Writer and epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson talks social inequality at INSP 2017

The 2017 Global Street Paper Summit is well under way in Manchester, with the first day of in depth discussion, educational sessions and inspirational presentation already wrapped up.

Epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson, perhaps most famous for his book The Spirit Level, which presented shocking facts and data on the societal effects of income inequality, gave a fascinating keynote speech to the audience of 127 delegates at summit venue The Bridgewater Hall.

Richard Wilkinson

Exploring in more depth his findings, Wilkinson showed in great detail, and with striking clarity, how more equal societies are far better off than those with bigger income differences between rich and poor.

Cycling through data, from studies on the homicide rates and how much we trust each other, and how they correlate dramatically with income inequality, Wilkinson emphatically showed how social problems affect not only the people at the bottom of the social scale, but the vast majority of society.

Richard Wilkinson addresses INSP 2017 delegates

He said: “What happens with greater inequality is you get an atrophy in community life – people are less likely to look after one another.

“How far we can live quite separate lives depends so much on differences in income.”

Wilkinson held the attention of all the viewing delegates who, listening intently, deal with vendors, and other people experiencing homelessness, who are affected by the social inequality which is the focus of Wilkinson’s work.

A Big Issue North delegate asks Richard Wilkinson a question

Following a question and answer session – during which Wilkinson answered a query about the solutions to these problems by saying: “First stop the rich from being able to hide their money in tax havens!” – Wilkinson sat down with an INSP for an interview which will be available on the News Service, as well as the INSP website, in the coming weeks.

Below, watch the live stream of Wilkinson’s keynote speech in its entirety.