While in theory anyone in the US can make it with sufficient effort, the reality is that some people get economically shat on through no fault of their own. Our national mythology/culture doesn't take this into account, and as a result we're incredibly vicious towards those who struggle.
As more and more capital needs less and less labor to be profitable and create value, we're going to need to find more effective ways to make sure everyone's needed, or things have a potential to get much worse before they get better.
EDIT: As others have noted, we also severely undervalue social capital, so we by and large firesale it to accumulate more material value. We work more instead of spending time with friends and family, thereby dangerously isolating ourselves. Thank you all for pointing this out.
> "She calculated that in 2005, unmarried middle-aged men were 3.5 times more likely than married men to die from suicide, and their female counterparts were as much as 2.8 times more likely to kill themselves. The divorce rate has doubled for middle-aged and older adults since the 1990s, she said."
There has been huge changes in our societies concerning the role of men and women, their relations, when/if they have children, the type of jobs available (which many are soul-wrecking pointless work), the food we eat, the move towards atheism, the increase in material wealth, the Internet...
There is a myriad of possible factors and we need some serious studies before we can reach a conclusion. You can't just say "it's because capitalism" and be done with it.
We severely undervalue social value for material value, and we're suffering horribly for it.
This is how it's always been. So that doesn't hold water.
I think the problem is, and you touched on this in your original comment, is that some people don't get a chance to "sell their time/energy".
The unemployment numbers being quoted everywhere are a joke. Those numbers exclude discouraged workers who exit the economy and those people are the likeliest to off themselves.
See the graph here:
Male participation in the wage economy peaked right before the recession of 1958. We have now seen 57 years of decline. Women's participation in the economy peaked in the late 90s. How many decades of decline would you need to see before you feel you seeing a crisis?
Albeit, I hate using the phrase "retired" here. Retired for most simply means the equivalent of someone being born into wealth retiring at age 0.
Anyway, there are around 75 million kids, so real figures are something like 40% unemployed. But a lot of people are working under the table, no longer in classical employment, etc.
Though hopefully the kids are also doing something as well besides just factory public schooling. Figure 1 in 4 is 14-18 and they might have some part time job, albeit unlikely.
There is a fundamental shift to consider, though. A hundred years ago regardless of employment figures most people were farming and by farming that meant the whole family worked together to eat and provide shelter for themselves, and raise enough money to buy that which they cannot provide to themselves.
I suspect this isn't a choice but a result of labor saturating the traditional market.
I think capitalism became very good at optimizing for profit and it pushes aside faster than ever anything that stays in it's path (and now that's more and more people).
>We severely undervalue social value for material value
Unfortunately the market has spoken: material value.
Society is what we make of it. We still have a choice.
Also, kudos to everyone up the chain in this subthread; this is the discourse I expect when coming to HN.
The extent that the market is a free market is much debated.
Contrast this to people of affluence I've known who've stopped even having a reflection in the mirror. Their identity just disappeared.
I don't think there's wide agreement on just what constitutes social value once you get down to the detail level.
Care to explain that? Atheism may be growing--in fact, Wikipedia gives an upper bound of the US atheist population at ten percent--but I've never seen anything resembling what I would call an actual cultural movement towards atheism.
The dominant non-commercial social organ for most people in their local community is their church. Atheists are by definition cut off from this.
There are exceptions of course, Unitarian churches etc, but I would posit that most atheists don't find a comparable social grouping.
Once you joined a church (it didn't really matter which one), you gained a lot of social connections that turned into business connections. I don't know if there was any statistical truth to that, but it was definitely accepted in my family's social circle as a rule.
Care to put forth any evidence that this might possibly be the case?
Personally I think the actual cultural movement towards 'atheism' is simple Leftism. Most people may still believe in the belief of God and thus differ from atheists on the ontological question, but their beliefs about the world in general are vastly different from those of their (for some religions, even still living) ancestors of the same declared denomination and those beliefs are in conflict with classic doctrine.
Hopefully this is changing, but I think it's less that is atheism growing and more that people are becoming comfortable admitting what they really think.
Surely (not athiest) => theist => (believes in a god) => (has a religion)
I'm nonreligious, I don't care to discuss it or think about religion as a part of my life, but it's okay if others want to be religious themselves.
Why don't I want to be labeled atheist? It's looked down upon and many hardcore atheists are exclusionary.
You know how when someone insists on it being GNU/Linux, but most people don't care? That's why I'm nonreligious (but technically atheist).
Now I call myself a "Reformed Fundamentalist Atheist" because it captures that I don't care anymore (reformed), and it sounds enough like a real religion that people seem to accept it as one.
In the spirit of many of the good things on the internet, the Reformed Fundamentalist Atheist church (RFA) is of course an open source religion, under the MIT license :)
A lot of people I think don't care to form a belief one way or another. I'm not sure what that's called.
This statement as such is still just about correlation, not causation (compare ice cream sales and drowning deaths).
But it has been studied.
* CONCLUSIONS: Religious affiliation is associated with less suicidal behavior in depressed inpatients. After other factors were controlled, it was found that greater moral objections to suicide and lower aggression level in religiously affiliated subjects may function as protective factors against suicide attempts. Further study about the influence of religious affiliation on aggressive behavior and how moral objections can reduce the probability of acting on suicidal thoughts may offer new therapeutic strategies in suicide prevention.*
A religious person in pain without hope looks at suicide as an option and thinks, "I've got it bad now, but it's only going to get worse if I do this..."
Whereas a non-religious person is thinking, "I've got it bad now, but if I do this I won't have to feel anything ever again"
For the discussion I also didn't really make a distinction between a true atheist and someone who believes in a higher power but doesn't go to Church. I should probably have used "secularism".
Economic turmoil in general is linked to suicide:
What numbers are you looking at though? If you look at income inequality there has been a significant increase in the last few decades.
But he will shoot himself when his wife divorces him and takes his children.
Immigrants and their children now make up more than 25% of the US population. How many poor people can you expect an economy to absorb before wages drop on the low end?
Immigrants have about as much correlation with poor people as a cloudy sky has with flooding.
You're wrong about the immigrant thing. If you add a third again as many poor people to your population your statistics are gonna show a lot of poor people.
If you look at the poverty statistics, you've had an enormous increase in poverty and your average wage is much lower. But that's just... math.
Also, those people will push down wages on the lower end. Wages are a function of supply and demand. When you add a whole bunch of people to the supply without increasing demand, the clearing price will be lower just like the price of cars would drop if you doubled production and dumped them on the market. If you're a native born person you're not going to get a raise for a long, long time.
If you really believe suicides are in part driven by income inequality, you can't pretend immigration isn't part of the problem.
> "Stagnating" doesn't mean "going down"
Yes, we all know how inflation works.
Uses absolute statements based on pure conjecture to defend their points.
The entire genesis of America was directly related to the economy.
In every comment thread about this news I see capitalism referred to as the probable cause.
You can look all you'd like if you want to be thorough, but I feel like you will discover what everyone already knows.
It's hard to fit in with rich whites / asians who have a boat from their parents and wear designer clothes when you spent your whole childhood playing with cards and worrying about money.
As a rich white/Asian, I agree. Now what? We will all go back to coding in atom/vim/etc and continue our lives, forgetting we ever had this whole conversation.
I don't say this in anger, but it's a lost cause entirely because you (and many others, past versions of myself included) choose to believe it's a lost cause. Us all going back to our editors and forgetting this conversation in defeat is a self-fulfilling prophecy. And it's particularly insidious to publicly acknowledge your privilege and then make this gesture, because it sets an example for others of your level of privilege. It's isomorphic with the problem of white people who support the BLM movement in spirit, but think they can't become proactive allies to black America because they don't know how - but it's not a matter of knowing, it's a matter of taking actions, often difficult and uncomfortable ones.
If anything, I see very FEW people who were born with the proverbial silver spoon on their mouths.
I had money. I had sustainability and stability. But I was not happy.
In fact its pretty silly to think either of those things create happiness or are even the precursors to it.
Heres the very first study I found when googling income inequality and suicide :
> Our results indicate that there is a statistically insignificant positive effect of inequality on the incidence of suicide.
For some groups of people (farmers, vets, construction workers) the correlations between the economy and suicide is very clear. There's pretty good correlation between economic downturn and increased rate of death by suicide.
It is simplistic to just say "it's the economy", but the economy is pretty clearly one important factor.
Having said that, your first paragraph is spot on.
People often talk about how the poor in the US still live better than the poor in the third world, but the poor in third world countries are not excluded from renting relatively decent places because of bad credit, they don't give away their class by their bad teeth, they (mostly) do not have to sleep under bridges (unless they have serious mental issues), their mobility is not restricted by the need to have a car (which all the attendant on-going costs), and so on.
I could be dirt poor in a third world country and people will not avoid me like I am some sort of defective, repugnant, morally challenged person; I am still normal.
Thanks for the insightful comment.
Very good point. I have been living in a lower-middle class neighborhood in one of the world's poorest countries for around 3 years now, but I'm originally from the US. There are fewer inherent indications of wealth vs. poverty here, whereas in the US you can often tell at a single glance. Even if you literally strip away social indicators like clothing, I think I could gauge someone's economic status from their naked body (sadly), and if not that, then definitely from their dialect.
It's a thread that runs throughout the book, in order to explain religion and nationalism and war were deeply entwined all throughout recorded history and well into prehistory for as long as we've had the mental capacity to think about matters larger than we are.
It's pretty rare throughout history that your kids will almost surely be better off than you were. We enjoyed a brief spurt of that here in the US. It's probably over. Welcome back to the old normal.
Meanwhile, I have several male friends whose complete inability to find a suitable relationship has lead them into dark and deep depressions, including attempted suicide. Obviously there's more at play here, but I think this is one thing that we hardly ever discuss as a society, how important it is that each of us feel loved. How important it is that we have someone to come home to every day. How the changes social media and the Internet have wrought on society lead us to spend more time in front of a screen than in front of another human being forming a real connection. I'm sure these issues affect women just as deeply as they affect men, but I feel like men seem to consider suicide as an option more than women, especially as they age. It seems strange that we've put so much effort into this issue yet it still seems almost insurmountable to catalog and connect the people who are desperately single with each other.
I really wish that more men in the US would be comfortable talking about relationships. Many (especially in the tech community) accept their current status as something that cannot be changed and resign themselves to a life of solitude. Women (in my anecdotal experience) do a lot better perhaps because it is much more socially acceptable to talk about relationships and dating.
Yes. Or if we do discuss it, it's to laugh at the loser geek virgins. Admitting that you're single and wish you weren't is extremely low-status, possibly even more so than admitting you have a mental illness.
I actually think debt-driven consumerism is a sort of comforting treadmill for a lot of people, as they never need to change their way of living if they are continually on the verge of material deprivation.
On the whole this is a good thing though. Nothing forces you to be unhappy if your material needs are met. At that point it's all in your head.
It's simply people who only know how to live as if they're on a combat mission.
Once they come back home and there are no bullets buzzing by, they realize they don't know what they were fighting so hard for - they realize they don't know how to live a 'normal' life.
My dad is like that - when he has free time, he does nothing with it. When he doesn't have free time - he wishfully speaks of winning the lottery and having free time.
I have a theory that people who believe life is about strife and that everyone's out to get them - when they finally reach a place where there's no strife and no one out to get them, they still continue fortifying against enemies that never come.
The ridiculousness of fighting invisible enemies causes depression. It's simply a call to open up, to see that there's more to life than fight or flight.
Is he sad about this though or does he enjoy doing nothing?
That's the thing right, he's still deep enough in the fight-or-flight to think he's as happy as can be, given what a shitty world we're living in.
Little does he know, he's not living in a shitty world, it's his beliefs that are the main barrier to living a different life.
But the solution for this is actually not that difficult. Just keep going. Don't settle. And look to bigger and better things. Move your inner struggle to something external, and work hard on it.
No one is suppose to be happy. That is, by definition, a sad state to be in.
Or, find something that is more meaningful to you. That might be: working for a non-profit helping people, creating your own startup, etc.
Keeping on the rat-race treadmill isn't necessarily a good solution for many people, as it can lead to further depression.
None of that brings happiness. Sure, having the necessities is important. But there is very little happiness in a $50K car over the $10K car, but that extra $40K had real costs -- it took a lot of effort, stress, time, etc. So over and over we trade effort, stress, time, etc for things that don't bring happiness. After a while, we're just weary of life.
I don't know what the solution is exactly. It definitely revolves around relationships with people. Helping them. Listening to them. Cooking for them. Raising them. That is where fulfillment and joy are found.
You've mentioned people - it's about relating with them.
The same with everything else - learning to relate to your body as it grows older, to people, to your work/hobbies of choice.
The times are changing and the old modes of relating have been shaken up. This can be seen as a blessing or a curse - you definitely have to put in the extra effort to find your way nowadays. On the upside, there's more opportunity than ever to do so. Plus the internet, that helps :)
In a group of professionals where we are taught "the sky is the limit!", it is important to remember that for the vast majority of our brothers and sisters on this earth, not only is the default difficulty of life set to hard but the deck is also stacked against them in every game.
Just because we have so much more than other groups doesn't mean we have it made.
This is keeping up with the joneses, just instead of the shiny new TV its a more ephemeral "life experiences" and success. Now, with the internet you're not even competing against your neighbor, you're competing against the world. Guess what - the world is always doing something more interesting, being more successful, having more fun than what you're doing. HN in particular exacerbates this issue. For some reading about successes is inspiring - for others it just shows them how far of a gap they have to go.
HN? Aren't you talking about Facebook? Here now, I formulate another hypotheses about this suicide level rising: Facebook is causing suicide! Everybody is happier there.
> Hiding depression is easy.
That's exactly what the OP said. On the other hand i'm not sure what homosexuality has to do with addiction, fractures or depression.
Not really anything to stress about - AS400/RPG guys are some of the most sought after programmers and can get paid pretty much whatever they want.
It is capitalism that drives the need for achievement without reason.
It scares me that people like that are in charge. Don't these people do things for enjoyment? Have hobbies? Have a social life?
Most people on HN have aspirations, drive and ambition. Most people I know don't really care about working other than they wished they could work fewer hours. Most of us have lots of other interesting things to do in life...
Whenever I hear this I think "fine, I like working, but it's hard enough getting hired after 50 never mind 60". What are they expecting all these 66 year old people are going to be doing?
Try swinging a hammer 8 hours a day when you're 60. Good luck.
A lot of people on HN seem to want to start or join a start up, work hard, sell it for lots of money and then use that money to enable freedom of choice (work/life balance.)
We just don't get those sorts of jobs here, so hobbies and time in the pub is important.
Capitalism is merely a description of people's desire to trade goods and services with each other with as much freedom as is compatible with civil society. It didn't need to be invented; it was a natural occurrence. I do understand that some people would like to prevent that from happening.
It is different if you are given all sorts of opportunities in the form of a great upbringing, good school, loving parents and still you fail, at least in your own eyes.
An example is people tweeting food, if you follow thirteen people who post pictures of their lunch, then you will only have a comparatively good lunch once every two weeks. (And that is only if you don't follow people whose job is to post amazing food.) Similar, TV is full of people who complain about being poor sitting in an apartment with Hudson river view. ( It does not help, that the apartment looks like it was designed by an $5000/hr interior designer, because the director wanted it to look good and hired an $5000/hr interior designer.)
Basically this is a variant of Charlie Stross's idea, that news acts as a depressant, because that is the kind of news that sells. ( And is usually a lot easier to write.) Old-media is full of the kind of middle class existence that is at three times the median income, while social media means that the expectation is to keep up on average with the maximum of your peers (because only the best is posted).
This is a great example, and it applies to everything. Looking at stoves? Your buddy just got a top-of-the-line range. Looking at lawnmowers? Another buddy of yours got a $3,000 riding mower. Looking at cars? Another friend just bought a BMW.
As a result, you get the extremely powerful feeling that you should own all of these while in reality, your friends splurged on one thing.
I set up a home gym a few weeks ago. Just like everyone else, I happily posted it on Facebook and contributed to the problem. The thing is, I don't really do anything else; I'm too goddamn busy to go out, to go on vacation, to buy a boat or fifth-wheel or anything like that. I saved up for two years to buy it, too. But that's not the message that gets posted on my Facebook wall right alongside the fantastic vacation that someone else took, the $200 that another person spent at a fancy restaurant, the new car that the next person bought...
Facebook and the media make everyone compare their daily life to everyone's highlight reel. And that's really, really dangerous.
Not only are you less consumed with it, it frees up money for what you can do to actually improve your lot in life.
Crisis Text Line provides free assistance to anyone who texts “help” to 741-741.
If you prefer to talk on the phone, N.I.H. recommends the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
That does not make it any less tragic or less deserving of attention, but we should pick appropriately-scaled policy solutions instead of those we might use for a crisis. (The NPR piece today about suicide rates in Greenland strikes me as an extreme crisis.)
It's also worth noting, for all the people pointing out economic causes for increased suicide, that economically-battered Greece has by far the lowest suicide rate in this group.
some detail here https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11551308
>Results The mean suicide rate overall rose by 35% between 2010 and 2012, from 3.37 to 4.56/100 000 population. The suicide mortality rate for men increased from 5.75 (2003–2010) to 7.43/100 000 (2011–2012; p<0.01). Among women, the suicide rate also rose, albeit less markedly, from 1.17 to 1.55 (p=0.03). When differentiated by age group, suicide mortality increased among both sexes in the age groups 20–59 and >60 years. We found that each additional percentage point of unemployment was associated with a 0.19/100 000 population rise in suicides (95% CI 0.11 to 0.26) among working age men.
> Conclusions We found a clear increase in suicides among persons of working age, coinciding with austerity measures. These findings corroborate concerns that increased suicide risk in Greece is a health hazard associated with austerity measures.
It is tragic that girls of that age range kill themselves at all. By 2014, their suicide rate rose to the level of boys' suicides in 1999.
Meanwhile, boys' suicide rate between 1999 and 2014 rose even more than girls. This however, is not alarming for some reason.
When bad things happen to girls, this triggers a low-level concern response that isn't triggered when bad things happen to boys.
Boys are supposed to get back up, shake it off, and try harder. If they kill themselves, we feel a little bad, but the badness is the same level (give or take) as throwing away a plate of food before it was finished.
It has taken me a very long time to accept this as true (and am far from accepting it as right).
When I'm on vacation, I happily post photos of said vacation. Then when I'm back at work, I happily look at photos of my friends' vacations and wish I was there with them instead of stuck at work!
I guess it depends on what sets you off -- or maybe my ability to cope with internal issues means that external things simply don't bother me -- you bought a cool car, wow, I wish I had one! But I'm able to be grateful for what I have, and I've recognized what kinds of material things make me happy what what don't.
Not sure the cost of being data-mined is worth the value in the end.
And that makes me wonder... how many people out there feel like an object to be used, mined and sold or sold to, rather than valued as a human being, or find their struggle to be recognized, powerful, wealthy, whatever too overpowering?
The book "Bowling Alone"  is an interesting take on much of this from around the year 2000. In theory, social media must have helped with the problems outlined in that book. And yet, I wonder, has the real solution been hijacked by commercialism? Maybe. And what would that book say if written today?
I feel like the Internet is in its High School years, now. The 90's were like grade school, and prior to that it was kindergarten (70's, ARPANET). Now, we've got gang fights, drugs, ineffective leaders/teachers, lowered expectations, and above all, teenage angst.
I have to disagree about Reddit. Reddit is a huge site, with over 250,000 subreddits. Some parts of it are indeed toxic, /r/politics is a good example of this. But there's tons of subreddits for various obscure things, and they're nice places to talk to like-minded people. For instance, there's a subreddit for my car, and there's no toxicity there, just people asking questions about stuff and exchanging tips ("has anyone else experienced this problem?"). Or there's subreddits where people just post pictures of stuff and comment on them (/r/earthporn is a good example if you like pretty nature photos).
The toxicity comes when you have a forum where there's wildly divergent views, so naturally something like /r/politics is going to be filled with nastiness (and for good reason: people who support that other candidate are idiots!! :-) But in someplace like /r/earthporn, what is there to fight about? "This picture of the Grand Canyon at sunset is gorgeous!" "No it isn't, you're a moron!" Some things just lend themselves to conflict a lot more than other things. It's pretty hard to get into an ideological fight about a nature photo. So if you restrict yourself to those subreddits, you can avoid any toxicity I think.
You could say the same thing about a lot of things, including playing video games, posting here on HN, spending time with your family or kids, or anything else that doesn't directly make money.
If someone enjoys it, it's not a "wasteful time sink" any more than playing a crossword puzzle or watching a movie with your spouse.
>However if it is an /r/ for anything significantly popular, it quickly divulges it toxic garbage.
I disagree; /r/earthporn is significantly popular, and /r/aww is extremely popular. They aren't full of toxic garbage. When it's just pictures of cute cats, it's pretty hard to have a serious argument.
More focused groups, like the one for my car, aren't nearly as popular, but not everyone has the same interests, so of course a particular car-based subreddit isn't going to be nearly as popular as something that affects everyone, such as /r/politics.
Politics is especially bad because it literally affects everyone (there's no one now who doesn't live under some government), frequently in a rather profound way (the laws that are passed will directly affect your livelihood, and could put you in jail or get you killed), and our leaders are mostly a bunch of sociopathic, corrupt, evil people, and on top of all that, none of us (assuming you're an American, as /r/politics caters to American politics) can remotely agree on how our country should be governed (some people want outright communism, others want corporate fascism, others want democratic socialism, others want a theocracy, others want near-anarchy).
So in summary, if you want to avoid "toxic garbage", it's pretty simple: find a forum that's full of very like-minded people, and avoid anything that delves into politics. Or if you want to talk about politics but avoid nasty arguments, make sure to find something close to an echo chamber for your preferred candidate/party/orientation.
I think many Americans would have a healthier mental state if it was acknowledged that the poverty and unemployment many experience is not caused by their lack of hard work or character but a product of the failures of the society they live in.
America is now one of the least socially mobile places in the western world and yet the majority of American keep believing in the myth that anything is possible.
Medical and energy costs have gone up significantly in the past 15 years.
People employed at minimum wage decreasing:
Weekly earnings rising (a bit):
Where is your data?
Number of people employed part-time, not by choice...falling:
U6 Unemployment rate...falling:
We're down to June 2008 levels, but have a ways to go before we hit December 2007 levels.
350/40 hours = 8.75/hr
Edit: Turns out it's 1984 dollars.
He also just bought a $5 million house in Ontario  - case in point that money doesn't buy happiness.
All anyone does is pay lip service to any of this. It will get far worse before it's likely to get better.
Honestly, let it come.
The male rate was already 3 times the female rate, and increased slightly more -- but because the female rate was so low to begin with, the female rate represented a 200% increase.
Out of 100,000 -- females started off at 0.5 and increased to 1.5.
Males otoh, started off at 1.5 and increased to 2.6.
1.1 (the male rate increase) is greater than 1.0 (the female rate increase).
Irresponsible reporting however, made it seem otherwise.
I couldn't shake the feeling this was to be part of a larger narrative.
Men killed themselves at about 4.5X the rate of women in the past, and at about 3.5x the rate of women now.
A somewhat related statistic is the death rate in rural America.
If we see suicide as a mental-health issue, then its just another statistic demonstrating that people are unhealthy.
Quebec has been successful in stopping the rise in rural and native youth suicides.
There seems to be a variety of possible explanations for the difference  (which is common across several countries). One of them is that cultural male gender roles make seeking help a shameful thing, so males are less likely to seek assistance for suicidal thoughts .
I suspect that it's significant that the number of suicides over age 75 for men has dropped in those 15 years. Either reflecting a better quality of life, or a change how men are able to find satisfaction post-career.
 Ok. I'm making assumptions based on "traditional" gender roles here. But given the age group in question, I feel its justified. The division between male and female roles is far more present in those over 75 than the current working generations. This will change as the population ages, and be less applicable in 20-40 more years. But it's still applicable to this group today.
For women, when their husband dies, it's almost no big deal for most of them. They just continue on with their social group, and they can live for decades.
For men, when their wife dies, they usually die very quickly after (and not usually by outright suicide either).
So far things it might be are:
1) similar levels of attempts between men and women, but with men chosing more lethal, less survivable methods
2) women talk about their emotions more and thus people spot their signs of distress earlier
3) stigma means men don't seek help
4) men just don't seek help, but not because of stigma
There's big pushes on men to get them to talk more, which is good but misses the point. There has to be some service there for them to use, and I'm not sure those services exist or are good enough. And many men are in the care of specialist mental health services when they die by suicide, so they've already asked for help.
Older people have very high rates of suicide. But it tends to be masked a bit because older people are at increased risk of death from a bunch of other causes too.
Why is the article mentioning accidents and diseases? Is it implying that these are counted as suicide? I.e. is this the same research, or a tangential discussion of some other results?
If liver disease was not considered suicide 30 years ago, but is counted a suicide, you will have a jump in the numbers.
More people dying of drug overdoses can easily be pinned on the War on Drugs, which creates an ecosystem such that only brutal criminals get to distribute drugs, and they don't care what they contain since they don't even bat an eyelash when they murder. Overdoes don't prove increasing "plight"; they more directly confirm increasing junk on the streets. Not to mention, new kinds of drugs!
> More people dying of drug overdoses can easily be pinned on the War on Drugs, which creates an ecosystem such that only brutal criminals get to distribute drugs,
Lots of US drug overdoses are people overdosing on prescribed opiates. (I agree the war on drugs has caused very great harm).
That statistic is meaningless if you don't compare it to the absolute rate for other causes of death. In the US, suicide is the second-leading cause of death* of people aged 15-34, and very high on the list for ages 10-15 and 35-54 (source: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr65/nvsr65_02.pdf, pages 18-19). "A signal of our society crumbling before our eyes", maybe not, but if the second-leading cause of death in a large age group was a bacterial disease, and it has increased by a double-digit percentage in the last decade, people would be calling that a public health emergency.
* Accidents being #1. And since accidents are, well, accidents, suicide is arguably the leading cause of death that we can meaningfully do something about.
The US uses this definition for suicide. http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/suicide/definitions.ht...
> Death caused by self-directed injurious behavior with an intent to die as a result of the behavior.
That "intent to die" part makes it hard to decide whether something was suicide or accidental death, and we know it causes some incorrect classification.
I think it is at least instructive to look at the rate; I live in a town of roughly 10,000 people. The rate translates into ~1 person here committing suicide in a year. I don't want anyone to kill themselves, but it isn't a shocking number when put in those terms.
If you're spending most of your time working to make ends meet then here is how I view the two. These are of course relative to living in a small town, not a completely rural setting.
- Large selection of fast food places
- Large selection of stores to buy material junk
- Short travel distances (likely canceled by commute times)
- 24/7 stores
- Expensive housing which forces people to rent small apartments or even rooms that prohibit social gatherings.
- Limited or no personal outdoor living area, backyard
- Expensive or non existent parking.
- No sense of community
- Limited exposure to nature and non developed areas
What I'm trying to get at is if you're simply working minimum wage or slightly above you could get the same job in a small town where you don't have to spend money to enjoy simple pleasures and the cost of living is dramatically lower. Sure you have to buy groceries when the store is open, or drive an hour to a larger town when you need a new computer but seriously I could probably list a 1000 benefits to living in a small town where there isn't a war over every morsel of land, you're more free to use your land as you wish, there are fucking trees and grass, and every move you make isn't watched.
Really hoping someone can bounce a few thoughts back on this. The city and province I live in are facing really dark times and I think this is playing a huge factor.
i say this as a libertarian -- we're going to have to come to some kind of socialist equilibrium, or else people are just going to keep eliminating themselves, quickly or slowly.
i think a lot of people just don't care if it continues.
Pooling of capital at the extreme right tail of the bell curve is accelerating, not decelerating.
Core inflation numbers do not include food or energy costs.
I may be a seize-the-means-of-production socialist, but I acknowledge that managed capitalism in its Keynesian and social-democratic forms has actually existed and actually worked. What I find weird, a kind of ideological brainwashing on whole populations, is how nobody else to my Right acknowledges this. Everyone seems to pretend that the transition in the '70s-'90s from social democracy to full neoliberalism (ie: privatization, financialization, offshoring of industries, strengthening of intellectual-property laws over the industrial power of physical producers of physical goods) was some kind of mechanistic historical inevitability, as irreversible as gravity or entropy.
The misery and suffering of our people will stop as soon as we stop considering it inevitable and remember the dozens to hundreds of things we can do about it without even having to take riskily radical measures!
A tough economy deals a blow to support structures, but it's not sufficient: Poorer countries don't have as high a suicide rate.
You have to be careful when comparing suicide rates across countries. They often don't count the same thing.
I think we're all searching for happiness. While I still haven't found what it is for me personally, I think we're all looking in the wrong place.