Capitalism is a Curse: “American Suicide & What Trump Isn’t Doing About It”

Also see:

Addiction and OD: Another side of being an American:

American life expectancy falling rapidly as opioid overdoses continue to skyrocket

A study by the University of South Carolina looked at drug overdose death rates among eighteen high income countries. They found that Americans are 3.5 times more likely to die of an overdose. Compared to seventeen other developed nations, the U.S. is now a decade behind in life expectancy, all because of overdose deaths. The rapid increase in overdose deaths has reduced life expectancy in America by 2.6 years.

“The United States is experiencing a drug overdose epidemic of unprecedented magnitude, not only judging by its own history but also compared to the experiences of other high-income countries,” said study author Jessica Ho, assistant professor at USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. “For over a decade now, the United States has had the highest drug overdose mortality among its peer countries.”

Quote from the following article:

According to a 2018 Centers for Disease Control study, between 1999 and 2016, the suicide rate increased in every state in the union except Nevada, which already had a remarkably high rate. In 30 states, it jumped by 25 percent or more; in 17, by at least a third. Nationally, it increased 33percent. In some states the upsurge was far higher: North Dakota (57.6 percent), New Hampshire (48.3 percent), Kansas (45 percent), Idaho (43 percent).

Alas, the news only gets grimmer.

Since 2008, suicide has ranked 10th among the causes of death in this country. For Americans between the ages of 10 and 34, however, it comes in second; for those between 35 and 45, fourth. The United States also has the ninth-highest rate in the 38-country Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Globally, it ranks 27th.

More importantly, the trend in the United States doesn’t align with what’s happening elsewhere in the developed world. The World Health Organization, for instance, reports that Great Britain, Canada, and China all have notably lower suicide rates than the U.S., as do all but six countries in the European Union. (Japan’s is only slightly lower.)

World Bank statistics show that, worldwide, the suicide rate fell from 12.8 per 100,000 in 2000 to 10.6 in 2016. It’s been falling in China, Japan (where it has declined steadily for nearly a decade and is at its lowest point in 37 years), most of Europe, and even countries like South Korea and Russia that have a significantly higher suicide rate than the United States. In Russia, for instance, it has dropped by nearly 26 percent from a high point of 42 per 100,000 in 1994 to 31 in 2019…

Here is your ‘exceptional light on a hill’, your ‘ American Dream’, Mr and Ms Suicidal America. Everywhere you look today, THE TRUTH is beginning to expose your ‘American Dream’ for the NIGHTMARE it is. Everything you have been indoctrinated with since childhood, has been either an elaborate manipulation or an outright baldfaced lie. ‘The American Dream’, for the vast majority of Americans and the rest of humanity, is, and has always been, a seemingly never-ending nightmare.

President Eisenhower, in his last speech in office (January, 1961), warned of this possible hell on earth, as did President Kennedy a few years later, and the Anglo-Zionist pigs assassinated him.

There is a reason why more and more Americans are either addicted to psychotropic drugs, or are committing suicide; there is no real life worth living to be experienced in this corporate-capitalist menagerie/hellhole. Continually chasing after money, and the ‘toys’ it can buy, is no way to live: work, consume, go in debt, and then work more, consume-more, and then go in debt more, etc, etc, is not living, it is, instead, EXISTING in your own personal hell.

Thus, your life, Mr and Ms Exceptionally-Fucked-Up America, has been a meaningless chasing after the wind, an EXISTENCE (as opposed LIFE), THE AMERICAN NIGHTMARE. So go ahead, drink up, or shoot-up, and then pull the trigger or slice the wrist, so you won’t have to EXIST in this inbred capitalist-pig-concocted hell anymore. Or… you can choose to wake the hell up, and turn away from this bullshit EXISTENCE, and then seek REAL LIFE instead. It’s your choice.

American Suicide & What Trump Isn’t Doing About It

July 8, 2019

It’s an epidemic with life-and-death significance for a pivotal portion of Trump’s base, but the president has paid no attention to the way it is afflicting U.S. civilians, writes Rajan Menon.

By Rajan Melon
TomDispatch.com

We hear a lot about suicide when celebrities such as Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade die by their own hand. Otherwise, it seldom makes the headlines. That’s odd given the magnitude of the problem.

In 2017, 47,173 Americans killed themselves. In that single year, in other words, the suicide count was nearly seven times greater than the number of American soldiers killed in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars between 2001 and 2018.

A suicide occurs in the United States roughly once every 12 minutes. What’s more, after decades of decline, the rate of self-inflicted deaths per 100,000 people annually — the suicide rate — has been increasing sharply since the late 1990s. Suicides now claim two-and-a-half times as many lives in this country as do homicides, even though the murder rate gets so much more attention.

In other words, we’re talking about a national epidemic of self-inflicted deaths.

Suicide prevention sign and phone on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, 2006. (Guillaume Paumier, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Worrisome Numbers

Anyone who has lost a close relative or friend to suicide or has worked on a suicide hotline (as I have) knows that statistics transform the individual, the personal, and indeed the mysterious aspects of that violent act — Why this person? Why now? Why in this manner? — into depersonalized abstractions. Still, to grasp how serious the suicide epidemic has become, numbers are a necessity.

According to a 2018 Centers for Disease Control study, between 1999 and 2016, the suicide rate increased in every state in the union except Nevada, which already had a remarkably high rate. In 30 states, it jumped by 25 percent or more; in 17, by at least a third. Nationally, it increased 33percent. In some states the upsurge was far higher: North Dakota (57.6 percent), New Hampshire (48.3 percent), Kansas (45 percent), Idaho (43 percent).

Alas, the news only gets grimmer.

Since 2008, suicide has ranked 10th among the causes of death in this country. For Americans between the ages of 10 and 34, however, it comes in second; for those between 35 and 45, fourth. The United States also has the ninth-highest rate in the 38-country Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Globally, it ranks 27th.

More importantly, the trend in the United States doesn’t align with what’s happening elsewhere in the developed world. The World Health Organization, for instance, reports that Great Britain, Canada, and China all have notably lower suicide rates than the U.S., as do all but six countries in the European Union. (Japan’s is only slightly lower.)

World Bank statistics show that, worldwide, the suicide rate fell from 12.8 per 100,000 in 2000 to 10.6 in 2016. It’s been falling in China, Japan (where it has declined steadily for nearly a decade and is at its lowest point in 37 years), most of Europe, and even countries like South Korea and Russia that have a significantly higher suicide rate than the United States. In Russia, for instance, it has dropped by nearly 26 percent from a high point of 42 per 100,000 in 1994 to 31 in 2019.

We know a fair amount about the patterns of suicide in the United States. In 2017, the rate was highest for men between the ages of 45 and 64 (30 per 100,000) and those 75 and older (39.7 per 100,000).

The rates in rural counties are almost double those in the most urbanized ones, which is why states like Idaho, Kansas, New Hampshire, and North Dakota sit atop the suicide list. Furthermore, a far higher percentage of people in rural states own guns than in cities and suburbs, leading to a higher rate of suicide involving firearms, the means used in half of all such acts in this country.

There are gender-based differences as well. From 1999 to 2017, the rate for men was substantially higher than for women — almost four-and-a-half times higher in the first of those years, slightly more than three-and-a-half times in the last.

Education is also a factor. The suicide rate is lowest among individuals with college degrees. Those who, at best, completed high school are, by comparison, twice as likely to kill themselves. Suicide rates also tend to be lower among people in higher-income brackets.

The Economics of Stress

This surge in the suicide rate has taken place in years during which the working class has experienced greater economic hardship and psychological stress. Increased competition from abroad and outsourcing, the results of globalization, have contributed to job loss, particularly in economic sectors like manufacturing, steel, and mining that had long been mainstays of employment for such workers. The jobs still available often paid less and provided fewer benefits.

Technological change, including computerization, robotics, and the coming of artificial intelligence, has similarly begun to displace labor in significant ways, leaving Americans without college degrees, especially those 50 and older, in far more difficult straits when it comes to finding new jobs that pay well. The lack of anything resembling an industrial policy of a sort that exists in Europe has made these dislocations even more painful for American workers, while a sharp decline in private-sector union membership — down from nearly 17 percent in 1983 to 6.4 percent today — has reduced their ability to press for higher wages through collective bargaining.

Furthermore, the inflation-adjusted median wage has barely budged over the last four decades (even as CEO salaries have soared). And a decline in worker productivity doesn’t explain it: between 1973 and 2017 productivity increased by 77 percent, while a worker’s average hourly wage only rose by 12.4 percent. Wage stagnation has made it harder for working-class Americans to get by, let alone have a lifestyle comparable to that of their parents or grandparents.

The gap in earnings between those at the top and bottom of American society has also increased — a lot. Since 1979, the wages of Americans in the 10th percentile increased by a pitiful 1.2 percent. Those in the 50th percentile did a bit better, making a gain of 6 percent. By contrast, those in the 90th percentile increased by 34.3 percent and those near the peak of the wage pyramid — the top 1 percent and especially the rarefied 0.1 percent — made far more substantial gains.

And mind you, we’re just talking about wages, not other forms of income such as large stock dividends, expensive homes, or eyepopping inheritances. The share of net national wealth held by the richest 0.1 percent increased from 10 percent in the 1980s to 20 percent in 2016. By contrast, the share of the bottom 90 percent shrank in those same decades from about 35 percent to 20 percent. As for the top 1 percent, by 2016 its share had increased to almost 39percent.

The precise relationship between economic inequality and suicide rates remains unclear, and suicide certainly can’t simply be reduced to wealth disparities or financial stress. Still, strikingly, in contrast to the United States, suicide rates are noticeably lower and have been declining in western European countries where income inequalities are far less pronounced, publicly funded healthcare is regarded as a right (not demonized as a pathway to serfdom), social safety nets far more extensive, and apprenticeships and worker retraining programs more widespread.

Evidence from the United States, Brazil, Japan, and Sweden does indicate that, as income inequality increases, so does the suicide rate. If so, the good news is that progressive economic policies — should Democrats ever retake the White House and the Senate — could make a positive difference. A study based on state-by-state variations in the U.S. found that simply boosting the minimum wage and Earned Income Tax Credit by 10 percent appreciably reduces the suicide rate among people without college degrees.

(Paul Sableman via Flickr)

The entire article, sources and links can be found here:

Source: American Suicide & What Trump Isn’t Doing About It

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