Thursday, 16 October 2014

Blog action day: inequality

Inequality, to me, is legalese. It's harsh, unfeeling and grey. The word doesn't demand action of us: it's a state of being, a mathematical comment on the way the world is. A brick is heavier than a feather - that's inequality. It doesn't make me want to do anything about it.

So I wondered about the synonyms for inequality, and a quick search on the clever Google Ngram showed me something interesting. We used to talk about injustice much more than we talked about inequality. Something happened between 1973 and 1974, and inequality took over. There's not space (or time) to look at why that happened, but it seems that the sense of justice went out of fashion. We were no longer talking about what was right or wrong.

Does 'injustice' demand more response than 'inequality'? Or which other words could we use?

Here's the graph, and you can have a go yourself, using a good thesaurus (or and Google Ngram.

(For comparison, I've also included 'unfairness', which doesn't seem to have been very popular at all.)

Find out more about Blog Action day

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