Inequality is at a level that has not been seen in our lifetimes, yet the disparity between rich and poor has ramifications that extend far beyond mere financial means. THE BROKEN LADDER tells the story of inequality and its impact on everything from our thinking to our mood and our health.Feeling poor matters - not just being poor. It affects how we make decisions, how our immune systems function and even how we view moral concepts like justice and fairness. Regardless of their average incomes, countries or states with greater levels of income inequality have much higher rates of all the social maladies we associate with poverty: lower than average life expectancy, mental illness and crime.Using groundbreaking research in psychology and neuroscience, Keith Payne explores such issues as why women in poor societies often have more children and why they have them at a younger age; why people's perception of their social status affects their political beliefs; how poverty raises stress levels as much as physical threats; how inequality in the workplace affects performance; and why unequal societies tend to become more religious. Replete with insights and illuminating examples, THE BROKEN LADDER outlines the steps we can take to get off the endless treadmill of social comparison.
Keith Payne is a Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina. As an international leader in the psychology of inequality and discrimination, he has published more than sixty articles and book chapters. His work has been covered in popular media, and, in addition to his academic publications, he has written for general audiences at Scientific American and Psychology Today.