Austerity Leads to Suicide Rate Increase

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Friday’s Vancouver Sun had a short item that you might have missed, “Suicides up, road deaths down due to recession.” It’s in the bottom corner of page B5:

Suicides rates rose sharply in Europe in 2007 to 2009 as the financial crisis drove unemployment up and squeezed incomes, with the worst hit countries like Greece and Ireland seeing the most dramatic increases, researchers said Thursday. But rates of road deaths in the region fell during the same period, possibly because higher numbers of jobless people led to lower car use, according to an initial analysis of data from 10 European Union countries.

via Suicides up, road deaths down due to recession.

If one were to extrapolate from this data, one could hypothesize that as more harsh “austerity” measures – including pay cuts and fewer public services in addition to even higher unemployment – are imposed on the Greek people, that the suicide rate will grow even higher.

One might further speculate that, if such severe punishment is also imposed on Spain, Portugal, and other countries which are in economic difficulties, that the suicide rates will increase there as well.

Many economists, including Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, argue that savage cuts to these countries will only make their economies worse, and inflict more pain on their populations.

On the other hand, the “good” side of the story is that, “rates of road deaths in the region fell during the same period, possibly because higher numbers of jobless people led to lower car use.

Even better, the speculators (gamblers) who have bought the Greek and Irish bonds will get their money back.

And to top it off, the “royal” couple is having SUCH a good time as they visit Los Angeles to party with other “celebrities”!

Isn’t it great to have some good news once in a while?

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Peter Prontzos

Peter Prontzos immigrated to Canada as a Vietnam War resister. In addition to working for peace (he was a member of Vancouver’s “Peace and Justice Committee”), his priorities are the environmental and social justice. He ran twice for the NDP. Prontzos has written for The Globe & Mail, the Georgia Straight, and the Vancouver Sun, among others, and is working on a book about the human condition. He teaches political science at Langara College.

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3 thoughts on “Austerity Leads to Suicide Rate Increase”

  1. Glad you found the post helpful, Julie. And of course, the suicides are just the most dramatic sign of how much suffering is being imposed on people.
    This economic system is, as my cousin put it, a “pathocracy”.

  2. this is a perfect example of the uncalculated costs of the current economic model. I’m conducting a public hunger strike to bring some more awareness to issues like these, based out of victoria, BC but mostly through the internet.

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