Professor Richard Wilkinson discusses The Inner Level and Status Anxiety at Toynbee Hall
Professor Richard Wilkinson, the co-author of The Spirit Level and The Inner Level, discusses status anxiety, London and inequality with the local community at Toynbee Hall.
My Fair London in partnership with the Equality Trust and Toynbee Hall invited Professor Richard Wilkinson to discuss his latest book, The Inner Level, co-written with Professor Kate Pickett. The Inner Level explains how economic inequality impacts on each of us as individuals; how we think, feel and behave.
At the event on Thursday 16th January there was a range of interesting discussions about how we can make the capital a fairer place to be in the 2020s. The conversations were focused on the psychological impact of inequality.
Professor Wilkinson discussed the psychological effects of material inequalities, in particular, the epidemic of mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. 74% of adults (83% of 18-24 year olds) felt so stressed they were overwhelmed or unable to cope sometime in the past year. (Mental Health Foundation Survey UK, 2018).
Jim Minton, Chief Executive of Toynbee Hall who spoke at the event, said:
“There are things we can do. There is a quote from our founder outside which reads ‘I can image a fairer and happier East London coming from this place.‘ The link between happiness and equality has always been there.”
After the event, attendees from the community shared their thoughts on what had been discussed.
“It was interesting to think about equality and that we should be equal. If we want something to do be done, with the mayor or anybody, we should act in unity. Because power can be built when we go to the community. With one finger or two fingers you can’t do anything, but when use the whole hand you are powerful. When you have a lot of money you can eat what you want. But some can be happy with bread and butter. It depends on the person.”
“Poverty and stress. Nowadays that’s the problem in this world. Sometimes people quickly lose their temper because of stress and problems with bills. It’s better if people share, but nobody shares. Good hearted people share, but not everybody. When you have no money, your relatives judge you, you’re not invited to weddings, it’s really hard.”
“If you don’t have money, people don’t see you.”
“When I see relatives on Facebook going to parties or having a good time, it makes me feel bad. It makes me feel really small.”
“We should make a decision as individuals to include people, and a personal decision not to judge people.”
“We’re all human beings, we all have the same rights. The mayor should treat everybody equally. Everyone should be able to have a certain standard health and happiness, and who people don’t have that should come first until we are equal.”
“At this age we learned a lot in our whole life. Live is short, we have to love each other.”
If you want to have a say on what Toynbee Hall can be doing to tackle issues in Tower Hamlets and East London, join us on Friday 24th January as we begin planning a Community Day in February that will inform us on what we can be doing to make our community a happier healthier place. Find out more here.