The difference in average income between countries has no influence on life expectancy. However, the difference in income within a country has a direct influence on life expectancy. Other things are influenced, as well: The more there is inequality, the more the following phenomena increase.
- Illiteracy – language and math
- Infant mortality
- Imprisonment [partially due to harsher sentencing]
- Teenage births
- Level of distrust [do you, in general, trust the people around you?]
- Mental illness – including drug and alcohol addiction
- Social immobility [how much does your own wealth depend on your parents’ wealth?]
- Japan: incomes are not that far apart before taxes, small wellfare state.
- Sweden: incomes differ widely, taxes are used to redistribute the income, large wellfare state.
What can be done?
- Decrease income differences before tax:
- Increase company democracy – employee ownership etc.
- Promote more directors from within companies.
- Use taxes and benefits:
- Stop tax avoidance.
- End tax havens.
- Make taxation progressive again.