Krugman Doesn't Understand Why "Darkness Is Spreading Over Part Of Our Society"

Tyler Durden's picture

A rather surprising Op-Ed by none other than Paul Krugman, first posted in The New York Times,

Despair, American Style

A couple of weeks ago President Obama mocked Republicans who are “down on America,” and reinforced his message by doing a pretty good Grumpy Cat impression. He had a point: With job growth at rates not seen since the 1990s, with the percentage of Americans covered by health insurance hitting record highs, the doom-and-gloom predictions of his political enemies look ever more at odds with reality.

Yet there is a darkness spreading over part of our society. And we don’t really understand why.

There has been a lot of comment, and rightly so, over a new paper by the economists Angus Deaton (who just won a Nobel) and Anne Case, showing that mortality among middle-aged white Americans has been rising since 1999. This deterioration took place while death rates were falling steadily both in other countries and among other groups in our own nation.

Even more striking are the proximate causes of rising mortality. Basically, white Americans are, in increasing numbers, killing themselves, directly or indirectly. Suicide is way up, and so are deaths from drug poisoning and the chronic liver disease that excessive drinking can cause. We’ve seen this kind of thing in other times and places – for example, in the plunging life expectancy that afflicted Russia after the fall of Communism. But it’s a shock to see it, even in an attenuated form, in America.

Yet the Deaton-Case findings fit into a well-established pattern. There have been a number of studies showing that life expectancy for less-educated whites is falling across much of the nation. Rising suicides and overuse of opioids are known problems. And while popular culture may focus more on meth than on prescription painkillers or good old alcohol, it’s not really news that there’s a drug problem in the heartland.

But what’s causing this epidemic of self-destructive behavior?

If you believe the usual suspects on the right, it’s all the fault of liberals. Generous social programs, they insist, have created a culture of dependency and despair, while secular humanists have undermined traditional values. But (surprise!) this view is very much at odds with the evidence.

For one thing, rising mortality is a uniquely American phenomenon – yet America has both a much weaker welfare state and a much stronger role for traditional religion and values than any other advanced country. Sweden gives its poor far more aid than we do, and a majority of Swedish children are now born out of wedlock, yet Sweden’s middle-aged mortality rate is only half of white America’s.

You see a somewhat similar pattern across regions within the United States. Life expectancy is high and rising in the Northeast and California, where social benefits are highest and traditional values weakest. Meanwhile, low and stagnant or declining life expectancy is concentrated in the Bible Belt.

What about a materialist explanation? Is rising mortality a consequence of rising inequality and the hollowing out of the middle class?

Well, it’s not that simple. We are, after all, talking about the consequences of behavior, and culture clearly matters a great deal. Most notably, Hispanic Americans are considerably poorer than whites, but have much lower mortality. It’s probably worth noting, in this context, that international comparisons consistently find that Latin Americans have higher subjective well-being than you would expect, given their incomes.

So what is going on? 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 to me, 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 as a whole.

In particular, 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.

*  *  *

[ZH: One can only assume Mr. Krugman's shocking honesty at the demise of The American Dream (and even more shockingly his - and his devout followers' - admission of an inability to fix it via fiscal and monetary policies) is a modest pitch for "stuff's bad and getting worse... but vote for the good guys and at least we can all get worst together, equally."]

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
JustObserving's picture

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” 


 Upton Sinclair

Pool Shark's picture

 

 

Hey Paul, here's what you're looking for:

 

1) Debauch the currency with Keynesian Policies

2) Destroy People's Propensity to save, and mock the Concept of Delayed Gratification

3) Heavily Tax Productive Citizens

4) Subsidize Lazy, Shiftless Citizens

5) Destroy the Culture though Mass Illegal Immigration

6) Prosecute Average Citizens for Minor Crimes

7) Allow Wealthy, Well-Connected Theives to Escape Punishment

 

Any Questions?...

 

VinceFostersGhost's picture

 

 

That......that's about it.

Occident Mortal's picture

It all comes down to freedom.

 

The freer you are the longer you live. Period.

DaddyO's picture

It would seem that Mr. Krugman has again proven he is educated far beyond his intelligence...

Poor mis-guided chap.

DaddyO

Shocker's picture

Pool Shark: +1

Keep knocking down the productive class, until they are no longer productive

Job Layoff List: http://www.dailyjobcuts.com

Ghost of PartysOver's picture

Eventually it will self correct.  For inspiration there was Scotland, although it failed, now Catalonia.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/11/08/catalonia-parliament-to-vote-on-...

 

Manthong's picture

"Darkness Is Spreading Over Part Of Our Society"

That’s because the present is bleak and we face a dark future with know-nothing academic totalitarian collectivists like Krugman determining the destiny of society.

Captain Debtcrash's picture
Captain Debtcrash (not verified) Manthong Nov 9, 2015 10:47 AM

Our system incentivise people not to work, and it is part of the human condition to take the easiest path to survival.  Without that trait we would hunt lions and bear instead of deer and rabbits and this 'hard road' path would threaten survival.  But without some purpose people become depressed and there is a society starts a downward spiral.

Leopold B. Scotch's picture

Paul "Elsworth Toohey" Krguman should know damn well that Keynesian policy enables Lord Blankfein (et. al.) to collects souls.

Leopold B. Scotch's picture

Cliff Notes says:

 

Toohey is a power-seeker. In various ways, he attempts to gain control over the lives of other men. At the personal level, he acquires a legion of followers who blindly obey his every command. Toohey deceives his victims by posturing as a humanitarian, but the code he preaches — that of self-sacrifice — is utterly destructive. Under the guise of offering spiritual guidance, Toohey convinces his followers to give up the things most important in their lives — their values. He tells them that virtue lies in selflessness, in the renunciation of personal desires, and that they must exist for the sake of others. He succeeds with a number of weak-willed individuals, who then surrender the things and persons most precious to them. But when a man gives up his values, he necessarily gives up that with which he formed them — his own thinking. His life is then empty, devoid of meaning and purpose, and he is incapable of internal direction. He needs external guidance. Toohey is never too busy to give them his full attention; he is always there to tell them what to do.

At the personal level, Toohey is a cult leader of a type such as Jim Jones, David Koresh, and Sun Myung Moon. He gains a private army of unquestioning followers, some of whom occupy positions of authority. He controls the souls of various government bureaucrats, of numerous Wynand employees and of millionaires like Hopton Stoddard and Mitchell Layton. It is through and by means of his victims that Toohey — like a virus — gains survival. Because he creates and contributes nothing, Toohey can exist only as a parasite. In this regard, he is the perfect antipode to Roark's creative genius.

But Toohey's power-seeking is not limited to his cult activities. He is the one character in the story who has political goals. Toohey seeks to establish a collectivist dictatorship in America. Because he is a Marxist intellectual preaching communism to the masses, he desires to control editorial policy of the Wynand papers. With The Banner as a platform, Toohey hopes to spread the ideas necessary to establish a totalitarian state in America.

Toohey knows that a Fascist or Communist state requires a citizenry willing to obey. He can establish a dictatorship only if the majority of individuals are willing to give up personal autonomy — to surrender their minds to a leader. The Roarks of the world will not do it. But the Keatings will — in exchange for approval. Toohey understands that Keating, in order to be liked, will yield his thinking and values to others. Just as Keating fawns over professors, employers, critics — anyone in authority — so he will toady to the political leaders. Toohey's conclusion is simple: his plan requires many Keatings and no Roarks. This is the two-pronged goal that he attempts to reach: destroy the independent thinkers like Roark, and, by convincing individuals to surrender their judgment and values, turn them into followers like Keating. A dictator requires a flock of sheep; he cannot hold power over a citizenry of independent men.

Toohey has a clear vision of his role in the collectivist state. He himself is not the brute of physical force who gains dominance by unleashing a reign of terror. His role, rather, is to be the intellectual advisor behind the throne. The brute will hold physical power over the masses, and Toohey will hold spiritual power over the brute. Toohey is a behind-the-scenes puppet master, who surreptitiously wields the real power — and this will be his place in the totalitarian state he seeks.

Rex THT's picture

Imagine that not that many years ago, our forefathers overthrew the gummint over the price of some fucking tea.....How far we have fallen.

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) Rex THT Nov 9, 2015 12:35 PM

I thought awhile ago this was probably the case but things have worsened for whites

I expect to get much worse now, they won't fight, they will give up.

Gaius Frakkin' Baltar's picture

paul krugman can kiss my harry White goyim midwestern ass. FUCKING JOO FILTH.

Buzz Fuzzel's picture

When a football team can fire a university president the society is doomed.

 

Transformer's picture

"1) Debauch the currency with Keynesian Policies

2) Destroy People's Propensity to save, and mock the Concept of Delayed Gratification

3) Heavily Tax Productive Citizens

4) Subsidize Lazy, Shiftless Citizens

5) Destroy the Culture though Mass Illegal Immigration

6) Prosecute Average Citizens for Minor Crimes

7) Allow Wealthy, Well-Connected Theives to Escape Punishment

 

Any Questions?..."

 

15 comments after the above post, and no one mentions war?  Does the fact that one's country is a War Mongering country involved with genocide affect those of us with a conscience?  Do you think these endless wars may be affecting our economy, and the outlook of the common man?

JRobby's picture

Krugman was euthanized 9 months ago. What you see today is an advanced cyborg.

He and Cramer were cremated simultaneously.

Squid Viscous's picture

it produces ugly little jews, but they're all different somehow? amazing

Tarzan's picture

"With job growth at rates not seen since the 1990s, with the percentage of Americans covered by health insurance hitting record highs, the doom-and-gloom predictions of his political enemies look ever more at odds with reality."

Reading his first paragraph says it all.  Sounds eerily like 1984 Newspeak....

Krugman is confused because he ails from being "ever more at odds with reality", ever more towing the Oceania line.

Jobs are the worst seen since the 70s, but he says the jobs report accurately reflect improvement.

Healthcare Insurance amounts to nothing more then subsidizing licensed drug pushers, thus the increase in the insured has resulted in an increase in being over prescribed, not to mention suicide rates rising and big pharma reaping record profits.  Yet, he says this as a positive development we should all be happy about.

Doom and gloom looks ever more likely as each day passes. Yet Krugman claims the dooms day predictions "look ever more at odds with reality."

I have to wonder what he writes, when in his corner, out of the telescreen's view?

Endgamer's picture

Krugman has sold his soul to authoritarianism.  Manipulating the minds of the masses is the current goal.  When that fails, I doubt he'll be of much use to anyone.

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) Endgamer Nov 9, 2015 9:30 PM

Why do you think these media jews made Bruce Jenner a centerpiece.

Symbolism is important, they know this, the fucking kabbalist satanists.

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) the kings whore Nov 9, 2015 11:23 PM

Donald knows exactly what is happening in this country, he has his finger on the pulse of America.

Everything he says is soon revealed to be the absolute truth in a matter of days.

 

Four chan's picture

i checked out in 2004, i no longer pay taxes and am considering joining the in crowd and getting an ebt card so i can have filet and lobster at gibsons once a month on the suckers still foolishly supporting obama's system.

Earl Slaughter-- Truck Driver.'s picture

Dress to the nines, flash a wad, and prepare to be set-upon by a pack of the most viscious animals known to man: Gibson's is cougar-country, and gold-digger's by the tens-- happy hunting! (nice rack, btw)

JRobby's picture

Yes, they definitely are.

Continuous war has been undertaken to achieve what we have today:  a numbness that the average person now experiences concerning all of the various wars. They are also not reported by the MSM in any detail. So, out of sight out of mind sadly.

If the sheep woke up to the fact that they live in an imperialist, oligarchical, police state, they may become restless. So far, Nope.

odatruf's picture

Do you have any evidence that people would care about the condition of their lives and the world around them so long as they were fed, warm, mostly comfortable and able to watch Dancing With Stars Monday through Saturday and football on Sunday?

Sure, some would care. But do you really think the majority would? How much more obvious do the marionette strings need to be?

californiagirl's picture

Krugman should look in the mirror! It is because of loathsome morons like him trying to centrally plan all of our lives!

Vincent.Vega's picture

After 500 years, Western (i.e. Jewish) Imperialism consumed the whole planet and sucked up all the resources.

On top of that, there are simply not enough goyim slaves and technology servants to provide a lavish lifestyle to the Western Jews and their little brothers (i.e the local/aboriginal Jewish "elites") in colonies around the world:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperialism_%28Hobson%29

 

With 35 million super-rich reptiles owning 50% of the world's assets (including those mega-rich 200,000 owning 25%), Krugman knows what has happened to _them_ in the past, and that's why he's upset.

Just read on the Fall of the House of Bardi: http://www.larouchepub.com/lar/2008/3539fall_wall_st.html

 

logicalman's picture

Without Fiat, wars would be too expensive.

Taxes would have to be so high they'd be pretty much certain to lead to revolt.

Did someone mention tea?

All wars produce massive debt, the banksters life-blood.

 

Socratic Dog's picture

You're right about war.  Or I wish you were.  Truth is no one gives a shit about it in the USSA.  It's easy to not give a fuck when it's always on someone else's territory.  When it comes to America, it will be a different story.  Suddenly people will give a very very large flying fuck about war.  Look at the panic 9/11 engendered, people happily embraced the security state and the gutting of the constitution.  When real war comes....people won't deal with it too well.  But you might just find that the people who deal with it best are the ones who are the subject of this article....the downtrodden whites.

Abbie Normal's picture

If the football team roster represented the racial mix of the school, it wouldn't have been a problem.  You reap what you sow...

Arnold's picture

They be loosing skolaships soon.

Abbie Normal's picture

Looks like you could use a scholarship too -- three grammatical errors in a five-word sentence.

wee-weed up's picture

 

 

"When a football team can fire a university president the society is doomed."

Only when the team is black and the president is white.

wee-weed up's picture

Brought to you by Obama and Holder.

Abbie Normal's picture

"When a football team can fire a university president the society is doomed."

When a football coach makes more than a university president, society is doomed.

Maybe the university shouldn't have depended on the football team to generate most of their revenue.

de3de8's picture

And I don't give a fuck about myself, but my poor kids. Hope I can look over them from the other side.

Anonymous User's picture
Anonymous User (not verified) Chris Dakota Nov 9, 2015 2:47 PM

Before going in the shed with a rope everyone in that position should consider a one way trip to DC. Plenty of leftists there to take down with ya. 

Just be polite and smile casual at every cop filter, but have your trunk filled with firepower. Those weasels in DC won't know what hit them.

 

turnoffthewater's picture

Paul, listen carefully, when the people finally understand they've been conned they will rise up. Good luck and please stop with your wrong predictions.

pazmaker's picture

aint no people rising up in America,  too darn lazy apathetic and uninformed.

odatruf's picture

Rising up in a manner that harms our captors and advances freedom takes skill and planning, which there isn't any evidence exists in sufficient quantity.

Rising up to flip over your neighbors car, set the corner grocer on fire, rape your children's friends, beat the guy down the street or shout down / flash mob some televised event simply provides further content for the choreographers.

Bananamerican's picture

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his nobel prize depends on his not understanding it.”

 Krugman is just trolling here...nothing new...

The New World Order is under construction and Whitey is simply getting re-aquainted with Darwin in these nasty times.

I say to those that remain, If "we" can't wise up the trend is not our friend.

Put down the bottle, pipe and straw, turn off the tv,

communicate with your wife and kids......Get 'Amish'

I hate to say this but: "support your own kind"

the time is past when whitey had the luxury to hate everyone including their own kind...

Unfortunately, we need to start "sticking together".

The world after our world is an undifferentiated brown blob of borderless, cashless, cultureless, genderless, godless drones overseen by A.I. and the "Eye of Sauron'

See what you can do to monkeywrench that

 

 

odatruf's picture

One's kind is irrelevant; their sort matters a great deal.

Come on man, don't feed into the self division. Bring on the undifferentiated brown blob so long as they can think and care about their neighbors and surroundings.

JRobby's picture

So, you like him?

He is actually a cyborg. So.....

John_Coltrane's picture

Beautiful quotes from the greatest political/philospohical thinker of the the last century, Ayn Rand.

To summarize Ayn's philosphy to those too lazy and intellecturally deficient to read the original source: (e.g. LTER)

"Man defines the meaning of his life through his work"

Ergo, Krugman, no work, no creativity, no imagination, no purpose,  no meaning!  Might as well become worm food and recycle those atoms.

And yet Krugman continues to live.

Manthong's picture

Well, at least your children can come out as homosexual or transgender in middle school now and the boys can use the girl’s bathroom.

Next step.. grade school..

It’s time for my morning drink.

pods's picture

Heard a blurb on the radio this morning about a 6 year old switching teams and the teacher got fired for making a stink about it.

pods