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Japan is a nation of masks. Learning to live behind a mask is a prerequisite of much of Japanese civilisation ... Behind perhaps the most impenetrable mask of all: the subtle yet forceful way the Japanese establishment is today reclaiming a nationalism denied them since the Second World War. John Pilger, Japan: Behind the Mask, ITV 1987
Under the American occupation of General Douglas MacArthur a new constitution was formulated which gave the defeated Japanese new freedoms. But who today are the beneficiaries of these new freedoms? The ordinary people of Japan who had suffered so terribly, or the great reborn companies like Mitsubishi which had formed the industrial and financial base of the war? ... In 1946 General MacArthur cancelled the right of public workers to strike ... The legacy of MacArthur’s ban was the weakening of real trade-union opposition in Japan, thus today the outside world sees only the mask of a docile workforce and a consensus society. ibid.
Women who work for less than £2 an hour, six days a week, no sick pay, no pension, and three days holiday a year if they are lucky: 40% of Japan’s labour force are women, who receive less than half the pay and none of the fringe benefits of the men. ibid.
Today the face of Japan is strong and confident, but the cracks reveal that many working people are quite unlike the happy stereotypes, and living conditions are poor compared to the nation’s wealth, and the young are trapped in a moulding process which too often leads to tragedy. ibid.
Inequality is really unprecedented … The inequality comes from the extreme wealth of a tiny sector of the population: a fraction of 1% … Inequality has highly negative consequences on the society as a whole because the very fact of equality has a corrosive harmful effect on democracy. Noam Chomsky, Requiem for the American Dream, F-Movies 2017
Not since the 1920s has Britain been more socially unequal. As the gap between the rich and the rest has widened so has the gap in opportunity for their children. Richard Bilton, Who Gets the Best Jobs? BBC 2011
In the ’80s the gap between rich and poor widened by about 60%. ibid.
Inequality and oppression were part of the natural order ordained by God. This was a class of staggering extremes. Dr Robert Bartlett, Inside the Medieval Mind IV: Power, BBC 2008
A noble’s life was worth six times a peasant’s. ibid.
Serfs had to work on their lord’s lands ... For most serfs there was no escape. ibid.
Inequality was enforced by law. ibid.
Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane. Martin Luther King
An earthly kingdom cannot exist without inequality of persons. Some must be free, some serfs, some rulers, some subjects. Martin Luther King
Almost half of the population of the world lives in rural regions and mostly in a state of poverty. Such inequalities in human development have been one of the primary reasons for unrest and, in some parts of the world, even violence. A P J Abdul Kalam
This is a far cry from a civilised image of Roman society. Such bloody brawls mirror a waning world while the Empire is at its peak. A social crisis is brewing. The egalitarian ideal of the Republic is over. The gap between social classes is widening. The Roman Empire: Grandeur and Decadence
America simply not seeing them as equals. Islam – What a Billion Muslims Really Think, 2009
But it is also clear that left entirely untouched by public policy, the capitalist system will produce more inequality than is socially healthy or than is necessary for maximum efficiency. Barney Frank
Increasing inequality in income distribution in this country has broader policy implications, and there is also the growing problem of perverse incentives that result from executives receiving grossly disproportionate compensation based on decisions they themselves take. Barney Frank
Can one preach at home inequality of races and nations and advocate abroad good-will towards all men? Dorothy Thompson
In a world of increasing inequality, the legitimacy of institutions that give precedence to the property rights of ‘the Haves’ over the human rights of ‘the Have Nots’ is inevitably called into serious question. David Korten
A man willing to work, and unable to find work, is perhaps the saddest sight that Fortune’s inequality exhibits under this sun. Thomas Carlyle
Some of the latest figures on inequality are breathtaking; we do live in a fundamentally unfair society and a run-down democracy. There must be change. Will Hutton, The State to Come preface
Inequality is at record postwar levels, with the incomes of those at the bottom, after housing costs, falling in real terms. ibid. pp14-15
Another key component of a successful economic and social policy is the lowering of inequality, or at least its stabilisation. Inequality of income destabilises the pattern of demand. Inequality of risk exacerbates short-termism as people compensate for uncertainty in the future by looking for ever greater returns in the present. Moreover, the social consequences of inequality have growing economic effects, as those at the bottom churn from unemployment or semi-employment and back again with little incentive to train or improve their lot. ibid. pp39-40
A permanent division of labour inevitably creates occupational and class inequality and conflict. Robert Shea
It was possible, no doubt, to imagine a society in which wealth, in the sense of personal possessions and luxuries, should be evenly distributed, while power remained in the hands of a small privileged caste. But in practice such a society could not long remain stable. For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realise that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance. George Orwell, 1984
Fundamental sexual inequalities still remain. Amanda Vickery, Suffragettes: Forever! The Story of Women and Power III, BBC 2015
I know from experience that even mentioning income distribution leads to angry accusations of class warfare ... Why has the response to rising inequality been a drive to reduce taxes on the rich? Paul Krugman
Massive wealth inequality remained. Between the years 1800 and 1920 economic inequality in the United States increased more than a hundred-fold. Plutocracy III: Class War, 2017
How much inequality is enough? Alex Gibney, Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream, 2012
This stretch of Park Avenue on the Upper East side of Manhattan is the wealthiest neighbourhood in New York city. This is where the people at the top of the ladder live. The upper crust. The ultra rich. But this street is about a lot more than money: it’s about political power. The rich here haven’t just used their money to buy fancy cars and private jets and mansions: they’ve also used it to rig the game in their favour. ibid.
As of 2010 only 400 of the richest Americans controlled more wealth than the bottom half of American households. ibid.
740 Park Avenue in Manhattan is currently home to more billionaires than any other building in the United States. ibid.
Nobody’s money talks louder than David Koch. This right-wing oil tycoon with a fortune of $25 billion is the richest resident of 740 Park Avenue. ibid.