It was 1978. I was a young whipper-snapper working with Community Aid Abroad (now renamed OXFAM Australia). I’d heard a stirring speech by Peter Adamson on ABC radio, and now I was excited at the prospect of meeting the man in person. I was not disappointed. His towering intellect and his ability to weave a spell-binding story combined to make his visit one of the most memorable of my life.
This remarkable man was the founding editor of the New Internationalist magazine, which had been launched five years earlier, and he was in Australia to inspire people with a vision of progress in human development, and to promote the magazine.
Danny Dorling, The No-Nonsense Guide to Equality,
New Internationalist, Oxford, 2012, 176 pp, www.newint.org/books/
Reviewed by Frank Stilwell
New Internationalist has published a series of small books on controversial issues such as world population, world poverty, world food, world health and women’s rights. This latest ‘No-Nonsense Guide’ focuses on equality, making a strong case for this goal to be a much higher priority in public policy and strategies for social progress.
There is a long tradition of arguing for greater equality – in income, wealth, education, social opportunities and, of course, in human rights. One thinks, for example, of classics such as Richard Tawney’s Equality, the writings of British social reformer Richard Titmuss and the more recent books by Richard Wilkinson that describe the damaging social costs that arise from extreme economic inequalities. That these three writers are all called Richard is an odd coincidence – the more important thing that they have in common is a commitment to egalitarian social reform.
The interrelated capitalist world is in a state of crisis, unstable and almost out of control. The orthodox theory behind the lunatic policies being followed has little connection to the actual world it is meant to interpret and explain. Social unrest, prejudice, racism, self-interest, lack of compassion, anarchistic or worse forces are being unleashed: all the outcome of finance capital being out of kilter with industrial and commercial capital. Continue reading →