Title: The Spirit Level, economic democracy and health inequalities

Authors: Chris Yuill

Addresses: School of Applied Social Studies, The Robert Gordon University, Garthdee Road, Aberdeen, AB10 7QG, UK

Abstract: |The Spirit Level| by Wilkinson and Pickett (2009) provides a serious critique of inequality and how it blights the lives of many people in high-income countries. Unfolding in two main sections, this paper initially outlines Wilkinson|s thesis generally before focusing and initiating a debate on Wilkinson and Pickett|s suggestion of economic democracy (increased employee control and participation) as a means to tackle inequality. The wider literature supports their assertion of the potential of economic democracy to do so. Two obstacles, employee|s |damaged| subjectivities and meaningful control, are subsequently identified as barriers, to realising meaningful economic democracy. A possible solution to these obstacles is provided by the work of Gardell (1982) on the AB Almex plant, where workers introduced a very robust form of economic democracy. The lessons from this period could prove instructive for any current or future debates on the relationships between equality, well-being and the workplace.

Keywords: health inequality; psychosocial inequality; workplace organisation; economic democracy; autonomous work groups; The Spirit Level; well-being.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMCP.2010.034879

International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy, 2010 Vol.4 No.2, pp.177 - 193

Available online: 26 Aug 2010 *

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