January 21st, 2016

Countries With A Higher Level Of Income Inequality Are Unhappy, And Unions Could Be The Answer

Dealing with income inequality on a daily basis can make a person very unhappy, but now it has been linked to making entire countries feel depressed.

As the rich get richer and the poor get poorer – people are feeling pretty down, especially in countries with the biggest disparity between the extremely wealthy and those who are experiencing poverty.

A recent study by the Harvard Business Review found that ‘the more income is concentrated in the hands of a few, the more likely individuals are to report lower levels of life satisfaction and more negative daily emotional experiences.’

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They found that in countries where the richest hold most of the country’s income that people were more likely to feel ‘stressed’ or ‘angry.’

Psychologically this could be because people feel as if there is little chance of ‘moving up the ladder.’

And Canada is included in the list – like many other countries income inequality it is being driven by a concentration of wealth at the top, with the top CEOs earning 184 times the pay of an average working Canadian, per year.

So what can be done about the unhappiness found in these countries? We can try and eliminate income inequality, but that will not happen over night.

Another solution to increasing life satisfaction is, according to studies, joining a union.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, researchers used data from five different years between 1980 and the mid-2000′s to study the effect of union membership on life satisfaction.

They found that overall union members are ‘more satisfied with their lives than those who are not members and that the substantive effect of union membership on life satisfaction is large and rivals other common predictors of quality of life.’

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It is easy to see why people would be happier in unions when it comes to overall happiness in the workplace – ­ they have better wages, work better hours, have better job security and good benefits.

Income inequality is a complicated issue, but what is clear is that it is having negative impact on people around the world, including Canada. Working to eliminate the huge gap between the top earners and the rest of the country is a work in progress, but unions are committed to making sure their members are able to have a better quality of life both inside and outside the workplace.


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