Research shows that a country's level of income inequality is linked to bad outcomes. Infant mortality, drug use, prison population, mental illness, high school drop outs, obesity, levels of distrust and homicide rates all increase proportionately to the level of income inequality.
[This is] a clear warning for those who might want to place low public expenditure and taxation at the top of their priorities. If you fail to avoid high inequality, you will need more prison and more police. You will have to deal with higher rates of mental illness, drug abuse and every other kind of problems. If keeping taxes and benefits down leads to wider income differences, the need to deal with ensuing social ills may force you to raise public expenditure to cope.
In 1959 John Howard Griffin (left in photo below) darkened his skin in order to pass as black, and then traveled through the deep South. Smithsonian Magazine looks at the book he wrote about his experience.
"Fifty years ago this month, Griffin published a slim volume about his travels as a “black man...Black Like Me, which told white Americans what they had long refused to believe, sold ten million copies and became a modern classic."
“If a white man became a Negro in the Deep South,” he wrote on the first page of Black Like Me, “what adjustments would he have to make?” Haunted by the idea, Griffin decided to cross the divide. “The only way I could see to bridge the gap between us,” he would write, “was to become a Negro.”
I read this book in 1968 while living in Hampton, Virginia and attending a segregated school. As a child of fairly progressive parents in a military family, living in integrated military housing, I'd glimpsed some of the contrasts, but this book opened my eyes to how diffficult whites could make life for blacks.