Whether it's having the lowest infant mortality rates or scoring the highest on environmental sustainability indicators, the common denominator is that higher income equality builds healthier nations.
In other words, the greater the shared distribution of wealth, the better people, economies and the environment thrive.
Academician and Professor of Human Geography at UK's University of Sheffield, Danny Dorling, says that the two countries in the world where everything works very well, yet where the richest 1 percent of the population has never had a lower share of national income are the Netherlands and Switzerland.
"The best off 1% of people in Switzerland live on less than half as much income as the best off 1% in the UK. They still manage to run banks”- Danny Dorling
Dorling highlights that, "the rate at which infant mortality has improved has been greatest in those countries where the wealth gap between rich and poor is narrower. However, it remains high in the United States, which is very unequal in terms of wealth", he adds.
The latest findings from the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) entitled "Society at a Glance 2011 - OECD Social Indicators reveals that New Zealand, Australia, Italy, United Kingdom, Portugal, Israel, United States, Turkey, Mexico and Chile are the nations with the worst income inequality.
The OECD Social Indicators also show that poorer countries have tended to have higher income inequality and there was no strong tendency for countries that grew richer faster to have rising inequality, moreover,countries with historically low levels of income inequality like Denmark, Sweden and Germany, have experienced significant increases over the past decade.
In terms of policy recommendations, the OECD says that for example, theUS should increase taxes on the wealthiest Americans to cut inequality.
Research suggests that humans generally tend to consume less per person in more equitable nations as compared to more unequal countries, despite having more money to spend. The same is seen in terms of waste, so that the amount of waste produced per person on average is less in nations where income equality is higher, as compared to those countries where resources are less well shared.
Social scientist say that income inequality can become a social justice issue when it tears at the fiber of societies and therefore, democracy itself, in which case it becomes a human rights issue as democracy is a human right.
In the final analysis, Dorling concludes: "In affluent countries there are enough teachers to teach all children well, enough homes for everyone to be housed, enough food for everyone to be well fed, and enough health care to go round, if only well organized. More equitable affluent countries do better in all kinds of ways. They also take a smaller share overall of global resources, and that is good news if we want to see infant and young child mortality rates continue to fall and living standards continue to rise worldwide."