Monday, March 7, 2016

The deteriorating era

I attended a concert the other night. Donovon Woods opened for Matt Anderson. I was surprised how few young people were there.

That struck me, particularly as I was with my son, and then today I received a link to the following article from my father - the writer of a post on an historically edgier blog I have, After the boom - what?

From the Guardian, Revealed: the 30-year economic betrayal dragging down Generation Y’s income:
A combination of debt, joblessness, globalisation, demographics and rising house prices is depressing the incomes and prospects of millions of young people across the developed world, resulting in unprecedented inequality between generations.
...Where 30 years ago young adults used to earn more than national averages, now in many countries they have slumped to earning as much as 20% below their average compatriot. Pensioners by comparison have seen income soar.

...It is likely to be the first time in industrialized history, save for periods of war or natural disaster, that the incomes of young adults have fallen so far when compared with the rest of society.
The full article at the Guardian will not be the only article on the topic as the site promises, "For the next fortnight the Guardian will delve into the fortunes, feelings and finances of the developed world’s young adults, as well as looking at fallacies surrounding them."

The Guardian can be an outlier on stories, but this particular one slots in with other outlier stories that probably should get greater press. Stories, it seems to me, of the results of a growing alienation felt by an increasing number of people.

Last November the New York Times published Death Rates Rising for Middle-Aged White Americans, Study Finds:
Something startling is happening to middle-aged white Americans. Unlike every other age group, unlike every other racial and ethnic group, unlike their counterparts in other rich countries, death rates in this group have been rising, not falling.
...rising annual death rates among this group are being driven not by the big killers like heart disease and diabetes but by an epidemic of suicides and afflictions stemming from substance abuse:alcoholic liver disease and overdoses of heroin and prescription opioids.
And just this week a report, Maternal mortality rates rising in US, stunting global maternal health progress:
The overall global maternal mortality rate (MMR) may be dropping, but the decline is slowed in part by a surprising rise in rates in the developed world. In the United States, the rate of mothers dying from complications in pregnancy and birth is increasing. The rate seems inconsistent with modern medical and technological advances. Maternal mortality rates should be steadily dropping, especially in the developed world, yet the statistics suggest that something is wrong with current models of public health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States’ MMR went from 7.2 per 100,000 births in 1987 to 17.8 in 2011, more than doubling the rate of maternal mortality.
Something is happening here. I'm in my fifth decade of paying some attention to current affairs and have never heard of a decline in key health statistics, such as as life expectancy and maternal mortality rates.

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