Bill Moyers Journal
April 02, 2010
Bryan Stevenson and Michelle Alexander
In the months before his death, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had expanded his focus on racial justice to include reducing economic inequality. On this week’s 42nd anniversary of King’s assassination, Bill Moyers sits down with attorneys Bryan Stevenson and Michelle Alexander to discuss how far we’ve really come as a country, how poor and working class Americans have been falling behind and what America must do to fulfill Dr. King’s vision.
transcript: Bill Moyers Journal . Watch & Listen | PBS.
A Bill Moyers essay on inequality in America
transcript: Bill Moyers Journal . Watch & Listen | PBS
Interview with Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett
by Bill Moyers
April 2, 2010
Note: This is an edited conversation.
BILL MOYERS: The other day, I came across a report in the October issue of a medical journal, THE JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC SURGERY. It’s a study done by Boston’s Children’s Hospital and the Harvard Medical School which found that uninsured children were over three times more likely to die from their trauma-related injuries than children who were commercially insured. In other words, it could be a matter of life and death, whether a child lives or dies depends on whether the family is rich or poor. The report is just one indication of a rapidly accelerating gap that cuts right to the core of democracy. And that’s why I wanted to speak with two British researchers who are pioneers studying the impact of inequality on human beings. Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett are epidemiologists whose book THE SPIRIT LEVEL: WHY GREATER EQUALITY MAKES SOCIETIES STRONGER — with an introduction by our friend Robert Reich — has been described by THE SUNDAY TIMES of London as “a book with a big idea, big enough to change political thinking.”
THE INDEPENDENT called it “compelling and shocking. All free marketeers should be made to memorise it from cover to cover.” Richard Wilkinson, professor emeritus at the University of Nottingham, is a leader in international research of inequality. His work has been published in ten languages. Kate Pickett is a scientist with Britain’s National Institute for Health Research and a professor of epidemiology at the University of York.
BILL MOYERS: You’re both trained as epidemiologists, right?
RICHARD WILKINSON: Yes.
KATE PICKETT: Yes.
RICHARD WILKINSON: That’s how we got together.
BILL MOYERS: What, in laymen’s terms, does an epidemiologist do?
KATE PICKETT: We study the distribution and determinants of disease in populations. So rather than looking at the cause of disease in an individual, we look at the causes of different levels of disease or states of health in different populations. So we might ask the question, “Why is one group healthier than another?” And try to understand the determinants of that. Or we look at a particular disease and try and understand the kinds of things that have happened to people to cause those differences across populations.
BILL MOYERS: And that’s how you came to pursue the subject of inequality?
Max Keiser Report №25: Kate Pickett + Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger (Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett)