Why Social Inequality Still Persists

Danny Dorling


Danny Dorling

Distributed for Bristol University Press

400 pages | 5 x 7 3/4 | © 2015
Paper $24.95 ISBN: 9781447320753 Published August 2015 For sale in North and South America only
In the five years since the first edition of Injustice there have been devastating increases in poverty, hunger, and destitution in the United Kingdom.  Globally, the richest 1% have never held a greater share of world wealth, while the share of most of the other 99% has fallen in the last five years, with more and more people in debt, especially the young. Economic inequalities will persist and continue to grow for as long as we tolerate the injustices which underpin them.

This fully rewritten and updated edition revisits Dorling’s claim that Beveridge’s five social evils are being replaced by five new tenets of injustice: elitism is efficient; exclusion is necessary; prejudice is natural; greed is good; and despair is inevitable. By showing these beliefs are unfounded, Dorling offers hope of a more equal society.

We are living in the most remarkable and dangerous times. With every year that passes it is more evident that Injustice is essential reading for anyone who is concerned with social justice and wants to do something about it.

Letter from America: commentary by Sam Pizzigati

Foreword by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett

1. Introduction 

The beliefs that uphold injustice

The five faces of social inequality

A pocket full of posies

2. Inequality: the antecedent and outcome and of injustice 

Inevitability of change: what we do now we could all have enough? 

Injustice rising out of the ashes of social evils 

So where do we go from here 

3. ’Elitism is efficient’: new educational divisions

The ‘new delinquents’: those most harmed by elitism, a seventh of all children 

IQism: the underlying rationale for the growth of elitism 

Apartheid schooling: from garaging to hot-housing 

Putting on a pedestal: superhuman myths 

The 1950s: from ignorance to arrogance 

4. ’Exclusion is necessary’: excluding people from society

Indebted: those most harmed by exclusion, a sixth of all people 

Geneticism: the theories that exacerbate social exclusion 

Segregation: of community from community 

Escapism: of the rich behind walls 

The 1960s: the turning point from inclusion to exclusion 

5. ’Prejudice is natural’: a wider racism 

Indenture: labour for miserable reward, a fifth of all adults 

Darwinism: thinking that different incentives are needed 

Polarisation: of the economic performance of regions 

Inheritance: the mechanism of prejudice 

The 1970s: the new racism 

6. ’Greed is good’: consumption and waste

Not part of the programme: just getting by, a quarter of all households 

Economics: the discipline with so much to answer for 

Gulfs: between our lives and our worlds 

Celebrity: celebrated as a model of success 

The 1980s: changing the rules of trade 

7. ‘Despair is inevitable’: health and wellbeing

Anxiety: made ill through the way we live, a third of all families 

Competition: proposing insecurity as beneficial 

Culture: the international gaps in societal wellbeing 

Bird-brained thinking: putting profit above caring 

The 1990s: birth of mass medicating 

8. Conspiracy, consensus, conclusion.

No great conspiracy 

Using the vote 

Coming to the end 

Injustice deepens 

What to do

Review Quotes
Vicky Duckworth, Edge Hill University, UK | Times Higher Education
“Intelligent and astute, this well-woven book—reissued this year in a fully revised edition—offers a powerful critique of the ideologies of greed that stitch up society. Without a hint of surrender to the status quo, Dorling radiates humanity, passion and concern across every page. His words are weapons, inspiring me to take action and reminding us of the power of the collective to defeat inequality and exploitation.”
Too Much: A Commentary on Excess and Inequality
“A century ago, amid the struggle for social insurance to protect workers injured on the job, men of wealth and power argued that workers insured against disability would cut off their own limbs to reap the rewards disability protection would provide. Today’s rich and their hired hands seldom get that crude. They spin much more sophisticated myths. In Injustice, Dorling examines—and exposes—them all. Sometimes with figures and charts. Sometimes with history. Sometimes with unrelenting logic.”
Gaja Maestri, Durham University | LSE Review of Books
“The pragmatism of the book, without advocating any grand interpretative theory, also constitutes its cogency: it gives us the feeling that we can start to do something from our very everyday practices, workplaces, and neighbourhoods. The solution can already be right here, right now, since, as Dorling reminds us, the world is constantly ‘metamorphosing.’”
Tribune Magazine (UK)
“[An] excellent compendium. . . . Unassailable. . . . Dorling is one of the great researchers on the condition of the time.”
“Dorling . . . demolishes the five tenets that sustain and justify the persistence of social inequality.”
Marx and Philosophy Review of Books
“Dorling’s text is an invaluable reference that anybody and everybody concerned with inequality, social (in)justice, and the underside to the world in which we live ought have on their bookshelf.”
Citizen’s Income Trust
“This updated edition of Dorling’s book will remind us—if we needed reminding—that injustice has not gone away, and that in many ways it is getting worse; that there are things that we can do about it; and that we need to do those things.”
David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author
“Rich insights into how prejudice, presumption, and a paucity of regard for our fellow human beings reinforce poverty as well as privilege.”
Nancy Krieger, Harvard University
“In this impassioned, empirical, and hopeful second edition, powerfully updated with new data, Dorling skewers the ideologies that justify injustice. He reminds us that to create a better world we have to collectively imagine it is possible.”
Jamie Goodwin-White, University of California, Los Angeles
“Powerful sentences and carefully-curated evidence frame critically-important thoughts on how we got here and how things could be different.”
Henry Parkyn-Smith, Counterfire
“The original edition of Injustice stands out as a masterpiece, not only in the production of razor-sharp arguments, but also in its collation of extensive supporting evidence. This updated edition is perhaps even more important today.”
Paul Gilroy, King's College London
“This invaluable book is more than an essential resource in the defense of our ebbing welfare state. It is a thoughtful and carefully argued source of stimulation towards its reinvention.”
Aniko Horvath, King’s College London
“Dorling’s unsettling account makes it clear that inequity and inequality are less about ‘ideology’ and more about the self-serving interests of the powerful. His book is a passionate call for change.”
Feyzi Ismail, SOAS, University of London
“An eloquent indictment of the status quo, but so much more. By systematically dismantling the ideological props of the current economic and social order, Dorling forces us to think how things could be done differently.”
David Marquand, former principal of Mansfield College, University of Oxford
“In this new edition of his seminal Injustice, Dorling’s unique combination of moral passion and analytical rigor made my heart sing.”
Faiza Shaheen, head of Inequality, Save the Children
“Dorling has given us a guide through the dark, twisted, and changing forest of injustice. A must-read for anyone fighting for justice.”
Owen Jones, author and Guardian (UK) columnist
“Superb and invaluable ammunition in the fight against inequality and injustice.”
Polly Toynbee, Guardian columnist
“For decades researchers have shown the damage inequality does to all society and Dorling’s wonderful book extends this. With brilliance and passion Dorling analyzes the mindset of entitlement among those who hold ever tighter to money, power, and life’s best rewards, generation to generation.”
Peter Florence, director of the Hay Festival
“Dorling’s analysis is quietly, devastatingly persuasive. Once you’ve read him you have to reassess how you live. That’s an amazing gift.”
Ken Loach, film and television director
“Think twice before reading this book—you may well become an activist against social injustice, inequality, and the exploitation of labour. Dorling gives us words that are weapons.”
Wall Street Journal, on the First Edition
“Original and angry.”
Independent, on the First Edition
“Salutary, shocking reading.”
Times Higher Education, on the First Edition
“A fascinating read that sticks in the memory.”
British Medical Journal, on the First Edition
“Forensic and hard hitting.”
Counterfire (UK), on the First Edition
“An excellent, sharp, and at times poignant analysis of the political, social, and economic situation that capitalism as a social system is in today.”
Socialist Review, on the First Edition
“[Dorling provides] valuable ammunition for attacking the ideas of our rulers and his book deserves a wide readership.”
Public Health Today, on the First Edition
“An impassioned and informed plea for greater social justice.”
New Left Review, on the First Edition
“Engaged and angry.”
Morning Star, on the First Edition
“Essential reading for everyone concerned with social justice.”
Labour Briefing, on the First Edition
“One of the foremost thinkers on the issue of social inequality today.”
Sociological Research, on the First Edition
“A powerful and entertaining read, which sets forth a bold, innovative thesis about contemporary inequality.”
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce | on the First Edition
“A brilliant analysis. . . A 'must read' for anyone who wants to understand inequality and how we might tackle it.”
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