May 01, 2012
All The Wrong People Are Killing Themselves

Decent article here about the link between the financial crisis and suicide. As you might expect, suicide rates have risen since 2008, and they are highest in those countries hit hardest by the recession, like Greece. They are up ten percent in Britain. It’s just one more symptom of the poisonous dysfunction at the root of our system, just one more entry in the catalogue of horrors our civilization is creating. Like all the others, it will inspire nothing more than a tired yawn in all of those most responsible for the problem. It certainly won’t be discussed at the World Economic Forum next year at Davos, Switzerland.

“Suicide,” the author declares, “starts to seem a strangely rational measure of life’s cheapness in a monetized society — people’s logical response to a loss of control over their destinies.”

That sounds about right, although I would argue that that condition prevails at all times and in all places. I’ve always quibbled with the notion that people who kill themselves are crazy. I think the opposite is true. They are the rational ones. Those of us who choose to stick around are the ones who need to have our heads examined!

Nevertheless, assuming that widespread suicide is indicative of some deep, underlying social pathology, how will American elites respond to it? That’s too easy, isn’t it? We know exactly what they’d do. The would respond to it the same way they respond to all human suffering, tough shit. There are winners and losers in life. They were the losers. They couldn’t hack it so they offed themselves. Big deal. Not my problem. Now shut up and cut my taxes.

If anything, they would use it to affirm their own superiority. In the Darwinian scramble for survival, they, the CEOs, bankers, hedge fund managers, trust fund babies, and rich heiresses have proven themselves to be the strong. To hell with all the rest. Screw ‘em if they can’t take a joke. Those poor dumb bunnies who put bullets in their heads should have learned how to become better thieves. It’s not our fault they couldn’t adapt.

It would probably be worse than that. I can see the topic being discussed on Fox News right now. Some right-wing boy wonder, barely old enough to shave, would inform us that suicide actually helps the remaining workers. “It decreases the labor supply, which leads to higher wages.” All of the Fox News blondes would twitter with glee at the profundity of this new soundbite, and the wicked Charles Krauthammer, ensconced in his wheelchair like Dr. Stangelove, would rub his hands together and nod his sinister agreement.

Meanwhile, in serious presidential circles, Mitt Romney would shrug his shoulders and wonder, “Why didn’t they borrow twenty grand from their parents and start a business?”

This is from the suicide note of one Dimitris Christoulas, who publicly killed himself in Athens:

I see no other solution than this dignified end to my life, so I don’t find myself fishing through garbage cans for my sustenance. I believe that young people with no future, will one day take up arms and hang the traitors of this country at Syntagma square, just like the Italians did to Mussolini in 1945.

All the wrong people are killing themselves.


Posted by OHollern at May 01, 2012 08:09 PM
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I so agree.

I thought of exactly that when I read that poor (poor!) man's reason for killing himself.

Many of us will reach similar times if our "leaders" continue to protect the strong and steal from the weak.

I know I'm thinking of a number of names of those who should be on that list.

And I'm a nonviolent activist.

Posted by: Suzan on May 1, 2012 10:35 PM

In the panic of 1837, Emerson wrote in his journal "the land stinks with suicide." This comment came from a book recommended to me: "Born Losers: A History of Failure in America". The book chronicles not the chronically lazy or drunkards, it chronicles good men who went down because of an economic system. At some point you would think someone would start questioning the system and how we might make it better. Don't count on a solution coming from the top. They aren't astute enough. It must come from all of the forgotten men and women in America who must work to reform it. Count on those at the top continuing to be happy with, as Emerson described it, this stinking land. I think he should have come right out and called out the economic system as what stinks.

Posted by: Superfluous Man on May 2, 2012 12:20 PM
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