out of the climate change debate and no doubt will fight tooth and nail to keep it out. There are also climate change activists who care nothing about the rights of their fellow humans, let alone their happiness. But they had better start taking an interest because until the grievous infringements of dignity most of humanity endures are addressed there will be no civilized end to the climate debate.

    When people’s sense of injustice is engaged, mountains can be moved.

    Bob Hughes is a lecturer at Oxford Brookes University, and a member of No One Is Illegal

    Short changed

    As inequality grows, so does its impact on people. You can clearly see that in the archaeological and historical record. The first evidence of environmental degradation due to human activity is not associated with agriculture (as was widely assumed) but with the emergence of intensely unequal, aristocratic societies in the eastern Mediterranean around 5,000 years ago.

    The same sites also reveal the human health problems associated with inequality. Ordinary people had five times more dental lesions than their rulers and were up to four per cent shorter. ‘An average Bronze Age male farmer from the eastern Mediterranean would stand 167 cm (5 feet, 6 inches); 6 cm shorter than his ruler and 10 cm shorter than his hunting ancestors.’1

    This pattern of inequality, depletion of natural resources and human immiseration is common in early-modern European history, helping explain the rise of capitalism in northern Italy and the Low Countries, and culminating in the spectacular exodus of European poor to the Americas and Australasia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. By 1914, the average British army conscript was 12.7 cm (5 inches) shorter than the average officer.2 Europeans have only regained their hunter-gatherer stature in the last two or three generations – thanks to cheap fossil fuels and intensified exploitation of the rest of the world.

    This knowledge is new. Epidemiological studies began in earnest in the 1970s but the archaeological evidence only started to emerge in the 1980s. So it is little wonder that the penny has taken a little while to drop – especially when one reflects on how deeply and forcefully we have all been acculturated, over scores of generations, to accept inequality.

    1. Martin Jones, Feast: why humans share food, Oxford University Press, 2007.
    2. Andrew Marr, A History of Modern Britain, Macmillan, 2007.
    1. Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson, The Spirit Level: why more equal societies almost always do better, Penguin 2009; Richard Wilkinson The Impact of Inequality, Routledge 2005; Vicente Navarro, ‘Inequalities Are Unhealthy’, Monthly Review, Volume 56, Number 2.
    2. Personal communication 28 Sept 2007. See also Dorling, Injustice: why social inequality persists, Policy Press 2010
    3. James Boyce, ‘Is inequality bad for the environment and bad for your health?’ Differentakes 8, Spring 2001.
    4. Richard Frank, ‘Falling Behind: how rising inequality harms the middle class,’ University of California Press, 2007.