bell hooks, inequality, illness, and so forth.
Large's point, in short, is:
In essence, rich folks trying to "protect their money" by voting against upper-class or big business tax increases (and consequently improved social programming) are shooting themselves in the collective foot. Even if they do end up with greater material wealth, their overall health and quality of life decreases with the increase in resource and social disparity. This sense was palpable in the air for us in (more equitably organized) New Zealand, and Angel's studies in Nursing and Public Health have been pointing our thoughts in that direction for a few years. (In fact, Angel's favorite professor Steven Bezruchka was Large's source for the article.) We both see a healthcare system with equal access for all as one necessary battle in the struggle for a healthy and just society, but the point here is bigger. In fact, material and social equality--or at least relative equality--would be beneficial for all of us, and would play a significant role in improving physical, mental, and social health across our society. To put a bit of a spin on MLK's well-known quote, poverty and oppression anywhere are a sociologically measurable threat to wealth and happiness everywhere. So, bell hooks, even though I might be a part of your problems, I'm listening to you because I think your ideas will help me out in the long run.
We know poverty can affect diet, living conditions, access to medical care.
But inequality puts stress on people at every level. Poor people suffer most, but so do wealthy people in societies where there are large gaps between rich and poor. High-income white Americans have higher rates of diabetes, cancer and hypertension than poor people in England, according to a study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association two years ago. (Read the whole article here)
There is a PBS Documentary series on this topic airing now called "Unnatural Causes ... Is Inequality Making Us Sick". (Info online here) Feel free to argue with me, but you should really watch the series, which should provide a lot more fuel for Large's and Bezruchka's position. I'm hoping that they post the whole series online in the near future.