Playlist: The roots — and effects — of income inequality

Posted by: Tedstaff

Explore these TEDTalks that discuss income inequality — what causes it, the brutal effects, and how we might fight it.

Start with this talk from Richard Wilkinson, whose 2009 book The Spirit Level gathers decades of research to draw this conclusion: Societies with more income inequality suffer — in utterly predictable ways — more than societies that are more equal.

(And read the TED Blog’s in-depth Q&A with Wilkinson, in which he talks about the moment he realized economic inequality was a measureable problem.)

Next, watch Van Jones’ powerful talk on a specific outcome of economic injustice: If you’re poor, your neighborhood gets trashed.

For a followup, watch Majora Carter’s classic TEDTalk “Greening the Ghetto” — which shows the effects of income inequality on her home in the South Bronx, and offers triple-bottom-line solutions for raising incomes and reducing environmental damage.

And do not miss Bryan Stevenson’s TEDTalk about economic injustice and its consequences — with a bold call for everyone to look honestly at the problem: “We have a system of justice in [the US] that treats you much better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent.”

Find more talks on inequality >>

Comments (18)

  • Matt K commented on Jan 23 2014

  • Matt K commented on Jan 23 2014

    just to complete more talks

  • Pingback: TED and inequality: The real story

  • Ray Givler commented on May 19 2012

    If TED wants an open discussion, they should invite and Austrian economist like Robert Murphy. The comments from some (presumably) intelligent TED members are shocking. People above do not understand the difference between corporatism and capitalism. They do not understand that capitalism has brought more people out of poverty than any other economic system ever. They do not understand the concepts that informed the Constitution, principle of which was the concept of property rights. Income cannot be equalized without violating the property rights (i.e. liberty) of some for the benefit of others. You people need to go over to because you don’t realize your assumptions (first, you don’t believe in property rights, and second you assume that government is the best means of helping people (laughable, really)).

  • Paul Barrett commented on May 19 2012

    Someone should tell Chris Anderson about Google. Google, the verb, Voodoo economics, and you can find notable republicans disputing supply-side economics. hanauer is no more partisan than Gallelio when he mentioned that the earth was not the center of the Galaxy. Anyway, Hanauers talk is up on youtube… Chris Anderson… Dumb decision.

  • Erika Wischmann commented on May 18 2012

    Hanauer’s talk was no more radical than Wilkinson’s, which makes me suspect these “censorship” allegations are just a cheap bid for attention.
    Still, it would be nice if TED would lay them to rest by simply posting the talk.

  • Erin Briney commented on May 17 2012

    @Tom. I have a tremendous amount of respect for TED, which is why I immediantly went to your site after seeing the Nick Hanauer story pop up in the feeds and social sites I visit. I was surprised that I could find no response to the allegations on your site or blog which is why I commented. I understand that sometimes addressing the story indicates that you have something to defend and lends credence to the accusations, however this thinly disguised post on inequality almost seemed like you were throwing up a smoke screen to hide behind. Your followers want to stand behind you, so thank you for posting a link to the response. I encourage you to be more transparent and direct in your communications to ensure that your supporters find the information they are looking for regarding this highly publicized story.

  • Tom Rielly commented on May 17 2012

    Tom Rielly from TED here.

    Nick’s talk is here:

    Our issue is an editorial one, not having anything to do with our corporate partners. Read Chris’ blog post here:

    Hope that helps!

    • commented on May 18 2012

      Thanks for the link.

      Having now watched the presentation, I do not see it as partisan and I am not a member of either major party and, in fact, worked for Reagan/Bush in 1980 as a college Freshman. If anyone thinks his presentation as controversial or partisan needs to listen to Mike Malloy or Lee Camp rant.

      As I posted over at CA’s blogpost, if we (the American people) do not fix the hyper-partisan scorched earth political climate we will flounder as nothing will get done- including many of the great ideas presented at TED over the years.

      The Republican Party has adopted a policy of my way or the highway and refuses to bend at all. Given that attitude, it will be almost impossible to accomplish much in government, which plays right into the Republican meme concerning the ineffectiveness of government.

      I see nothing wrong with Mr Hanauer’s presentation, but am amused to see that so many consider it controversial.

  • Pickin Grinnin commented on May 17 2012

    I have lost a LOT of respect for TED today. Post the Nick Hanauer speech. It’s far more interesting than anything else on this page.

  • David Gregory commented on May 17 2012

    So we can get plenty of Corporate Friendly pablum but nothing that is pointed and challenging to the current corporate mantra that has dominated our politics and major parties for 30+ years. Where is the presentation by Nick Hanauer? Are we not intelligent enough or nuanced enough to understand after listening and watching with open ears and eyes?

    I’m not going to accuse TED of fearing corporate backlash in the form of underwriting if the talk is published, but that is exactly what it looks like. Lots of content about how technology can save us and absolutely nothing about how political choices have changed policy and bankrupted a nation and it’s middle class.

  • Pingback: Did TED Really Censor A Talk For Being Too Political? | Care2 Causes

  • commented on May 17 2012

    If you really want to understand this subject you need to start with Henry George. Please book a Georgist!

  • Clayton Bateson commented on May 17 2012

    I would also like to ask that question as well. You have clearly set a precedent for talks on economics, why not show one that is distinctly relevant to capitalism today? It would seem to me that if you are experiencing enough blow-back to post this response you might as well post Hanaur’s actual talk. Is there some sort of offended corporate sponsor we should address these questions to?

    • David Gregory commented on May 17 2012

      I’ll pay to watch it. If you won’t distribute it for free put it up on iTunes for sale. Let the market decide.

  • Erin Briney commented on May 17 2012

    Are you planning on addressing the talk by Nick Hanauer regarding inequality, referenced today in multiple media sources, or is this blog post your response?

    • David Gregory commented on May 17 2012

      Yes, in America we do not fear honestly expressed opinion. And we get far too much corporate friendly, sanitized “free market capitalism” embedded in everything but our Cheerios. Funny, but when I read the Constitution and other founding documents I read nothing about Free Market Capitalism and unrestricted greed.

  • commented on May 17 2012

    TED is one of the best things to have happened on the internet. Some of the TED videos have changed my whole way of looking at things.