The New History of Old Inequality*

I don’t read much history but I thought this article by Trevor Jackson was exceptional, and offered a genuinely different view to almost all the health and economics articles dealing with inequalities. The conclusion is eye-opening – and bleak:

The best analogies for the contemporary crisis of inequality are not found in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a time of militant unions and economic growth that preceded an eventual phase of greater equality, but that does not mean there is nothing to be learned from studying the long-term dynamics of inequality.

Likewise, there is an optimism in thinking that inequality moves in waves, and that peaks like ours will be followed by a pendulum that swings back the other way towards equality. That optimism cannot survive contact with the new history of inequality, and especially the evidence that reductions of inequality are profoundly rare aberrations in the general trend of steady social polarization.

Instead, better analogies are to be found in the early modern period, those times of stagnation and decline, of increasing extraction and the destructive politics of elite wealth defence. Ours may be not a Second Gilded Age, but a New Old Regime.

Well worth a read.


Jackson, T. (2023). The New History of Old Inequality*. Past & Present, 259(1), 262–289.

Moon Towers

I read an article on lost objects. In it they briefly allude to moon towers, or moonlight towers, which I’d never heard of. These were 50-70m towers designed to illuminate areas up to 1km diameter areas.

The only remaining ones are in Austin, though their origins were grim:

The initial construction of these towers was in part a reaction to a local serial killer dubbed the Servant Girl Annihilator, who terrorized Austin between 1885 and 1886

Party At The Moon Tower

Teaching Heroes with Dr Joanna Winchester

It was such a delight to chat with Dr Joanna Winchester for her Teaching Heroes podcast.

We had a pretty wide-ranging discussion about health equity, how the COVID response could be exacerbating health inequities, vaccination for teachers, and how the return to classrooms might play out – including the role that HEPA filters might play.

We also briefly spoke about the early 20th-century movement for open-air schooling, and how some of these design ideas may make a comeback

Thanks Jo!