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自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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Great leveler

 
先程のアティカス・フィンチのクライマックスの言葉に登場した。the great levelers。独立宣言のall men are created equalと並列的に使われています。

Now, gentlemen, in this country our courts are the great levelers. In our courts, all men are created equal.

4月9日のBBCで話題になったニュースでもgreat levelerでしたね。



They tell us coronavirus is a great leveller. It’s not. It’s much, much harder if you’re poor. How do we stop it making social inequality even greater?

Hello, good evening. The language around Covid-19 has sometimes felt trite and misleading.

You do not survive the illness through fortitude and strength of character, whatever the Prime Minister’s colleagues will tell us.

And the disease is not a great leveller, the consequences of which everyone - rich or poor - suffers the same, this is a myth which needs debunking.

Those on the frontline right now - bus drivers, shelf-stackers, nurses, care home workers, hospital staff and shopkeepers - are disproportionately the lower paid members of our workforce.

They are more likely to catch the disease because they are more exposed. Those in tower blocks and small flats will find the lockdown tougher. Those in manual jobs won't be able to work from home.

This is a health issue with huge ramifications for social welfare and it's a welfare issue with huge ramifications for public health.

great leverって言葉は日本語にしにくいですね。

(ウィズダム)
leveler 
(身分・年齢に関係なく)平等に与えられる[やってくる]物 (!特に死や病気など) .

(オックスフォード)
leveller
an event or a situation that makes everyone equal whatever their age, importance, etc.
death, the great leveller

(英辞郎)
Death is the great leveller.
死は偉大な平等主義者である。/死は万人に公平をもたらす偉大なもの。/どのような人もいつかは死ぬ。◆ことわざ



まさにgreat leverって本も出ていたのですが翻訳書のタイトルは『暴力と不平等の人類史―戦争・革命・崩壊・疫病』となっています。

(Amazon紹介文)
平等は破壊の後にやってくる

[戦争]第二次大戦後の日本 250万人戦死 トップ1%の富が9割下落
[革命]毛沢東「大躍進」 4000万人以上死亡 ジニ係数の劇的改善
[崩壊]西ローマ帝国の崩壊 あらゆる支配層の消滅 搾取の終焉・生活向上 
[疫病]欧州のペスト 2000万人死亡 実質賃金が2倍以上に
・・・・・・他多数

核戦争なき平等化はありえるか?

平等化に有効だった戦争と革命は、20世紀の現象だった。
21世紀の私たちはいかにして平等化を実現するのか?

スタンフォード大学古代史教授が
石器時代から現代まで、壮大なスケールで
世界各国の不平等の歴史を描き出す。

現代世界の不穏な空気を読み解く衝撃の書
世界11カ国で続々刊行!
FT & マッキンゼー ビジネス・ブック・オブ・ザ・イヤー話題作

疫病を社会を平等にしていく推進力という本を書いた著者に聞きたくなるのは、コロナウィルスがgreat levelerになるかといことですよね。

Kyrill Hartog
Walter Scheidel explains how the fallout from coronavirus could be the catalyst for a more equal world
Thu 30 Apr 2020 11.56 BST Last modified on Mon 4 May 2020 10.14 BST

If the affliction of coronavirus has shamed us into anything, it is a vivid appreciation of just how cruelly topsy-turvy our world is. Low-paid healthcare workers, bin collectors, bus drivers and supermarket shelf stackers, not hedge fund managers or venture capitalists, have kept us from falling apart. It has taken actual disaster to expose the deep-seated social injustices and inequalities that we knew, but seemed to have forgotten, are hardwired into our economy. So could the global convulsion caused by the pandemic put us on the path to greater equality?

The Austrian economic historian Walter Scheidel argues that throughout history, from the stone age onwards, pandemic is one of the only four events capable of bringing about greater equality. War, state collapse and revolution are the other three.

In his book The Great Leveler he showed how the Black Death in the 1300s led to the wipeout of a third of Europe’s population and massively reduced inequality by raising the price of labour. More recently, in the 20th century, two catastrophic world wars and the Communist revolution led to a long era of reduced inequality lasting until the early 1980s and giving rise to the modern welfare state, labour unions and progressive taxation.

著者の回答は慎重で、もっとたくさんの人々が社会の根本的な変革を望むようにならないといけないとしています。

Will all this awareness spill over into demands for political transformation? “It doesn’t take all that much,” says Scheidel. “All we really need is a certain increase in the percentage of people who support certain policies for those policies to become mainstream. There is now a greater potential for a sufficiently large number of people to say, ‘maybe we should be doing something about this’.”

But there’s an important caveat; much of the coronavirus’s levelling potential will depend on our willingness to suffer significant economic losses in the short and medium term.

そのためには経済不況が長引かせないといけないようです。

Meanwhile, mass unemployment and the loss of income or healthcare will hit the poor hardest, pushing many people into debt, further widening the gap between rich and poor.

But could the coronavirus crash do what the 2008 crash didn’t? Not if there’s a swift recovery but, says Scheidel: “If we’re entering a more long-term depression as a result of Covid-19, I think all kinds of more radical policies will be on the table for the first time in a very long time.”

あとは、これまでの体制に1日でも早く戻そうとする勢力との拮抗があると指摘しています。トランプ大統領なんか露骨にその勢力を代弁していますよね。

It will also be difficult to resist the temptation to go back to business as usual. “There will be a strong push to go back to growth to finance the huge deficits that governments have been racking up, so, if anything, growth will be more important than before,” says Scheidel. “At the same time, if the effects of the pandemic polarise societies even more, there will also be stronger agitation for more progressive or distributive policies. It will be very difficult to reconcile those two motivations.”

The real clash of interests, he predicts, will be between those determined to go back to the status quo even at the price of making existing inequality worse and those who want a reset.

“I don’t see enough engagement with the fact that this is going to be a real struggle between countervailing forces that push in different directions. The big question is which one will have the upper hand, in which place, and for how long.”

この記事の締めをバラして申し訳ないですが、記者はそんなに長く苦しまないと平等化しないのなら待てない人の方が多いだろうと締めています。全く同感ですね。

And if he is right that the recipe for equality is prolonged suffering, things may have to get a lot worse before they can get better. For many, it won’t be worth the wait.
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