The Spirit Level Delusion: Fact-Checking the Left's New Theory of Everything Paperback – 17 May 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Snowden's introduction is in my view a simplistic distortion of what The Spirit Level is about and at times, reads like a rant (p10 3rd paragraph onwards) rather than a rational criticism. What Snowden demonstrates very well in his book is that where data and statistical analyses are concerned, the arguments and counter arguments can run and run. He questions the data and methodology underlying the conclusions drawn by the authors of the Spirit Level and attributes their motivations to left wing ideology. The same accusations could be made about Snowden's cherry picking of data and his obvious anti-left ideology. He is motivated to throw in anything which muddies the waters, creates a smoke screen and under minds his targets - Wilkinson, Pickett, Layard, James and Lawson. Me thinks the man protests too much.
There is much of interest in Snowden's analysis of data but this is spoilt by what he selects, says and how he says it. He uses ridicule, innuendo, personal slurs and takes points of view to the extreme and in doing so, reduces them to the absurd.Read more ›
The rest of Snowdon's book was dedicated to showing up the weakness in Wilkinson & Pickett's book, mainly by pointing to outdated data, excluded data, and the misinterpretation of data. Although many of those criticisms appear valid and persuasive, Snowdon was not postulating a rival theory himself. His was a work of destruction. A neutral reader may conclude that Snowdon might have won on a technicality if the objective criterion was evidence based data. Snowdon had not, however, disproved the claim that inequality in wealth is detrimental to society - that issue has been an age-old debate in which opponents have worn weary from the fight. Wilkinson & Pickett perhaps strode boldly to execute what they thought might have been the "coup de grace", but thanks to Snowdon, their opponents live to fight another day.
Both books engaged in polemics from time to time. Snowdon, for example, claims that Layard was advancing the theory that a "punitive tax system...would restore work-life balance.Read more ›
The problem Snowdon has are first perceptions; what is he trying to say? That Wilkinson and Pickett are wrong and the UK is actually a more equal place than they describe, or that its societal inequalities are actually acceptable, that in fact a small minority of people should be allowed to be `super-rich,' for the `benefit of all', and an increasingly marginalised underclass is a fair price to pay for this, particularly as they usually deserve to be there through their own failings, anyway?
The first stumbling block this book has to get over [and fails] is that any ordinary person [i.e. 95% of the population] can see day in day out that Britain is a very unequal society and we are, frankly, in a social and economic mess where any sense of community is barely a memory now for much of its population. The vast majority of people can sense there is something very wrong with this, even if they cannot fully articulate it.
So again the question begs to be answered: what is Snowdon trying to prove? His association with a right wing libertarian think tank probably explains a lot, and the speed of this rebuttal to the publication of `The Spirit Level' clearly shows Wilkinson and Pickett's book must have disturbed the libertarian right considerably, but having said that Snowdon's book is well written and, as a couple of reviewers have said, is a good `tube read' which is no bad thing, but probably sums up its `academic' weight. The fact is unfortunately, apart from spending a lot of time trying to shoot down Wilkinson and Pickett's figures and methodology, Snowdon comes up with very little counter-analysis of his own.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is easier to find faults with anything that has been published rather than to come up with genuine solutions to what is globally recognised as after Climate Change, inequality... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Snowden's purpose may have been balance, but on the evidence (The Spirit Level Delusion), he is dealing mostly in ridicule and in taking petty, narrow-minded pot shots at a... Read morePublished 13 months ago by sin sin minkin
A short but comprehensive debunking of a current political fashion - the Spirit Level (And other texts)Published 16 months ago by Paul Chandler
Right wing dogma guiding the interpretation of facts. Not much else to say really.Published 18 months ago by Peter j
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