Intuitively, a hardworking society where people cooperate but also compete is better than a society that exclusively competes. Don't get me wrong - I believe in capitalism. But working together, perhaps reducing our income inequality, could help our society.
As I researched this subject, I realized that this intuition is based in fact.
As income inequality increases, the following get worse: life expectancy, math & literacy, infant mortality, homicides, imprisonment, teenage births, trust, obesity, mental illness, and social mobility. This holds true both among countries and among states in the USA.
I especially like how the speaker in this video, Richard Wilkinson, mentions that based on how low social mobility is compared to other countries, Americans hoping to live the American dream should move to Denmark. Social mobility is a measure of how much your father's income matters on how much you will make. A high social mobility means that children's income is not necessarily based on how much the parents make.
A higher income inequality nation will have people that are more preoccupied with superiority and inferiority. People will worry more about how they are seen by others; fear of judgement increases. All the data in this video aren't picked and chosen. All the data in this video is all the data available from any country that has recorded these measures.
One of our themes is causation vs. correlation. While this can be argued, the highest driving factor seems to be income inequality. I'm sure some bidirectional arrows can be drawn, but reducing our income inequality would almost surely result in a better society.