In the NY Times, Nicholas Kristof discusses compelling evidence compiled by two well-known epidemiologists (Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson, The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger) about the relationship between a nation’s degree of income inequality and a wide array of societal and individual health indicators.
“There’s growing evidence,” Kristof writes, “that the toll of our stunning inequality is not just economic but also is a melancholy of the soul. The upshot appears to be high rates of violent crime, high narcotics use, high teenage birthrates and even high rates of heart disease.”
This raises important questions about inequality and health at an organizational level as well. To what extent does our propensity to pay CEOs and other senior executives so generously in relationship to the median (or lowest) paid employee create not just unhealthy employees, but also unhealthy organizations?