Pain has become one of the central discourses of the coalition government as it embarks on its cuts programme. The cuts are inevitable, we are told, and the pain must be shared in the interests of fairness. But is the pain necessary, should it be shared, is it really being shared, how will the pain effect the social, and what are the psychosocial consequences of the crisis? Kate Pickett (author of The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better), Mike Rustin (author of The Good Society and the Inner World) and Jeremy Gilbert (author of Anti-Capitalism and Culture: Radical Theory and Popular Politics. This is the text of Jeremy’s talk to the Demos institute in Ghent, May 2010, which was an invited response to The Spirit Level) will address these and other questions. The second of three CCSR seminars that are examining the coalition government’s discursive agenda, the meeting will take place in room EB.G.14 in the East Building of UEL’s Dockland’s Campus.