Sunday, March 22, 2020

Anne Case & Angus Deaton

Anne Case and Angus Deaton's new book is Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism.

From their interview with Abraham Gutman at The Philadelphia Inquirer:

What drives deaths of despair? Is it simply just economic downturns?

Case: Current economic conditions can’t explain this. It might not just be the loss of a paycheck or that you can’t get as good a job as the one you lost, but that without a good job, you can’t get married or have a stable home life, your community is falling apart, your sense of connection with other people is gone.

The return on having gone to college has skyrocketed, while simultaneously the wages of people who did not go to college started to decline.

[Looking at the opioid crisis] we think that the scourge of oxycodone just being handed out in jelly jars — it would have been a serious problem, but the fact that they were falling into a community that was looking for a way to numb itself made the drug epidemic much, much worse.

You write that despair is tied to the kind of job someone has, and the sense of belonging the comes with it, not just the earnings.

Deaton: I grew up in Scotland, we were not very well off. For ordinary people, people who are not very well-educated, getting a job with a large company was just a wonderful thing. Even if it was really menial, like...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue