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Mon Nov 9, 2015, 11:22 AM

KRUGMAN: Despair, American Style: Mortality-linked to Despair & Volatility of Right Wing Politics

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Basically, white Americans are, in increasing numbers, killing themselves... Suicide is way up, and so are deaths from drug poisoning and ... drinking... But what’s causing this epidemic of self-destructive behavior?...

In a recent interview Mr. Deaton suggested that middle-aged whites have “lost the narrative of their lives.” That is, their economic setbacks have hit hard because they expected better. Or to put it a bit differently, we’re looking at people who were raised to believe in the American Dream, and are coping badly with its failure to come true.

That sounds like a plausible hypothesis..., but the truth is that we don’t really know why despair appears to be spreading across Middle America. But it clearly is, with troubling consequences for our society...

I know I’m not the only observer who sees a link between the despair reflected in those mortality numbers and the volatility of right-wing politics. Some people who feel left behind by the American story turn self-destructive; others turn on the elites they feel have betrayed them. No, deporting immigrants and wearing baseball caps bearing slogans won’t solve their problems, but neither will cutting taxes on capital gains. So you can understand why some voters have rallied around politicians who at least seem to feel their pain.

At this point you probably expect me to offer a solution. But while universal health care, higher minimum wages, aid to education, and so on would do a lot to help Americans in trouble, I’m not sure whether they’re enough to cure existential despair.

the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/09/opinion/despair-american-style.htmlhttp://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2015/11/paul-krugman-despair-american-style.html

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Reply KRUGMAN: Despair, American Style: Mortality-linked to Despair & Volatility of Right Wing Politics (Original post)
kpete Nov 2015 OP
ananda Nov 2015 #1
PatrickforO Nov 2015 #2
kpete Nov 2015 #3

Response to kpete (Original post)

Mon Nov 9, 2015, 11:24 AM

1. So, the problem and the solution don't match.

This is so typical.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Mon Nov 9, 2015, 11:38 AM

2. You always post thoughtful stuff.

As a male in my late fifties I have seen lots of stuff in my life. I have struggled with finding purpose. Basically, we're born naked and broke. If we are lucky, we are raised by a loving family. If we are even more lucky, that family has enough. If we are incredibly lucky, we get a good education.

And then we work for fifty years.

Toward the end of this time, many of us come down with awful wasting diseases that twist our bodies in agonizing pain.

The medical establishment keeps us alive long enough to suck up most of our estate so that when we die we leave this earth broke and naked just like we came in.

So where is the purpose, kpete? For me, it is found in love for my family, and in devotion to a cause greater than myself.

And kittens. I love kittens. All you have to do is see a kitten and you forget about life for awhile.

That said, many in my generation feel bitterly betrayed and very angry. When we were all on the playground as kids the expectation was that we would get as much education as we could and then work somewhere for 25 or 30 years and then retire. The underlying social contract was that if we did this, played this game, then we'd have enough.

But this neoliberal capitalism of deregulation, privatization and gutting social programs, along with so-called 'free trade' treaties that cause millions of good jobs to be 'offshored,' has basically fucked us over. And the politicians say they feel our pain, but proceed to promote policies that make our lives worse. For decades now, the corporate propaganda coming out of the corporate-owned mass media has told us it is raining when the reality is they are pissing down our backs.

Why do so many old white guys have this angst, you ask? It is because when we COULD have systems that make this world a great place, a place of abundance, we have instead made it a shit hole.

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Response to PatrickforO (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 9, 2015, 11:51 AM

3. Family & kittens!

YES!

and dogs too!

but, yes to your major point

many in my generation feel bitterly betrayed and very angry.

unfortunately, we do not seem to understand the bottom line:

PEOPLE DO HAVE THE POWER

People Have the Power


I was dreaming in my dreaming
of an aspect bright and fair
and my sleeping it was broken
but my dream it lingered near
in the form of shining valleys
where the pure air recognized
and my senses newly opened
I awakened to the cry
that the people / have the power
to redeem / the work of fools
upon the meek / the graces shower
it's decreed / the people rule

The people have the power
The people have the power
The people have the power
The people have the power

Vengeful aspects became suspect
and bending low as if to hear
and the armies ceased advancing
because the people had their ear
and the shepherds and the soldiers
lay beneath the stars
exchanging visions
and laying arms
to waste / in the dust
in the form of / shining valleys
where the pure air / recognized
and my senses / newly opened
I awakened / to the cry

Refrain

Where there were deserts
I saw fountains
like cream the waters rise
and we strolled there together
with none to laugh or criticize
and the leopard
and the lamb
lay together truly bound
I was hoping in my hoping
to recall what I had found
I was dreaming in my dreaming
god knows / a purer view
as I surrender to my sleeping
I commit my dream to you

Refrain

The power to dream / to rule
to wrestle the world from fools
it's decreed the people rule
it's decreed the people rule
LISTEN
I believe everything we dream
can come to pass through our union
we can turn the world around
we can turn the earth's revolution
we have the power
People have the power .
..





I truly believe
People Have The Power
we simply choose NOT to use it.
so sad.

peace,
kp

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