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Injustice: Why Social Inequality Persists [Paperback]

Daniel Dorling
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 April 2011
Few would dispute that we live in an unequal and unjust world, but what causes this inequality to persist? Leading social commentator and academic Danny Dorling claims in this timely book that in rich countries inequality is no longer caused by not having enough resources to share, but by unrecognised and unacknowledged beliefs which actually propagate it. Based on significant research across a range of fields, in Injustice Dorling argues that, as the five social evils identified by Beveridge at the dawn of the British welfare state are gradually being eradicated (ignorance, want, idleness, squalor and disease), they are being replaced by five new tenets of injustice, that: elitism is efficient; exclusion is necessary;prejudice is natural;greed is good and despair is inevitable. In an informal yet authoritative style, Dorling examines who is most harmed by these injustices and why, and what happens to those who most benefit. Hard-hitting and uncompromising in its call to action, this is essential reading for everyone concerned with social justice.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Policy Press (5 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847427200
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847427205
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 34,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Danny Dorling has lived all his life in England. To try to counter his myopic world view, in 2006, Danny started working with a group of researchers on a project to remap the world ( He has published with many colleagues more than a dozen books on issues related to social inequalities in Britain and several hundred journal papers. Much of this work is available open access (see His work concerns issues of housing, health, employment, education and poverty. Before a career in academia Danny was employed as a play-worker in children's play-schemes and in pre-school education where the underlying rationale was that playing is learning for living. He tries not to forget this. He is an Academician of the Academy of the Learned Societies in the Social Sciences and, in 2008, became Honorary President of the Society of Cartographers. In 2011 he became a patron of the charity Roadpeace.

Product Description


"For decades researchers have shown the damage inequality does to all society and Dorling's wonderful book extends this. With brilliance and passion Dorling analyses the mind-set of entitlement among those who hold ever tighter to money, power and life's best rewards, generation to generation." --Polly Toynbee, The Guardian

"A brilliant analysis of the nature of inequality in the UK. It is a 'must read' for anyone who wants to understand inequality and how we might tackle it. " --Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive, RSA

"..salutary, shocking reading." --Boyd Tonkin, The Independent

"Beliefs which serve privilege, elitism and inequality infect our minds like computer viruses. But now Dorling provides the brain-cleaning software we need to begin creating a happier society. " --Richard Wilkinson, Emeritus Professor of Social Epidemiology and author of "The Spirit Level"

"Original and angry" --Wall Street Journal

About the Author

Danny Dorling is Professor of Human Geography at the University of Sheffield. With colleagues he has published 25 books, including 8 atlases, one now translated into 7 languages. In 2007 (Sir) Simon Jenkins described him as 'Geographer Royal by Appointment to the Left', in 2008 he was appointed Honorary President of the Society of Cartographers, and in 2009 he was presented with the Back Award of the Royal Geographical Society.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By M. W. Hatfield VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Social injustice is increasing. In an affluent society (even in recession, we are still relatively affluent)with all the historical and political knowledge available to us, still the gap between rich and poor grows, still the educational gap is immense, still, despite all the rhetoric, unfairness is endemic. Why can't we fix it? Is it just malice? Class prejudice? Or something else?
In this fascinating,indispensable book, Dorling offers some ideas...that maybe we're asking the wrong questions, and trying to deal with the wrong evils...

He replaces the old social evils identified by Beveridge (ignorance, want, idleness, squalor, disease) with some new social evils (elitism, exclusion, prejudice, greed and despair) and proceeds to build a case which suggests that inequality has become entrenched in our society and unless we challenge the assumptions on which our society is founded, then injustice will not only be with us, but will continue to grow.

As a non-fan of Blair and his cronies, I could weep for the heart of this country at the way Cameron and Clegg have managed to use a recession to justify increasing inequalities in education, pay, pensions, housing, health... they really need to read this book!

And so do you!

Even if you disagree with his conclusions, his passion and commitment shine from these pages. It's a book of the head and the heart. And a book for our times. Read Dickens, then Dorling!
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52 of 56 people found the following review helpful
By Jazzrook TOP 500 REVIEWER
Danny Dorling, a professor of human geography at Sheffield University has written a well-researched and hard-hitting book indicting both New Labour and the Conservative Party for the Victorian levels of social inequality existent in Britain today.
Dorling argues convincingly that the growing gap between rich and poor is caused by elitism, exclusion, prejudice, greed and despair. 'Injustice: Why Social Inequality Persists' should be compulsory reading for all those politicians advocating draconian cuts in public spending and deserves to be as widely read as another recent important book on inequality, 'The Spirit Level'(see my review).
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
By russell clarke TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Let me say one thing straight away. It is brilliant that this book exists. That Daniel Dorling has meticulously researched and taken the time to collate all the facts and figures into a dense but readable narrative that so confidently and precisely skewers the notion that we have all found our natural place in the order of things due to ability, ambition and work ethic. Yes this book does a great job at that .
You sense a however coming and you are correct. Before I come to the however , I feel i must add a caveat. The way that I see it the people who really need to read this book. The rich , the powerful , the policy and decision makers are never going to read a book like this. This is a book that is going to be read , mostly , by those who morally and politically sensitive to the needs of the others. In other words this is a book that is going to preach to the converted.
Injustice is a coruscating and sweeping evaluation of British politics that bluntly dismisses a plethora of supposedly progressive policies as ineffective and distractions from what he says are the real trends undermining the wellbeing of individuals, communities and the country at large.
He identifies five sets of beliefs - elitism, exclusion, prejudice, greed and despair - that he claims are replacing Beveridge's five social evils, created at the dawn of the welfare state (ignorance, want, idleness, squalor and disease), and have become so entrenched in Britain and some other affluent countries that they uphold an unjust system that perpetuates extreme inequality.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is an excellent book and compares very favourably with others on a similar topic, such as The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone, it seems a shame that it has not attracted the same attention as these other books or warranted a response as they have (see The Spirit Level Delusion: Fact-checking the Left's New Theory of Everything).

I have been reading on the topic of social equality/inequality and its consequences for some time, considering it to be one of the central questions of politics, from the nineteen eighties at least some of the most sophisticated political thinking has actually been in favour of inequality, considering it to be not simply natural but also eminently defensible (see Equality). This has become the political consensus and has spread beyond politics to be a popularly held opinion too.

It is from this juncture that Dorling begins his book, that inequality in order to exist and persist requires a belief system which underpins it and treats it as normal and inevitable. The book has an excellent index and contents page, it is structured very well, each chapter has a title corresponding to the toxic beliefs Dorling identifies in his introductory chapter and is further subdivided into subheadings identifying the policies, politics and public decisions corresponding to the specific belief. The book is densely researched and has a comprehensive, as comprehensive as I have seen, notes and sources which are presented in the form of endnotes for each chapter.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
Danny Dorling maps,as a human geographer,the statistics of the 2007-10 crash and recession in horrifying clinical detail and with what seems to be irrefutable evidence. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Gelda MacGregor
3.0 out of 5 stars Statistical, but well meaning
This book contains a large amount of data, much of it simply listed, page after page, rather than analysed, or formed into a cohesive argument. Read more
Published 9 months ago by carolinee
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read!
Excellent, thought-provoking, scholarly, fully-referenced work. This book has really challenged my thinking about equality, meritocracy and elitism. Read more
Published on 11 Jan 2012 by Jiayan
3.0 out of 5 stars You have to read this, but you don't have to agree with it.
I have developed a love-hate relationship with this book. It contains some great insight and some fantastic quotes and does not dress up its points. Read more
Published on 27 Oct 2011 by Ioannis Glinavos
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes eye-opening and shocking
This is an incredibly well written and researched read as well as displaying some rightful anger regarding social inequality. Read more
Published on 7 Oct 2011 by L. Hutchinson
4.0 out of 5 stars Injustice: Why Social Inequality Persists - Daniel Dorling
For those people who, like me, are annoyed by the sometimes altogether subtle (or entirely unsubtle) inequalities of modern life; this will make for a fascinating read. Read more
Published on 18 Aug 2011 by N. Wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars Five modern ills - brilliantly structured exposé
Thanks to works such as The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone, there is a rising awareness of inequality in society, and the damage it can do. Read more
Published on 17 Aug 2011 by R. WEST-SOLEY
3.0 out of 5 stars Raises as many questions as it answers...
Are we sleepwalking into segregation because of the concentration of ethnic minorities British cities? Or is the reverse happening? Read more
Published on 16 Aug 2011 by Black Mask
5.0 out of 5 stars A forceful polemic
I read this after reading The Spirit Level, on holiday abroad as riots consumed cities throughout the UK. And anyone who reads it can only wonder, what took them so long? Read more
Published on 15 Aug 2011 by Green Man
4.0 out of 5 stars Life ain't fair - but what can we do about it?
This reminds me of a comment I hear when I grumble about problems in life: it is not fair. And what this book does is remind us in great detail exactly why that is so right around... Read more
Published on 5 Aug 2011 by R T
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