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Don't forget 'deaths of despair'

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By Jay Ambrose

The number is 150,000. That's roughly how many Americans ― mostly middle-aged, working-class white men and women ― succumb to "deaths of despair" in the United States each year.

The causes are suicide, alcohol and drugs tracing back to lack of jobs, low wages and the dissolution of family and church. The number could turn out to be greater than the coronavirus deaths, but, thanks to the pandemic, social distancing and the virtual shutdown of America, the despair could grow.

It was economists who first discovered that here was a major social group whose longevity was decreasing. That was contrary to what was going on all over the world where life expectancy had been going up for just about everyone in developed and even most undeveloped countries. Life expectancy, while still higher for black and Hispanic Americans, declined enough to make the life expectancy numbers show a decline for Americans as a whole.

What mostly deprived these people of the opportunities of old was an increasingly automated........

© The Korea Times