Keith Payne: The broken ladderhow ineuality affects the way we think live and die



The Broken Ladder How Ineuality Affects the Way We Think Live and Die by Keith Payne The Broken Ladder is an excellent book that examines what ineuality does to us as people Psychologist Keith Payne examines how ineuality changes how we experience the world and makes use of the latest insights in psychology neuroscience and behavioral science to illustrate such changes This insightful 252 page book includes the following nine chapters 1 Lunch Lady Economics Why Feeling Poor Hurts Like Being Poor 2 Relatively Easy Why We Can t Stop Comparing Ourselves to Others 3 Poor Logic Ineuality Has a Logic of Its Own 4 The Right the Left and the Ladder How Ineuality Divides Our Politics 5 Long Lives and Tall Tombstones Ineuality Is a Matter of Life and Death 6 God Conspiracies and the Language of the Angels Why People Believe What They Need to Believe 7 Ineuality in Black and White The Dangerous Dance of Racial and Economic Ineuality 8 The Corporate Ladder Why Fair Pay Signals Fair Play and 9 The Art of Living Vertically Flatter Ladders Comparing with Care and the Things That Matter MostPositives 1 Engaging well written well researched book that is accessible to the masses2 An important and timely hot button topic in the masterful hands of Keith Payne how ineuality affects us3 Good use of charts and diagrams to complement the excellent narrative4 Does a reat job of describing key concepts of the book Over the years hundreds of studies have replicated the Lake Wobegon effect The studies show that most of us believe we are above average in intelligence persistence conscientiousness badminton and just about any other positive uality The we value the trait the we overrate ourselves with respect to it 5 Makes reat use of multiple disciplines like psychology neuroscience and behavioral sciences to illustrate key points Here he makes use of evolution The discovery that capuchin monkeys are averse to receiving uneual outcomes much like humans suggests that these tendencies are evolved rather than learned 6 Making clear what poverty and wealth truly are poverty and wealth are always relative to what other people have in a particular time and place 7 The keys to ineuality Poverty concerns what a person has or lacks while ineuality describes how money is distributed charting the distance between the haves and have nots 8 Describes the impact of poor environments In short poor environments cause poor outcomes as a lack of resources leads to a lack of opportunity 9 Interesting section on the differences between liberals and conservatives The first and most obvious is that conservatives enerally want to preserve tradition and the status uo while liberals want to see changes in society The second fundamental distinction between conservatives and liberals is their willingness to accept ineuality In study after study subjects who see the world as a threatening and dangerous place tend to be politically conservative Those who see the world as safe and who are motivated by exploring and trying new experiences tend to support liberal views 10 Interesting observations Sociologist Robb Willer analyzed presidential approval ratings between 2001 and 2004 and found that whenever the terror alert increased so too did approval ratings for President Bush Taken together these observations suggest that the rise in ineuality that has occurred over the past few decades might be contributing to increasingly intense partisanship and political conflict 11 The role of relative status examined As we expected based on the role of relative status the higher status Bible Prophecy group wanted to cut taxes and reduce redistribution and the lower statusroup wanted to increase taxes and benefits for future Yaratma Cesareti generations of players 12 Examines the feeling of superiority This research was the first to show that feeling superior in status magnifies our feeling that we see reality as it is while our opponents are deluded It supports the idea that as the top and the bottom of the social ladder drift further apart our politics will become divisive That is exactly what has happened over the past several decades 13 Interesting factoids spruced throughout the book In the US states with higher ineuality tend to have shorter life expectancies 14 Fascinating and eye opening look at stress Stress does not create new energy it only redirects it When the stress responseives a boost in one area it has to take something away somewhere else In the face of the potential emergency stirring in the The Astral Codex grass your body shuts down all unnecessary functions Thelucose and proteins that flood your bloodstream are now being taken away from long term projects like cell division maintenance and repair and redirected to the muscles Indeed studies have shown that people with lower incomes tend to have higher levels of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline in their bloodstreams 15 An examination of conspiracy theories To believe in a conspiracy you trade a bit of your belief that the world is ood fair and just in exchange for the conviction that at least someone anyone has everything under control 16 The relation between religion and ineuality Highly uneual countries were much religious than eual ones 17 Examines how widening income ineuality fuels racial prejudice and how racial stereotypes are used to justify and preserve that ineuality The white applicant was called back twice as often as the eually ualified black applicant Similar studies have been repeated with the same results in New York Chicago Atlanta and other cities They have also been replicated in areas other than employment Black renters are much likely than eually ualified white renters to be told there are no vacant apartments Black shoppers are offered less favorable deals on cars and higher interest rates on mortgages than eually ualified whites Antiblack bias A timely examination by a leading scientist of the physical psychological and moral effects of ineuality The levels of ineuality in the world today are on a scale that have not been seen in our lifetimes yet the disparity between rich and poor has ramifications that extend far beyond mere financial means In The Broken Ladder psychologist Keith Payne examines how ineuality divides us not just economically; it also has profound conseuences for how we think how we respond to stress how our immune systems function and even how we view moral concepts such as justice and fairnessResearch in psychology neuroscience and behavioral economics has not only revealed important new insights into how ineual.

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Ith you are just morons Not only do places with higher ineuality have poorer health outcomes people in these places have shorter lives The reasons have to do with feelings of continual stress causing inflammation and chronic disease This is one reason the USA although a wealthy country has shorter life expectancies than similar developed nations In fact life expectancy in the USA is uite a bit shorter than it is in Canada a much egalitarian countryAnother discussion I found interesting was about studies which show that uneual countries are religious regardless of their wealth On a chart shown on page 149 you can see that the USA while very high in average income is still also high unusually so in religious belief any belief not any certain religion There is a chapter devoted to the effects of racism on ineuality and one on how egalitarian workplaces differ from those which are very hierarchical In corporate structures which are very hierarchical people taking direction endure far stress than their managers do Pay ineuality is also discussed with special attention paid to the fact that the ap between what CEOs and rank and file workers make is widening to an alarming degree He Story of the Liberty Bell gave results from studies that showed that when people feel themselves to be treated unfairly they often even the score by slacking off or by stealing The ratio of CEO pay to ordinary worker pay is now 350 to 1 As the author says on page 195 The extreme ineuality seen today in CEO pay is likely to undermine job satisfaction team performance and product uality It may inspire workers to slack off steal and sabotage These tendencies have probably been kept in check so far by theeneral lack of awareness of how uneual the pay scales really areIn a final chapter he offers advice on how to handle the sort of uneual society in which we in the USA now live He says The feelings of insecurity cued by poverty together with easy us versus them divisions fostered by ineuality provoke us to embrace simplistic beliefs extreme ideologies and prejudices that provide easy answers but do so by sabotaging the healthy functioning of civil society page 199 Further the poor are driven by a immediate and critical set of incentives Their lives involve daily crises which they attempt to cope with using the best short term crisis management responses they have available They have long since abandoned conforming to the economist s vision of rational responses to incentives and have replaced them with reactions aimed at keeping heads above water Admonitions to start pulling up bootstraps ring hollow when you live in that world page 200 He continues on page 203 The necessity of seriously confronting ineuality and not just material poverty suggests the startling conclusion that we cannot simply row our way out of our current predicament Just as people often confuse ineuality with poverty they often c This book was a uick read It posits that ineuality is at the root of many issues present in the societies of those countries that most exhibit it Its basic thesis is compelling the idea is that absolute wealth is not the key indicator Rather it is how people feel relative to one another that fosters feelings of ineuality and unhealthy social comparisonsIt begins by demonstrating how people are naturally prone to compare themselves to one another Through reporting on a variety of scientific experiments it tries to drive home the point that feelings of relative poverty encourage us to think from a short term perspective make riskier choices and enerally sacrifice longer term well being This presents a mix of pretty interesting experiments and others that I felt were a little too far afield eg studies on mice to really warrant inclusion in the bookI found the thesis convincing and I was probably most engaged with the chapter concerning how this behavior plays out in the business world This section discusses how ineuality in the workplace relates closely to perceived fairness and when people feel unfairly treated they tend to become less productive and in some cases work against the company It suggested keeping hierarchies flatter and curtailing the now enormous Desert Rose and Her Highfalutin Hog gap between employee and executive payIt concludes withood suggestions about how to cope with ineuality in everyday life such as remembering your ood fortune relative to others and focusing on your core values that likely have little to do with status Overall I d recommend it This is a very interesting book It tackles the effect of ineuality and tries to explain how it affects people behavior It is really well written and as subject brings very interesting reflections that kinds of affect how we reason about several aspects of life such as public policies moral justification of ineuality ie that person is poor because he is lazy and social mobilityThe main take aways are Our behavior is not affected by how wealthpoor we are but by how wealthpoor we are related to others We unconsciously compare ourselves to others When we notice this ineuality and we are in the low end of the spectrum we feel that we are in This book was engaging and accessible though it addresses subjects that can often be dense or dull Speaking as someone with ADHD this made it a lot easier to read and digest as did the personal anecdotes raphs and images that aided in the reader s understanding of the subject I would definitely recommend this book First this doesn t work as an audio book with all the references to charts and Hey Wait a Minute! Five Rough and Reluctant Sex Erotica Stories graphs that you obviously cannot see You have to imagine scales shades etc NonsenseSecond while I liked the premise and was interested in theeneral topic of ineuality I found the execution rather slow and repetitive This is a dump of a summary of psychological studies All of them interesting but after a while they end up being tedious and boring. R societies often have children and why they have them at a younger age; why there is little trust among the working class in the prudence of investing for the future; why people's perception of their social status affects their political beliefs and leads to reater political divisions; how poverty raises stress levels as effectively as actual physical threats; how ineuality in the workplace affects performance; and why uneual societies tend to become religious Understanding how ineuality shapes our world can help us better understand what drives ideological divides why high ineuality makes the middle class feel left behind and how to disconnect from the endless treadmill of social compariso.

S alive and well in twenty first century America The researchers found that the blacker the inmates looked the longer they were sentenced for identical offenses Those near the top of the scale for blackness were sentenced between seven and eight months longer than those near the bottom18 Provocative statements Many people simply don t feel very motivated to support fighting poverty when they imagine that minorities will be the beneficiaries 19 Sports ineuality who knew The teams with the reatest levels of pay ineuality performed worse than those with less ineuality Interesting20 A final chapter that brings it all together Ineuality affects our behavior and differences in behavior can magnify ineuality 21 Key suggestions made Reducing ineuality similarly has the potential to a The Broken Ladder has convinced me that ineuality is the most serious threat to civil society Author Keith Payne describes the incredible scope of the issue from feelings of injustice self destructive decision making rising polarization and inflations of status with engaging prose relevant psychology studies and interesting Just awesome This book discusses ineuality and the effects that it has on individuals and society as a wholeSome of the facts were thought provoking such as lack of opportunity leading to risky behaviour but the personal opinions could have been left out and some of the raphics were almost illegibleOverall rating 35 This book was an excellent consolidation of all the ways in which ineuality not just poverty affects culture decision making health religious inclination racism and just eneral likelihood of being an asshole Ineuality makes us all worse off not just those at the bottom This book belongs on the shelf of every policymaker teacher and anyone interested in politics and culture along with Scarcity which I kept thinking about while I was reading it I Ethical Responsiveness and the Politics of Difference get to be on a panel with Dr Payne and I am so excited now This is one of the most fascinating books I have read in a long time The author a psychology prof at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill at a young age began to be interested in the ways in which ineuality in a society affects its inhabitants Growing up in rural Kentucky when he was in fourthrade he became aware that he received free school lunches and hence was poor Until that point he felt himself to be like his classmates afterwards he became very self conscious and felt less than This sparked a lifelong uest to understand ineuality He clarifies that ineuality should not be confused with poverty Because humans are always comparing themselves to those around them widening ineuality wields just as much harm as does poverty He notes that In modern history income ineuality reached its highest point in the late 1920s immediately before the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed its highest point that is until today We have now reached the same level of ineuality that existed prior to the Great Depression page 23 He discusses the veil of ignorance study of the 20th century political philosopher John Rawls The scenario for this study postulates that you have reached an unknown land which may be very eual or highly uneual In which sort of place would you prefer to live Logically if you don t know where you would fit into this society you would of course prefer it to be egalitarian This study was then expanded by Michael Norton and Dan Ariely by taking it out of the speculative realm using actual stats Dividing a population into uintiles from poorest to most wealthy they asked participants how the divisions lined up in the USA Most people had no idea of the extent of divisions They uessed that the top uintile had 59% of the nation s wealth in reality it is 84% Then they asked participants what divisions constituted the ideal and would be a place they d like to live The numbers they ave matched up with Sweden one of the most eual nations In fact 92% of Americans chose the wealth division of a place like Sweden not knowing which country had these stats rather than that of a country with the stats represented by the USA People of all income levels made this choice Living in an uneual society has all sorts of negative effects including poor health outcomes The differences even apply to uneual states such as California when the state itself is relatively wealthy In fact interestingly the levels of ineuality in California match those of much poorer states such as Kentucky Tennessee Arkansas and West Virginia The author examined how levels of ineuality influence political choices He noted that conservatives and liberals differ in two basic ways Conservatives wish to preserve tradition while liberals would like to see change in society page 85 Secondly conservatives are accepting of ineuality because they see it as being a reward for an individual s effort talent etc Liberals tend to view ineuality as a result of a flawed system rather than only as evidence of individual effort In other words conservatives focus on the individual liberals focus on the system To take this a step further people who see the world as threatening and dangerous then prefer the safety of the status uo and are usually conservative People who see the world as safer and as a place to explore tend to be liberal page 95 Another interesting finding is that if you feel yourself to be better off than others in your society whether this is true or just your perception you are likely to vote Republican If you feel yourself to be poorer than others you will probably vote Democrat Also the tendency for the rich to vote Republican is stronger in poorer states page 105 There is another rather unpleasant finding if you see yourself as successful than those around you you will also see yourself as smarter and will think that those who disagree Ity changes people in predictable ways but also provided a corrective to the flawed view of poverty as being the result of individual character failings Among modern developed societies ineuality is not primarily a matter of the actual amount of money people have It is rather people's sense of where they stand in relation to others Feeling poor matters not just being poor Regardless of their average incomes countries or states with reater levels of income ineuality have much higher rates of all the social maladies we associate with poverty including lower than average life expectancies serious health problems mental illness and crime The Broken Ladder explores such issues as why women in poo.