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Sat Sep 22, 2012, 05:11 PM


The fruits of neoliberalism: Declining life expectancy for some

When Majid Ezzati thinks about declining life expectancy, he says, “I think of an epidemic like HIV, or I think of the collapse of a social system, like in the former Soviet Union.” But such a decline is happening right now in some parts of the United States.

Between 1983 and 1999, men’s life expectancy decreased in more than 50 U.S. counties, according to a recent study by Ezzati, associate professor of international health at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), and colleagues. For women, the news was even worse: life expectancy decreased in more than 900 counties—more than a quarter of the total.

This means 4 percent of American men and 19 percent of American women can expect their lives to be shorter than or, at best, the same length as those of people in their home counties two decades ago.

The United States no longer boasts anywhere near the world’s longest life expectancy. It doesn’t even make the top 40. In this and many other ways, the richest nation on earth is not the healthiest. Ezzati’s finding is unsettling on its face, but scholars find further cause for concern in the pattern of health disparities. Poor health is not distributed evenly across the population, but concentrated among the disadvantaged...Disparities in health tend to fall along income lines everywhere: the poor generally get sicker and die sooner than the rich. But in the United States, the gap between the rich and the poor is far wider than in most other developed democracies, and it is getting wider.


Where female life expectancy is falling/increasing (red = down, blue = up):

Uneducated white women's lifespan falls (now shorter than their black counterparts)

For generations of Americans, it was a given that children would live longer than their parents. But there is now mounting evidence that this enduring trend has reversed itself for the country’s least-educated whites, an increasingly troubled group whose life expectancy has fallen by four years since 1990.

The steepest declines were for white women without a high school diploma, who lost five years of life between 1990 and 2008, said S. Jay Olshansky, a public health professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the lead investigator on the study, published last month in Health Affairs. By 2008, life expectancy for black women without a high school diploma had surpassed that of white women of the same education level, the study found.


Life Expectancy for Rural Women Declining

Two recent studies on life expectancies in the United States reveal troubling trends for many rural areas. As an advanced industrialized nation, you might assume life expectancies in the U.S. would increase and improve from generation to generation. But two studies show cracks in that assumption and neither is good news for rural communities.

Both of these reports have significant implications for services and policies in rural areas.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report Growing Disparities in Life Expectancy published in April 2008, finds those at lower levels of income and educational attainment experiencing declining or stagnant life expectancies.

A Harvard School of Public Health study – The Reversal of Fortunes: Trends in County Mortality and Cross-County Mortality Disparities in the United States, also published in April 2008 – is more striking. It finds that in nearly 1,000 mostly rural counties, life expectancies for women are now lower than or essentially the same as in the early 1980s. That means that life expectancies for women in nearly one-third of American counties did not increase for the first time since 1918.


Similar trends overseas:

Marked Fall in Last 10 Years Life Expectancy Shrinks for Germans on Low Incomes

Life expectancy for people on a low income is shorter than it was a decade ago... those on low earnings could expect to live an average of 77.5 years in 2001 but only 75.5 years in 2010. The former communist east of Germany saw an even more dramatic decline in life expectancy among those on low earnings. In the east, life expectancy shrank from 77.9 years to 74.1 years over the decade to 2010...The trend towards a longer retirement, therefore, only applies to those with average or above-average earnings. The report also showed an increasing tendency for low-income groups to keep on working beyond 60...


Couple points:

1. That the situation in germany (& other developed parts of europe) mirrors the situation in the US tells me it ain't about access to healthcare, the explanation that's always trotted out in the US. Low-income germans have good access to healthcare. It's the rising inequality, stupid.

2. Raising the age limits to collect SS is increasingly discriminatory against low-income workers. It's apparently only the top of the income distribution which is seeing increased longevity.

3. In 2008 us life expectancy overall actually dropped:

Life Expectancy in the U.S. Drops for First Time Since 1993, Report Says

Based on data from 2008, the latest available, life expectancy in the U.S. fell 36.5 days from 2007 to 77.8 years, according to the report released today. Life expectancy is calculated by taking the death rates from the U.S. population in a specific year and figuring out the average number of years remaining for a person born in 2008.


IMO so long as the current economic crisis goes on we will continue to see declining life expectancy, not only among the poor, but on average.

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Reply The fruits of neoliberalism: Declining life expectancy for some (Original post)
HiPointDem Sep 2012 OP
kestrel91316 Sep 2012 #1
HiPointDem Sep 2012 #2
Wednesdays Sep 2012 #3
me b zola Sep 2012 #4
Skidmore Sep 2012 #5
HiPointDem Sep 2012 #9
WinkyDink Sep 2012 #10
HiPointDem Sep 2012 #11
LondonReign2 Sep 2012 #6
HiPointDem Sep 2012 #8
Cobalt Violet Sep 2012 #7

Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 05:36 PM

1. The Bible Belt is deadly for women.


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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #1)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 05:38 PM

2. It wasn't in earlier decades when those women participated in generally rising life expectancy.


The bible belt is deadly today because of rising inequality & because it starts out poorer than other areas to boot.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 06:18 PM

3. Mostly in Red states south of the Ohio River

Quelle surprise.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 06:32 PM

4. I made this prediction during the bush* regime

We are poisoning our environment and food/water supply.
People are working longer hours, are under incredible stress and have less access to health care.

I'm sure that I'm not the only one that saw this coming our way. Reaganomics, the filth that keeps on giving...and taking.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 06:38 PM

5. "neoliberalism"--a three-dollar retread for the "free market economy" pushed by

conservatives when the fallout got too toxic for the right wing. Neoliberalism is a weasel word.

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Response to Skidmore (Reply #5)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 07:39 PM

9. not really, though.


The term “neoliberalism” was coined in 1938 by the German scholar Alexander Rüstow at the Colloque Walter Lippmann. The colloquium defined the concept of neoliberalism as “the priority of the price mechanism, the free enterprise, the system of competition and a strong and impartial state.”

To be “neoliberal” meant that “laissez-faire” liberalism is not enough and that - in the name of liberalism - a modern economic policy is required.

After the colloquium “neoliberalism” became a label for several academical approaches such as the Freiburg school, the Austrian School or the Chicago school of economics.


The liberalism in 'neoliberalism' is a reference to classical economic liberalism, not new-deal style social liberalism.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #9)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 07:46 PM

10. "Laissez-faire" is not a part of American Liberalism, let alone "not enough".


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Response to WinkyDink (Reply #10)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 07:48 PM

11. what's 'american liberalism'?


Classical liberalism is a political ideology, a branch of liberalism which advocates individual liberties and limited government under the rule of law and stresses economic freedom.[1][2]

Classical liberalism (note: defined in political terms) developed in the 19th century in Europe and the United States. Although classical liberalism built on ideas that had already developed by the end of the 18th century, it advocated a specific kind of society, government and public policy as a response to the Industrial Revolution and urbanization.[3] Notable individuals whose ideas have contributed to classical liberalism include John Locke[4], Jean-Baptiste Say, Thomas Malthus and David Ricardo. It drew on the economics of Adam Smith and on a belief in natural law[5], utilitarianism[6], and progress....

In the United States, liberalism took a strong root because it had little opposition to its ideals, whereas in Europe liberalism was opposed by many reactionary interests. In a nation of farmers, especially farmers whose workers were slaves, little attention was paid to the economic aspects of liberalism. But, as America grew, industry became a larger and larger part of American life; and, during the term of America's first populist president, Andrew Jackson, economic questions came to the forefront.

The economic ideas of the Jacksonian era were almost universally the ideas of classical liberalism. Freedom was maximised when the government took a "hands off" attitude toward industrial development and supported the value of the currency by freely exchanging paper money for gold. The ideas of classical liberalism remained essentially unchallenged until a series of depressions, thought to be impossible according to the tenets of classical economics, led to economic hardship from which the voters demanded relief. In the words of William Jennings Bryan, "You shall not crucify the American farmer on a cross of gold."

Despite the common recurrence of depressions, classical liberalism remained the orthodox belief among American businessmen until the Great Depression.[39] The Great Depression saw a sea change in liberalism, leading to the development of modern liberalism....


What's called 'liberalism' in the US today is a product of the new deal -- strong state + social welfare programs.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 07:18 PM

6. Looks remarkably like the Electoral Map


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Response to LondonReign2 (Reply #6)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 07:32 PM

8. not really.


red & blue counties

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 07:20 PM

7. They won't be happy until it's back down to neolithic levels for the poor. n/t

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