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Why Is America So Depressed? (nytimes.com)
19 points by paulpauper 8 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 17 comments

Today, I’m CNC milling copper bow ties from recycled bus bar that supplied power to a Granite City steel mill arc furnace for decades. I’m hoping the homeless black lady I’ve been slowly easing into doing finishing and shipping shows up. People fetishize this Americana industrial stuff and pay good money for positive emotional coloring. You know, the exact opposite of what you get from the NYT.

Yes, exactly!

The NYT is deeply in a funk, obviously. But some of us (who hold more conservative values) are pretty much the opposite. It's wrong of the NYT to try to speak for everyone.

It's as easy as prioritizing reporting on the world that exist as it is, rather than reporting a world that doesn't exist in order to create the world that they want. At the same time, we have a tradition of grandiloquent socialist exaggeration leading to long overdue reform of our largely conservative society.

So we're fucked and you have to be pretty aware and insightful in order to get any real sense of what the hell is going on, both good and bad. It's the joy and the horror of democracy, markets, and people.

> "from 2016 to 2017, the proportion of adults who described themselves as more anxious than the previous year was 36 percent"

Note this is not the same as the real increase in anxiety from 2016 to 2017, nor is there evidence to suggest this is a good proxy for it. In fact the only good evidence cited for an increase in something, is suicide from 1999 to 2017. But clicking through to the study shows a steady increase during that entire 18-year period, which makes the following seem ridiculous:

Right now the first 5 or so "recommended" comments are commenters blaming Trump for the rise in depression. That is simply implausible to me. Sure, he might plausibly be a symptom of such a rise in the past 2 decades, but I don't think average Americans go through their day-to-day worrying about how the actions of their president might negatively affect their lives. A bad manager at work, relationship troubles, financial stress, or any number of "smaller" issues would be much more likely to cause that.

Indeed, and the election of a character like Trump seems like a symptom rather than a cause of depression.

The #1 culprit IMHO is isolation. Everything about our culture, urban planning, and economy seems optimized for maximum isolation. The reason is simple: people say they want it. This is an area of profound disconnect between what people say they want and what actually makes people happy.

Second up is economics. The US economy has been hollowed out. Unless you are in a few industries (tech, finance, upper management, high end sales and marketing, doctors, some lawyers) you are looking at dead end jobs with low pay and poor benefits. High earners are not immune either. Most high earning jobs are concentrated in a few large cities with consequentially outrageous real estate costs. A lot of your earnings are eaten by the "law of rent."

There are other causes too but I think those are the largest.

I think isolation is great if you have everything going great in your life: great job, great apartment both close to a city center where you can go out to have fun and meet other people, and have great health.

The problem is that when economy or your health gets worse, you start to depend on your family and friends more. In a culture where isolation is norm, I can imagine that it takes lot of time and effort to reverse the trend.

You wouldn’t be isolated with the apartment you described.

Money can't buy you happiness, and marshmallows ain't the same thing.

The reason why America is so depressed can be summed up with one word: Capitalism

Capitalism and greed is baked into our culture. It's everyone for themselves, and everyone is trying to get their own slice of the pie.

You know what really sucks? You spend your whole life busting your butt in a 9-5 job, saving every penny you can for retirement. You finally retire at the age of 65, only to realize that you are no longer healthy enough to do all the things you wanted to do (travel the world, etc).

I'm so so so tired of working all the time just to get by. I honestly feel like America has just replaced slavery with indentured servitude, and corporations are the new masters.

Having a 9-5 job and retiring at 65 are dreams come true for most of the world. Even under an alternative to capitalism you will probably have to get up and go to work. Socialism isn’t another word for trust fund.

Because people don’t understand they should be saving up in their dead-end job so they can start their own business

So that they can start their own dead-end business?

See your begging the question, NYT; raise you Betteridge's Law => https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betteridge%27s_law_of_headline...

"No" is not a proper response to a "why" headline.

As in: rejecting the premise utterly.

Stupid comment with a hint of truth: because we’re constantly exposed to shit that makes us feel bad. News, social media, and the like all keeps us focused to how awful things are. Sensationalized news that won’t stfu about one off, incredibly rare events and works to make us think that IT COULD HAPPEN TO US AT ANY MINUTE.

We are constantly told what our friends and neighbors think about subjects that we care deeply about, that results is us hating them for thinking differently than us.

I personally am also exposed to the uninformed’s opinions on subjects in which I have 30 years of study. Their opinions are completely bogus, and they won’t even attempt to listen and learn something. Continually pisses me off.

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