A large number of studies show that degree of socio-economic inequality ‘within’ a social entity negatively determines levels of well-being and life expectancy, and is positively associated with morbidity and mortality. This relationship holds over and above the impact of average income level. This initially suggested model put forward a causal flow with mediating variables of ‘relative deprivation’ and followed it up with the expressions of ‘social capital’ in the social psychological sense. This article tests, besides these, the role of an additional (relatively little referred to) mediating set of variables between economic inequality and measures of well-being and health, namely levels of physical investments by society (physical social capital [PHSC]) for fulfilling its individual members’ needs. It is proposed that the higher the level of inequality, the lower would be a society’s investments in PHSC (such as in education, health services, job creation, ecology conservation, public transportation and the like) that contribute to health, well-being and survival. The proposition is tested out in two kinds of kibbutz communities: one, ‘traditional’ with strong adherence to social and economic equality among members; and another, ‘transformed’ kibbutzim, where salaries are differential and are based on position or occupation. The two groups of kibbutzim were roughly equated on size, years since settlement, political belonging, economic standing and geographical location. Findings show that the degree of inequality is associated with the level of both psychosocial social capital and PHSC, which in turn contribute independently and cumulatively to levels of peoples’ health and well-being. Transformed kibbutzim are seen as an expression of neoliberal ideology results in the negative effects on health and well-being of individuals and their communities.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2017, © 2017 Department of Psychology, University of Allahabad.
- Socio-economic inequality
- physical social capital
- psychosocial social capital
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology