Thursday, March 23, 2017

The "Russian Problem" Comes Here

The Brookings Institution has published a study by two Princeton economists looking at rising morbidity rates for whites who have no more than a high school diploma. These are rising nearly nationwide, reflecting substance abuse, liver cirrhosis and suicide.

What strikes me is that the individuals in question are experiencing the same loss of hope that Russians experienced in the post-Soviet era, and in both cases the life expectancy is falling. Perhaps this should be expected.

Our coastal elites were complicit in off-shoring the good jobs these individuals depended upon for a decent life. Now people in China, India, Bangladesh, and Korea do those manufacturing jobs.

Meanwhile our academically challenged-or-disinterested fellow citizens find the remaining service employment pays little and provides no security. Their labor force participation rates continue to decline as do their marriage rates.
Not only are educational differences in mortality among whites increasing, but mortality is rising for those without, and falling for those with, a college degree. This is true for non-Hispanic white men and women in all age groups from 25-29 through 60-64.
The same phenomenon is not happening in Europe, they report. I would add it is happening in Russia. I think of it echoing in those famous lines from On The Waterfront.
I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it.
Russians feel that way, so do non-college whites in today's U.S. Both remember they once had hope and pride. Perhaps loss-of-optimism should be identified by the CDC as an epidemiological factor.