Just to add my own critique of the TED video link (I highly recommend the TED app on the iPad). Why is it that we get so little social bang for our GDP? Why are we so rich with such poor healthcare outcomes, less social mobility than much of the developed world, high crime rates, high rates of imprisonment, high rates of mental illness? If it's just high income inequality, what is causing the income inequality? Why have we leaned so heavily in that direction? When you look at the difference between the rich high-value societies like Japan, Norway, Sweden and the rich low-value societies like the U.S. maybe in our case cultural heterogeneity plays an important role in predisposing people against broader wealth sharing. The video does not take this into account at all. We live in one of the most culturally diverse nations on earth. And the consequence is that we have a very high sense of "the other" within our own boundaries. And we have a rich tradition of being much less interested in broadly sharing wealth with "the other." And as we've argued elsewhere, the United States is well on the path to the end of the western European caucasian Ureinwanderer as the dominant cultural meme. As the demographic shift becomes more inevitable, the cries against "social engineering" become increasingly shrill. The old America is going to isolate itself behind a wall of rural poverty and urban social elites for a few more decades, but that will pass, and about the time I'm on my deathbed if I live a statistical lifespan we'll have the opportunity to really remake the social contract for a more egalitarian future. At least I hope that's what happens. Wealth improves happiness on an absolute level. We're happier than Mexicans and Russians, sure, but we really should be comparing ourselves only to the top of the developed world in terms of our achievements. The bottom line is that as a culture, we get a very low return on our GDP investment as measured on a broad scale of social outcomes, and income inequality seems to be highly correlated with this poor rate of return.