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Synopsis It is common knowledge that in rich societies the poor have shorter lives and suffer more from almost every social problem. Large inequalities of income are likewise often regarded as divisive and corrosive. This groundbreaking book, based on thirty years' research, goes an important stage beyond either of these ideas: it demonstrates that more unequal societies are bad for almost everyone within them - the well-off as well as the poor. The remarkable data the book lays out and the measures it uses are like a spirit level which we can hold up to compare the conditions of different societies. The differences revealed, even between rich market democracies, are striking.