Daniel Dutch (JFS School) reviews Danny Dorling's 'Do we need economic inequality?'

Do we need economic inequality? by Danny Dorling is a captivating book that highlights the various causes, effects and historical trends of inequality throughout time. He questions whether inequality is, and always will be, inevitable in society - or whether it is simply a side effect of capitalism. It is expertly illustrated with numerous statistics that are referred to throughout, consequently assisting the reader to comprehend his viewpoints and ideas.


Dorling portrays both the UK and USA as strongly inferior to other developed countries in terms of their effort to tackle the problem of inequality; whilst showing the consequences of a stagnant approach to change. The reader is made to feel resentful towards the sheer disparity in income distribution in these countries, through the use of graphs and demographic comparisons of countries. However, the substantial occurrences of statistics can feel overwhelming and disruptive to the reader. For someone that is relatively new to the topic of inequality, some graphs were unfamiliar to me and therefore acted as a limitation for processing arguments and information.

Dorling goes into depth with the principle of the rich exploiting the poor and the unnecessary increase in income for the top 1% in comparison to the lowest earners. In addition to the toxic proportions of wealth that they take, Dorling states other damaging effects on society, such as increased ecological footprints, lower life expectancy for the poor and an appalling deprivation of opportunity for younger generations that fall into the poverty cycle. Usually, I would criticise the largely opinionated views of an author throughout a book, however in this case, his arguments are moral and strongly substantiated - which is extremely insightful.

He envisions a greater society where increased equality leads to improved innovation and most importantly, a reduction in poverty - which will have a constructive influence on the economy as a whole. However, Dorling informs the reader of the difficulties of triggering this social change and how it might even take a catastrophe to ‘spark’.

Overall, I found, Do we need economic inequality? an excellent read and a refreshing approach to this important topic. Dorling advocates for change and a better future, but understands the limitations and setbacks that the real world has to offer. I certainly felt inspired to read more around the subject and enhance my knowledge.


Something I agreed with in this book was…

Dorling’s disapproval of the top 1%’s wealth, and the need for increased taxation for them.


Something I disagreed with in this book was…

The exaggeration that class and starting wealth will play the most significant role for future generations.


Something I learnt from reading this book that I didn't know about this subject before was…

Life expectancy is inversely proportional to the take of the top 1% wealthiest people.