The authors of the British book The Spirit Level have a political agenda, and they've got it talked about everywhere. Even here. The NZ Labour MPs' blog Red Alert for example is so excited it even has a ‘Spirit Level' “tag”, and breathless comments from the likes of Grant Robertson that “These people's work can not be dismissed.” And Colin James, the commentator on the tired and the bleeding obvious, wonders if the 300-page tome might not become “a sort of guidebook for the next Labour ministry,” should there be one.
So what's their work, and why are Grant Robertson and his comrades so excited about it? It's a “revolutionary” thesis overturning all previous research: that societies with more “equal” incomes do better than those that don't.
So how did they do what no other researchers before them have managed to do? Simple, They fudged the figures.
First we get the official graph to prove their thesis:
Looks compelling doesn't it.
But they left off countries that don't fit their thesis such as Hong Kong, South Korea and the Czech Republic. Add them in and use the official stats from the UN and:
A remarkable change.