Anne Case and Angus Deaton: Deaths of despair and the future of capitalism.

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Author: Pia Orrenius
Date: July 2021
From: Business Economics(Vol. 56, Issue 3)
Publisher: Springer
Document Type: Book review
Length: 755 words
Lexile Measure: 1400L

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Anne Case and Angus Deaton: Deaths of despair and the future of capitalism

Princeton University Press, 2020

Life expectancy in the USA has fallen in recent years, dramatically reversing a nearly 100-year streak of continuously rising longevity. The life expectancy decline is uniquely American, unseen in other wealthy countries and concentrated almost entirely among the white working class. In Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism, Anne Case and Angus Deaton lay the blame for rising mortality squarely on more deaths of despair, a category that includes suicide, drug overdose and alcoholism. These deaths have been rising among prime-aged, less-educated whites since the late 1990s.

What has driven the white working class toward self-destruction? The book highlights several adverse trends that it argues have beset this group in recent years. Stagnant wages and rising income inequality lead the list. But the authors go on to describe social developments, such as waning church attendance and falling marriage rates, and economic distress more broadly, including the decline of unions, loss of manufacturing jobs and the rising cost of health care. A lack of good prospects, in other words, has...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A673455240