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Nov 1, 2011

The Equal Opportunity in Inequality

We all know that equality is a good idea, but it's more than that. Until I heard of this scientific study I'd never heard the argument for social equality so succinctly made. It's a real eye-opener. An organization called the Equality Trust did a careful examination of many kinds of data to determine the effects of income inequality on society. Here is a video description of their results, in which they found all kinds of effects of income inequality. In it you hear one astonishing fact after another, like that the US is the most unequal developed nation, second only to Singapore. Our mental illness rate consequently is 3 times the level of that in a more egalitarian society like Japan and we have 10 times the violence! (chart) The same results can be seen comparing states to each other.

What this means is that even the RICH would do better in a more egalitarian society! As income inequality increases (the average pay raise for executives of the top 100 companies was 49% this year!!) it's not just their heads they risk as the revolution heats up. It's everything else that holds a society together.

In citing social mobility the presenter says if you want to live the "American dream", go to Denmark! I had the great luxury of living in Austria for a couple years. I'm here to say you can feel the difference. I love my country, which is exactly why I'm so exasperated! God Bless America...with some fast growing up!
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Tim Holmes Studio

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I'm a sculptor/filmmaker living in Montana, USA. I am using art to move the evolution of humanity forward into an increasingly responsive, inclusive and interactive culture. As globalization flattens peoples into a capitalist monoculture I hope to use my art to celebrate historical cultural differences and imagine how we can co-create a rich future together.

I see myself as an artist/philosopher laboring deep in the mines of joy. I've had a good long career of exhibiting work around the world and working on international outreach projects, most notably being the first American to be invited to present a one-person exhibit in the Hermitage Museum. Recently I have turned my attention from simply making metal sculpture to creating films and workshops for engaging communities directly, tinkering with the very ideas and mechanisms behind cultural transformation. I feel that as we face tragic world crises, if the human species favors our imaginative and creative capacities we can cultivate a rich world to enjoy.

For me the deepest satisfaction in making art comes in engaging people's real life concerns rather than providing simple entertainment or decoration. Areas of conflict or tension are particularly ripe for the kind of transformative power that art uniquely carries. I invite any kind of challenge that serves people on a deep level.