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From Bloomberg:

Americans Are Dying Younger, Saving Corporations Billions

Life expectancy gains have stalled. The grim silver lining? Lower pension costs

By John Tozzi
August 8, 2017, 1:00 AM PDT

As commenter Anonym implores:

Ask not what your GDP can do for you, ask what you can do for your GDP!

 
    []
  1. Anonym says:

    Ask not what your GDP can do for you, ask what you can do for your GDP!

    Read More
    • Replies: @Olorin
    From the halcyon days of Democrats signing NAFTA, and as much as I hate to give this site clicks:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1995/10/if-the-gdp-is-up-why-is-america-down/415605/


    By the curious standard of the GDP, the nation's economic hero is a terminal cancer patient who is going through a costly divorce. The happiest event is an earthquake or a hurricane. The most desirable habitat is a multibillion-dollar Superfund site. All these add to the GDP, because they cause money to change hands. It is as if a business kept a balance sheet by merely adding up all “transactions,” without distinguishing between income and expenses, or between assets and liabilities.

    The perversity of the GDP affects virtually all parts of society. In 1993 William J. Bennett, who had been the Secretary of Education in the Reagan Administration, produced a study of social decline. He called it “The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators,” a deliberate counterpoint to the Commerce Department's similarly named regular economic report. His objective was to detail the social erosion that has continued even as the nation's economic indicators have gone up.

    The strange fact that jumps out from Bennett's grim inventory of crime, divorce, mass-media addiction, and the rest is that much of it actually adds to the GDP. Growth can be social decline by another name. Divorce, for example, adds a small fortune in lawyers' bills, the need for second households, transportation and counseling for kids, and so on. Divorce lawyers alone take in probably several billion dollars a year, and possibly a good deal more. Divorce also provides a major boost for the real-estate industry. “Unfortunately, divorce is a big part of our business. It means one [home] to sell and sometimes two to buy,”a realtor in suburban Chicago told the Chicago Tribune. Similarly, crime has given rise to a burgeoning crime-prevention and security industry with revenues of more than $65 billion a year. The car-locking device called The Club adds some $100 million a year to the GDP all by itself, without counting knock-offs. Even a gruesome event like the Oklahoma City bombing becomes an economic uptick by the strange reckonings of the GDP. “Analysts expect the share prices [of firms making anti-crime equipment] to gain during the next several months,” The Wall Street Journal reported a short time after the bombing, “as safety concerns translate into more contracts.”
     

    , @Jack D
    It's a catchy slogan, but it's completely wrong.

    If instead of OD'ing before pension age, you spend the last 10 years of your life in an expensive nursing home and the last 3 months in the ICU, you INCREASE the GDP. Bigtime. Of course if your employer is paying for all this, he might not like it. But fewer and fewer people (aside from government employees) have the kind of "defined benefit" pensions where the employer is liable to keep paying no matter how much it costs. The Bloomberg article mentions a handful of big, unionized companies that still offer those kind of unlimited pensions - Verizon, Lockheed, GM. Most Americans no longer work for these corporate giants. Your employer pays a certain amount into your 401(k) and when that runs out, you are on your own, buddie. Although arguably employers are paying anyway through higher taxes.

    It should have been

    Ask not what corporate profits can do for you, ask what you can do for corporate profits!
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
    AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
    These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
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  2. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    Morality aside, it’s only “saving” corporations money in a fictional accounting sense if they are adjusting their pension assumptions based on overall life expectancies. Unless there’s been an uptick in overdoses and suicides among retired Lockheed Martin engineers, Lockheed Martin is still going to have to pay their pension payments.

    Read More
    • Replies: @George
    Search on:
    mortality table site:burypensions.wordpress.com

    for a discussion of scamming with mortality tables.
    , @Old Jew
    Additional Info:



    Lockheed Martin To Freeze Pension Plan For U.S.-Based Salaried Employees

    Introduces Enhanced Company Contributions to Retirement Program

    BETHESDA, Md., July 1, 2014 – Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] announced today that it will freeze its salaried defined benefit pension plan and transition employees to an enhanced defined contribution retirement plan. The change will take effect in a two-step approach, beginning on January 1, 2016 with the freeze of pay-based benefits and concluding with the freeze of service-based benefits on January 1, 2020. The company expects that the plan will be fully frozen effective January 1, 2020.

    When the freeze is complete, the majority of Lockheed Martin salaried employees, including approximately 25,000 not in the pension plan, will have transitioned to a retirement plan that offers up to 10 percent of employees’ salary annually in company contributions.

    While the salaried pension plan was closed to new participants in 2006, approximately 48,000 employees of Lockheed Martin’s 113,000 employees are participating. An additional 250,000 retirees and former employees are in the plan.
  3. Wilkey says:

    What are the leading hypotheses to explain why this is happening? It seems to be happening only among whites, and only in America. Is it loneliness and isolation, divorce, stalled economic prospects, drug and alcohol abuse, what?

    If diversity is supposed to be a benefit it’s interesting to note that this mostly only seems to be happening in America, the most diverse white majority country of all. It also doesn’t help that the age group doing the worst is the one where feminism first took hold. It must really suck to be a white man hitting middle age only to find that your wife is a selfish piece of $!#/ thanks to feminism.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dearieme
    "It seems to be happening ... only in America." No. Britain too. Maybe others?

    "What are the leading hypotheses to explain why this is happening?" I imagine that all you'll see to begin with are lazy assumptions paraded as explanations. That's what we get in the British papers.

    Anyway, here's one of my conjectures. The decline in the epidemic of middle-aged heart attack deaths of men has run its course: heart attacks are now mainly just another way of killing geezers. That decline has contributed to lengthening life spans but the decline has now effectively ceased. I'll bet that's part of the story but whether it's a substantial part I have no idea.

    If I were looking for explanations in a critical, sceptical, non-gullible way, I might look at reported causes of death, but I would remember that the causes reported are much poorer quality data than the fact of death.
    , @Autochthon
    I'll never forget the glorious day my wife defiantly proclaimed "I am NOT a feminist" to one of them. It was like the mirror image of Eddie Murphy's famous bit about his hypothetical, unspoiled, African bride being corrupted by American harridans. I never loved her more, and she was never more feminine than in that moment.
    , @Desiderius
    Pretty common behavior among a newly conquered populace.
  4. Olorin says:
    @Anonym
    Ask not what your GDP can do for you, ask what you can do for your GDP!

    From the halcyon days of Democrats signing NAFTA, and as much as I hate to give this site clicks:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1995/10/if-the-gdp-is-up-why-is-america-down/415605/

    By the curious standard of the GDP, the nation’s economic hero is a terminal cancer patient who is going through a costly divorce. The happiest event is an earthquake or a hurricane. The most desirable habitat is a multibillion-dollar Superfund site. All these add to the GDP, because they cause money to change hands. It is as if a business kept a balance sheet by merely adding up all “transactions,” without distinguishing between income and expenses, or between assets and liabilities.

    The perversity of the GDP affects virtually all parts of society. In 1993 William J. Bennett, who had been the Secretary of Education in the Reagan Administration, produced a study of social decline. He called it “The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators,” a deliberate counterpoint to the Commerce Department’s similarly named regular economic report. His objective was to detail the social erosion that has continued even as the nation’s economic indicators have gone up.

    The strange fact that jumps out from Bennett’s grim inventory of crime, divorce, mass-media addiction, and the rest is that much of it actually adds to the GDP. Growth can be social decline by another name. Divorce, for example, adds a small fortune in lawyers’ bills, the need for second households, transportation and counseling for kids, and so on. Divorce lawyers alone take in probably several billion dollars a year, and possibly a good deal more. Divorce also provides a major boost for the real-estate industry. “Unfortunately, divorce is a big part of our business. It means one [home] to sell and sometimes two to buy,”a realtor in suburban Chicago told the Chicago Tribune. Similarly, crime has given rise to a burgeoning crime-prevention and security industry with revenues of more than $65 billion a year. The car-locking device called The Club adds some $100 million a year to the GDP all by itself, without counting knock-offs. Even a gruesome event like the Oklahoma City bombing becomes an economic uptick by the strange reckonings of the GDP. “Analysts expect the share prices [of firms making anti-crime equipment] to gain during the next several months,” The Wall Street Journal reported a short time after the bombing, “as safety concerns translate into more contracts.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Autochthon
    No mention of GDP per capita. Shocking.
    , @Lurker
    It's the flip-side of Broken Windows.

    Also didn't a Victorian economist exhort gentlemen not to marry their housekeepers because it would reduce GDP?
  5. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    I have a feeling that the people with the highest pensions will manage to hang around the longest.

    Companies had pretty much closed them by around 2000 to new employees and wrapped them up a few years later.

    There are exceptions, of course.

    Like Dave said …. if it isn’t that company’s pensioners that are dying off, applying a national based table isn’t going to help them. IBM has one of the largest plans. Not to many small town flyover state pensioners in that group.

    Now Social Security? Still going to be a bias toward the lower payouts living longer, but it will show up.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Olorin

    I have a feeling that the people with the highest pensions will manage to hang around the longest.
     
    Higher incomes result in higher pensions.

    Higher incomes result from genetic arrays that correlate positively/directly with longevity.

  6. Olorin says:
    @Anon
    I have a feeling that the people with the highest pensions will manage to hang around the longest.

    Companies had pretty much closed them by around 2000 to new employees and wrapped them up a few years later.

    There are exceptions, of course.

    Like Dave said .... if it isn't that company's pensioners that are dying off, applying a national based table isn't going to help them. IBM has one of the largest plans. Not to many small town flyover state pensioners in that group.

    Now Social Security? Still going to be a bias toward the lower payouts living longer, but it will show up.

    I have a feeling that the people with the highest pensions will manage to hang around the longest.

    Higher incomes result in higher pensions.

    Higher incomes result from genetic arrays that correlate positively/directly with longevity.

    Read More
  7. MC says:

    The Year: 2035

    The average American’s life expectancy has dropped by 10 years.

    The Wall Street Journal publishes article after article from Harvard/MIT/Chicago economics professors about how “bloated” defined contribution pensions unfairly allow workers to set aside money tax-free that they won’t even use in retirement, passing it on to their spoiled heirs instead. Wouldn’t it be better to have a much cheaper form of de facto retirement insurance, where your employer would take care of you until you die six months after retirement? Think of all the costly 401k matching funds that could be saved for faithful shareholders!

    Read More
  8. Doesn’t it make you feel all warm and fuzzy?

    It goes along with the now long-established change from “personnel” to “human resources.”

    Persons live lives. Resources have shelf lives.

    Hey people: This is how our Globalist-Elitist overlords see us. They run our countries; they pick our leaders, and they don’t give a damn about us. We are cattle.

    Read More
  9. dearieme says:
    @Wilkey
    What are the leading hypotheses to explain why this is happening? It seems to be happening only among whites, and only in America. Is it loneliness and isolation, divorce, stalled economic prospects, drug and alcohol abuse, what?

    If diversity is supposed to be a benefit it's interesting to note that this mostly only seems to be happening in America, the most diverse white majority country of all. It also doesn't help that the age group doing the worst is the one where feminism first took hold. It must really suck to be a white man hitting middle age only to find that your wife is a selfish piece of $!#/ thanks to feminism.

    “It seems to be happening … only in America.” No. Britain too. Maybe others?

    “What are the leading hypotheses to explain why this is happening?” I imagine that all you’ll see to begin with are lazy assumptions paraded as explanations. That’s what we get in the British papers.

    Anyway, here’s one of my conjectures. The decline in the epidemic of middle-aged heart attack deaths of men has run its course: heart attacks are now mainly just another way of killing geezers. That decline has contributed to lengthening life spans but the decline has now effectively ceased. I’ll bet that’s part of the story but whether it’s a substantial part I have no idea.

    If I were looking for explanations in a critical, sceptical, non-gullible way, I might look at reported causes of death, but I would remember that the causes reported are much poorer quality data than the fact of death.

    Read More
    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/08/alarming-rise-in-early-deaths-of-young-adults-in-the-north-of-england-study

    http://jech.bmj.com/content/71/9/928

    (Lots of figures here to have a go at - be interesting to see the sex breakdown.


    What on earth happened to Britain in 1997? Oh yes, that fuddy-duddy old Conservative government got thrown out in a landslide, and new, hip, down-with-the-kids Tony Blair moved into number 10.

    Looking at the figures, deaths of 25-34 year olds increased slowly between 1985 and 1995 in both North and South (heroin epedemic and binge drinking?), at which point death rates were very similar. After 1996 death rates rose sharply in the North, but continued the long-term decline in the South.

    , @Jack D
    For white men (only) in the US not only have death rates stopped declining but they are actually going UP. This kind of increase happens in places like the late Soviet Union where people have nothing to look forward to and so drink or drug themselves to death. Despair and lack of hope is a cause of death more potent than clogged arteries. If you can't see this happening you must not be looking very hard. Hillary Clinton couldn't see it either but Donald Trump could.
  10. jim jones says:

    Cigarettes save the UK nearly £15 billion a year:

    https://order-order.com/2017/08/07/smoking-good-us/

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Alarmist
    Yeah, but I saw a show last night where the customs force raided a store to ferret out and protect Britain from what they characterised as "dangerous" counterfeit cigarettes. Ungrateful bas***ds!
  11. There’s a theory about how susceptibility to addiction is an inherited condition:

    That small percentage of the population really hooked on alcohol and narcotics are not weak, flawed, or sociopaths. They are patients with a brain chemical receptor disease that turns intense organic-driven “seeking” behaviors into ruined lives.

    Brain receptors are locks that open chemical channels in the brain with fitted keys called “ligands.” Something is clearly wrong with the key and lock system in the brain of those “addicted.” These abnormal opioid receptors are incapable of desensitization; what we call “down regulation.” They remain far too sensitive to opioids. Once the opioid chemical ligand is inserted into the receptor “lock,” the door opens and the person experiences euphoria and less pain. The “addicted person” has far more euphoria than would the 97 percent of people who take narcotics and alcohol without the disease. We shall call this brain receptor problem “Chemical Receptor Disease” (CRD) replacing the term Chemical Dependency (implying dependent personalities). This failure to regulate receptors and quiet them down in the face of high ligand levels inside the biochemistry of the brain is a disease – CRD.

    Uncontrolled euphoria

    Euphoria is normal. Our bodies normally make our own opioids called endorphins. We make these when we exercise regularly. This is why we feel good after a workout. Runners are grouchy if they don’t run for four or five days, experiencing withdrawal. The endorphin opioids, drive us to continue exercising. If we had receptor dysfunction or CRD, we might want to exercise 10 times a day.

    Unfortunately other opioid ligands can unlock the receptors as well, like heroin, OxyContin, Percocet, Fentanyl, and Morphine. What makes heroin group ligands different is they are dealing with hyperactive receptors and worse are presenting the receptors with huge numbers of keys or ligands. The euphoria is unimaginable. The drive to maintain this level of euphoria can be unstoppable. The failure of the brain to modulate or down regulate, as the biochemists would say, is probably inherited and present for life.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dearieme
    Inherited? Are you some kind on Nazi Republican Trumpist fascist?
    , @Jack D
    This makes a lot of sense to me. On the occasions when I've had to take opioids after surgery, etc. I experience little euphoria (constipation - yes) and when I stopped I had no cravings. They just did nothing for me. I just don't have what it takes to be an addict.
    , @ic1000
    I just returned Sam Quinones' Dreamland to the library; this book has been discussed a few times at iSteve due to the connection of pill mills and Mexican black tar heroin to the White Death. Quinones is that rare bird, a leftwing journalist who writes both honestly and intelligently.

    You quote from Dr. Thomas Kline's recent Op-Ed in the Charlotte NC News-Observer, The myth that prescriptions caused the opioid crisis. Kline's lackadaisical attitude towards the risk of abuse from prescribed opiates is exactly what Quinones highlighted as the first essential step in the country's plunge into mass addiction and skyrocketing overdose deaths. (The second was the success of the integrated retail-delivery, customer-service-focused model used by heroin distribution networks based in Nayarit, Mexico.)

    Kline parrots a number of fun facts that happen to be wrong.


    Out of 100 people taking pain medicine, only a very few, perhaps three or four, will develop an addiction.
     
    An untruth promoted by Purdue Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of OxyContin. Details in "Dreamland."

    Well-meaning people confuse the doctor’s prescribing with the increased opioid (narcotic) death rate by thinking prescription drugs lead to heroin. This is not true. They may be both involved but causation has not been shown in carefully designed studies. Deaths from narcotic overdoses usually involve multiple, non-prescribed, street drugs, not pain medicines prescribed by caring doctors.
     
    Mostly wrong, and misleading to the extent it's true.

    Doctors are not contributing to “addictions.”
     
    Dr. Kline need not read Quinones, a Google DuckDuckGo search for "pill mills" should be sufficient.

    That small percentage of the population really hooked on alcohol and narcotics are... patients with a brain chemical receptor disease that turns intense organic-driven “seeking” behaviors into ruined lives. [followed by the rest of the text you quote]
     
    It's true that there are multiple alleles for all of the opiate receptors, and that the risk of addiction is partly a function of the individual's DNA makeup. What is that "small" percentage of the population that's highly vulnerable to addiction -- Kline's implied 3%-4%? 20%? 75%? Kline doesn't have a clue, because cutting-edge researchers don't (yet) know.

    Physicians with Kline's attitudes and (presumably) prescribing habits have played major facilitating roles in the current opiate abuse epidemic.

    , @Bill

    That small percentage of the population really hooked on alcohol and narcotics are not weak, flawed, or sociopaths. They are patients with a brain chemical receptor disease that turns intense organic-driven “seeking” behaviors into ruined lives.
     
    They have a brain chemical receptor disease which makes them alcoholics. But they're not flawed.
    , @StillCARealist
    So is the solution to make drugs really hard to get? If they're going to destroy some lives, and make the lives of their loved ones a sort of hell, then we should really crack down on the illegal and illegally obtained drugs. Also we should make the prescribed painkillers closely monitored and have strict accountability.

    I think this used to be the approach.
    , @Grace Jones
    > They are patients with a brain chemical receptor disease that turns intense organic-driven “seeking” behaviors into ruined lives.

    But no such thing has ever been demonstrated. So they don't diagnose addiction by testing peoples' brain chemical receptors. They define addiction by what people do, or don't do. At present, if they actually did test peoples' brain chemical receptors, it would show that not all people with supposedly bad brain chemical receptors respond that way. This is really just a pseudo-scientific smokescreen to help them pretend to be scientific.
  12. @jim jones
    Cigarettes save the UK nearly £15 billion a year:

    https://order-order.com/2017/08/07/smoking-good-us/

    Yeah, but I saw a show last night where the customs force raided a store to ferret out and protect Britain from what they characterised as “dangerous” counterfeit cigarettes. Ungrateful bas***ds!

    Read More
    • Replies: @Grace Jones
    Then they have the gall to try to blame smokers for high health costs, based on pretending that others paid costs paid by smokers, such as lost wages, and that non-smokers' costs don't exist at all (e.g. the CDC's SAMMEC).
  13. People with relatively good pensions aren’t dying as fast as might be hoped; fortunately Obamacare gave one more good reason to also end retiree health benefits.

    Read More
  14. dearieme says:
    @Johann Ricke
    There's a theory about how susceptibility to addiction is an inherited condition:

    That small percentage of the population really hooked on alcohol and narcotics are not weak, flawed, or sociopaths. They are patients with a brain chemical receptor disease that turns intense organic-driven “seeking” behaviors into ruined lives.

    Brain receptors are locks that open chemical channels in the brain with fitted keys called “ligands.” Something is clearly wrong with the key and lock system in the brain of those “addicted.” These abnormal opioid receptors are incapable of desensitization; what we call “down regulation.” They remain far too sensitive to opioids. Once the opioid chemical ligand is inserted into the receptor “lock,” the door opens and the person experiences euphoria and less pain. The “addicted person” has far more euphoria than would the 97 percent of people who take narcotics and alcohol without the disease. We shall call this brain receptor problem “Chemical Receptor Disease” (CRD) replacing the term Chemical Dependency (implying dependent personalities). This failure to regulate receptors and quiet them down in the face of high ligand levels inside the biochemistry of the brain is a disease – CRD.

    Uncontrolled euphoria

    Euphoria is normal. Our bodies normally make our own opioids called endorphins. We make these when we exercise regularly. This is why we feel good after a workout. Runners are grouchy if they don’t run for four or five days, experiencing withdrawal. The endorphin opioids, drive us to continue exercising. If we had receptor dysfunction or CRD, we might want to exercise 10 times a day.

    Unfortunately other opioid ligands can unlock the receptors as well, like heroin, OxyContin, Percocet, Fentanyl, and Morphine. What makes heroin group ligands different is they are dealing with hyperactive receptors and worse are presenting the receptors with huge numbers of keys or ligands. The euphoria is unimaginable. The drive to maintain this level of euphoria can be unstoppable. The failure of the brain to modulate or down regulate, as the biochemists would say, is probably inherited and present for life.
     

    Inherited? Are you some kind on Nazi Republican Trumpist fascist?

    Read More
  15. @dearieme
    "It seems to be happening ... only in America." No. Britain too. Maybe others?

    "What are the leading hypotheses to explain why this is happening?" I imagine that all you'll see to begin with are lazy assumptions paraded as explanations. That's what we get in the British papers.

    Anyway, here's one of my conjectures. The decline in the epidemic of middle-aged heart attack deaths of men has run its course: heart attacks are now mainly just another way of killing geezers. That decline has contributed to lengthening life spans but the decline has now effectively ceased. I'll bet that's part of the story but whether it's a substantial part I have no idea.

    If I were looking for explanations in a critical, sceptical, non-gullible way, I might look at reported causes of death, but I would remember that the causes reported are much poorer quality data than the fact of death.

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/08/alarming-rise-in-early-deaths-of-young-adults-in-the-north-of-england-study

    http://jech.bmj.com/content/71/9/928

    (Lots of figures here to have a go at – be interesting to see the sex breakdown.

    What on earth happened to Britain in 1997? Oh yes, that fuddy-duddy old Conservative government got thrown out in a landslide, and new, hip, down-with-the-kids Tony Blair moved into number 10.

    Looking at the figures, deaths of 25-34 year olds increased slowly between 1985 and 1995 in both North and South (heroin epedemic and binge drinking?), at which point death rates were very similar. After 1996 death rates rose sharply in the North, but continued the long-term decline in the South.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    There was an article about binge drinking in England recently that seemed to narrow it down especially to the 1997-2010 coming of age generation, without mentioning what was going on politically.
  16. My first thought on reading your headline about America’s patriotic junkies was to think of the young men volunteering to serve in the US armed forces. Many will die or their lives will be shortened as a result. The suicide rate is probably several times the national average, too.
    All to serve as cannon fodder for endless Neocon-inspired conflicts. You would have to be some sort of blinkered patriotic idiot to volunteer.

    Read More
    • Replies: @E. Rekshun
    Many will die or their lives will be shortened as a result.

    If they don't get killed "over there," then when they exit the military too many become a ward of the state due to their active duty injuries. Or, at least, receive a relatively low-dollar monthly "annuity" for back pain. Out of ten friends, coworkers, and acquaintances that have served since Desert Storm, they're all collecting $300+ per month for back pain to supplement their earnings from whatever regular civilian job they're now doing. Multiply this by 100,000.
  17. @YetAnotherAnon
    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/08/alarming-rise-in-early-deaths-of-young-adults-in-the-north-of-england-study

    http://jech.bmj.com/content/71/9/928

    (Lots of figures here to have a go at - be interesting to see the sex breakdown.


    What on earth happened to Britain in 1997? Oh yes, that fuddy-duddy old Conservative government got thrown out in a landslide, and new, hip, down-with-the-kids Tony Blair moved into number 10.

    Looking at the figures, deaths of 25-34 year olds increased slowly between 1985 and 1995 in both North and South (heroin epedemic and binge drinking?), at which point death rates were very similar. After 1996 death rates rose sharply in the North, but continued the long-term decline in the South.

    There was an article about binge drinking in England recently that seemed to narrow it down especially to the 1997-2010 coming of age generation, without mentioning what was going on politically.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wilkey
    "There was an article about binge drinking in England recently that seemed to narrow it down especially to the 1997-2010 coming of age generation, without mentioning what was going on politically."

    Is it any wonder that the very demo (whites, men particularly) that has been told repeatedly that it doesn't matter (in various ways - multicult, pc, feminism, immigration, diversity, etc) - begins to act like it doesn't matter? Some demographic groups have low standards (e.g., blacks), some have high stand ads (e.g., Asians). Whites seem caught in the middle. We can't even rely on "conservative" politicians to make the case for us. George W Bush was awful and Mitt Romney has proven himself a complete douchebag since he secured the GOP nomination back in 2012. There are a lot of things not to like about Trump, but to me his greatest strength is that he doesn't feel the need to apologize for where he stands.
  18. @Wilkey
    What are the leading hypotheses to explain why this is happening? It seems to be happening only among whites, and only in America. Is it loneliness and isolation, divorce, stalled economic prospects, drug and alcohol abuse, what?

    If diversity is supposed to be a benefit it's interesting to note that this mostly only seems to be happening in America, the most diverse white majority country of all. It also doesn't help that the age group doing the worst is the one where feminism first took hold. It must really suck to be a white man hitting middle age only to find that your wife is a selfish piece of $!#/ thanks to feminism.

    I’ll never forget the glorious day my wife defiantly proclaimed “I am NOT a feminist” to one of them. It was like the mirror image of Eddie Murphy’s famous bit about his hypothetical, unspoiled, African bride being corrupted by American harridans. I never loved her more, and she was never more feminine than in that moment.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Autochthon
    Oh, and, Umfufu aside: is not the effect also occurring among European females? I had thiught it was. Of course, in many ways feminism is even more harmful to females than males.
  19. @Autochthon
    I'll never forget the glorious day my wife defiantly proclaimed "I am NOT a feminist" to one of them. It was like the mirror image of Eddie Murphy's famous bit about his hypothetical, unspoiled, African bride being corrupted by American harridans. I never loved her more, and she was never more feminine than in that moment.

    Oh, and, Umfufu aside: is not the effect also occurring among European females? I had thiught it was. Of course, in many ways feminism is even more harmful to females than males.

    Read More
  20. Jack D says:
    @Anonym
    Ask not what your GDP can do for you, ask what you can do for your GDP!

    It’s a catchy slogan, but it’s completely wrong.

    If instead of OD’ing before pension age, you spend the last 10 years of your life in an expensive nursing home and the last 3 months in the ICU, you INCREASE the GDP. Bigtime. Of course if your employer is paying for all this, he might not like it. But fewer and fewer people (aside from government employees) have the kind of “defined benefit” pensions where the employer is liable to keep paying no matter how much it costs. The Bloomberg article mentions a handful of big, unionized companies that still offer those kind of unlimited pensions – Verizon, Lockheed, GM. Most Americans no longer work for these corporate giants. Your employer pays a certain amount into your 401(k) and when that runs out, you are on your own, buddie. Although arguably employers are paying anyway through higher taxes.

    It should have been

    Ask not what corporate profits can do for you, ask what you can do for corporate profits!

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonym
    I'm not going to argue any of this. I was shooting for catchy, general anti-Economist/WSJ/globalist, and maybe even provoking of some introspection/guilt in those people - if those vampires have the smallest atrophied remnant of some sort of pride in nation or heart.

    And I was honored to have it quoted by Steve so mission accomplished from my perspective.
  21. @Olorin
    From the halcyon days of Democrats signing NAFTA, and as much as I hate to give this site clicks:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1995/10/if-the-gdp-is-up-why-is-america-down/415605/


    By the curious standard of the GDP, the nation's economic hero is a terminal cancer patient who is going through a costly divorce. The happiest event is an earthquake or a hurricane. The most desirable habitat is a multibillion-dollar Superfund site. All these add to the GDP, because they cause money to change hands. It is as if a business kept a balance sheet by merely adding up all “transactions,” without distinguishing between income and expenses, or between assets and liabilities.

    The perversity of the GDP affects virtually all parts of society. In 1993 William J. Bennett, who had been the Secretary of Education in the Reagan Administration, produced a study of social decline. He called it “The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators,” a deliberate counterpoint to the Commerce Department's similarly named regular economic report. His objective was to detail the social erosion that has continued even as the nation's economic indicators have gone up.

    The strange fact that jumps out from Bennett's grim inventory of crime, divorce, mass-media addiction, and the rest is that much of it actually adds to the GDP. Growth can be social decline by another name. Divorce, for example, adds a small fortune in lawyers' bills, the need for second households, transportation and counseling for kids, and so on. Divorce lawyers alone take in probably several billion dollars a year, and possibly a good deal more. Divorce also provides a major boost for the real-estate industry. “Unfortunately, divorce is a big part of our business. It means one [home] to sell and sometimes two to buy,”a realtor in suburban Chicago told the Chicago Tribune. Similarly, crime has given rise to a burgeoning crime-prevention and security industry with revenues of more than $65 billion a year. The car-locking device called The Club adds some $100 million a year to the GDP all by itself, without counting knock-offs. Even a gruesome event like the Oklahoma City bombing becomes an economic uptick by the strange reckonings of the GDP. “Analysts expect the share prices [of firms making anti-crime equipment] to gain during the next several months,” The Wall Street Journal reported a short time after the bombing, “as safety concerns translate into more contracts.”
     

    No mention of GDP per capita. Shocking.

    Read More
  22. Jack D says:
    @Johann Ricke
    There's a theory about how susceptibility to addiction is an inherited condition:

    That small percentage of the population really hooked on alcohol and narcotics are not weak, flawed, or sociopaths. They are patients with a brain chemical receptor disease that turns intense organic-driven “seeking” behaviors into ruined lives.

    Brain receptors are locks that open chemical channels in the brain with fitted keys called “ligands.” Something is clearly wrong with the key and lock system in the brain of those “addicted.” These abnormal opioid receptors are incapable of desensitization; what we call “down regulation.” They remain far too sensitive to opioids. Once the opioid chemical ligand is inserted into the receptor “lock,” the door opens and the person experiences euphoria and less pain. The “addicted person” has far more euphoria than would the 97 percent of people who take narcotics and alcohol without the disease. We shall call this brain receptor problem “Chemical Receptor Disease” (CRD) replacing the term Chemical Dependency (implying dependent personalities). This failure to regulate receptors and quiet them down in the face of high ligand levels inside the biochemistry of the brain is a disease – CRD.

    Uncontrolled euphoria

    Euphoria is normal. Our bodies normally make our own opioids called endorphins. We make these when we exercise regularly. This is why we feel good after a workout. Runners are grouchy if they don’t run for four or five days, experiencing withdrawal. The endorphin opioids, drive us to continue exercising. If we had receptor dysfunction or CRD, we might want to exercise 10 times a day.

    Unfortunately other opioid ligands can unlock the receptors as well, like heroin, OxyContin, Percocet, Fentanyl, and Morphine. What makes heroin group ligands different is they are dealing with hyperactive receptors and worse are presenting the receptors with huge numbers of keys or ligands. The euphoria is unimaginable. The drive to maintain this level of euphoria can be unstoppable. The failure of the brain to modulate or down regulate, as the biochemists would say, is probably inherited and present for life.
     

    This makes a lot of sense to me. On the occasions when I’ve had to take opioids after surgery, etc. I experience little euphoria (constipation – yes) and when I stopped I had no cravings. They just did nothing for me. I just don’t have what it takes to be an addict.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Autochthon
    I think the biochemistry is not entirely generalisable: I am the same as you with regard to opioids, but I quit booze a long time ago when I realised I was entirely too prone to drink to excess.

    I think we must not unwisely make addiction a bifurcated thing; whollly biochemical or wholly behavioural (just as both genes and environments shape people together). It'd true some of us are more vulnerable ro addiction, and things addictive to one may not be to another; it's also true we must recognise the phenomenon in ourselves and take measures accordingly, getting professional medical help if need be. Many medical conditions are genetic wholly or in part – cancers, cardiac problems, etc. – but that only behooves the susceptible and afflicted to be that much more careful and to do as their physicians say. Being allergic to wheat makes life a pain in the ass, and bread is tasty; but if one is allergic to the stuff, it's no use eating it and then denying reponsibility for the resulting anaphylaxis by declaiming "woe is me; a victim of my cursed genes!"
  23. ic1000 says:
    @Johann Ricke
    There's a theory about how susceptibility to addiction is an inherited condition:

    That small percentage of the population really hooked on alcohol and narcotics are not weak, flawed, or sociopaths. They are patients with a brain chemical receptor disease that turns intense organic-driven “seeking” behaviors into ruined lives.

    Brain receptors are locks that open chemical channels in the brain with fitted keys called “ligands.” Something is clearly wrong with the key and lock system in the brain of those “addicted.” These abnormal opioid receptors are incapable of desensitization; what we call “down regulation.” They remain far too sensitive to opioids. Once the opioid chemical ligand is inserted into the receptor “lock,” the door opens and the person experiences euphoria and less pain. The “addicted person” has far more euphoria than would the 97 percent of people who take narcotics and alcohol without the disease. We shall call this brain receptor problem “Chemical Receptor Disease” (CRD) replacing the term Chemical Dependency (implying dependent personalities). This failure to regulate receptors and quiet them down in the face of high ligand levels inside the biochemistry of the brain is a disease – CRD.

    Uncontrolled euphoria

    Euphoria is normal. Our bodies normally make our own opioids called endorphins. We make these when we exercise regularly. This is why we feel good after a workout. Runners are grouchy if they don’t run for four or five days, experiencing withdrawal. The endorphin opioids, drive us to continue exercising. If we had receptor dysfunction or CRD, we might want to exercise 10 times a day.

    Unfortunately other opioid ligands can unlock the receptors as well, like heroin, OxyContin, Percocet, Fentanyl, and Morphine. What makes heroin group ligands different is they are dealing with hyperactive receptors and worse are presenting the receptors with huge numbers of keys or ligands. The euphoria is unimaginable. The drive to maintain this level of euphoria can be unstoppable. The failure of the brain to modulate or down regulate, as the biochemists would say, is probably inherited and present for life.
     

    I just returned Sam Quinones’ Dreamland to the library; this book has been discussed a few times at iSteve due to the connection of pill mills and Mexican black tar heroin to the White Death. Quinones is that rare bird, a leftwing journalist who writes both honestly and intelligently.

    You quote from Dr. Thomas Kline’s recent Op-Ed in the Charlotte NC News-Observer, The myth that prescriptions caused the opioid crisis. Kline’s lackadaisical attitude towards the risk of abuse from prescribed opiates is exactly what Quinones highlighted as the first essential step in the country’s plunge into mass addiction and skyrocketing overdose deaths. (The second was the success of the integrated retail-delivery, customer-service-focused model used by heroin distribution networks based in Nayarit, Mexico.)

    Kline parrots a number of fun facts that happen to be wrong.

    Out of 100 people taking pain medicine, only a very few, perhaps three or four, will develop an addiction.

    An untruth promoted by Purdue Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of OxyContin. Details in “Dreamland.”

    Well-meaning people confuse the doctor’s prescribing with the increased opioid (narcotic) death rate by thinking prescription drugs lead to heroin. This is not true. They may be both involved but causation has not been shown in carefully designed studies. Deaths from narcotic overdoses usually involve multiple, non-prescribed, street drugs, not pain medicines prescribed by caring doctors.

    Mostly wrong, and misleading to the extent it’s true.

    Doctors are not contributing to “addictions.”

    Dr. Kline need not read Quinones, a Google DuckDuckGo search for “pill mills” should be sufficient.

    That small percentage of the population really hooked on alcohol and narcotics are… patients with a brain chemical receptor disease that turns intense organic-driven “seeking” behaviors into ruined lives. [followed by the rest of the text you quote]

    It’s true that there are multiple alleles for all of the opiate receptors, and that the risk of addiction is partly a function of the individual’s DNA makeup. What is that “small” percentage of the population that’s highly vulnerable to addiction — Kline’s implied 3%-4%? 20%? 75%? Kline doesn’t have a clue, because cutting-edge researchers don’t (yet) know.

    Physicians with Kline’s attitudes and (presumably) prescribing habits have played major facilitating roles in the current opiate abuse epidemic.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jack D
    Genetic propensity to addictive behavior is a necessary but not sufficient condition to becoming an addict or alcoholic.

    You also need availability (preferably easy and cheap) - for example North American Indians (who have a tremendous propensity toward alcoholism) had no alcoholism in the pre-Columbian period simply because they had no alcohol. China went from having millions of opium addicts to have almost none when the Communists cut off the drug supply.

    And you also need certain cultural conditions where people are sufficiently unhappy with their lot in life that they seek chemical euphoria and enough breakdown in family and social structure that there is no one around to stop them from sliding downhill. We know that there are people who have high genetic propensity to addiction and yet thru force of will and help from their family and society overcome it and never touch drugs or alcohol again and there must be many more who never become addicts in the 1st place.

    Now each of these factors is not binary but rather matters of degree. But if the knobs on all the factors all happen to line up on "10" then you get widespread addiction (see e.g. S. Dakota Indian reservations). Even if you are a "1o" on genetic propensity, if you live in a society where the other factors are zero or close to zero, you might not become an addict anyway. The genetic factor is pretty constant but we are in a period of growing addiction so the volume on some of the other knobs must be going up.
    , @Marina
    I had medical problems in my late teens that caused chronic pain. This was around 2007-2009. The amount of opoids I was prescribed were shocking. Like, 180 Vicodin a MONTH, plus Tylenol 3, plus Tramadol. This was for fibromyalgia (the diagnosis was wrong, but at the time the doctors though I hurt for basically, no real reason at all) and all the painkillers were from a single, well respected local rheumatologist that my GP had referred me to. It was shocking. I don't like taking painkillers (even something like OTC Motrin), and my pharmacy was mail order, so the refill bottles kept coming every month in the mail, and I'd stash them in my nightstand drawer. By the time I fired my doctor and got a new one who correctly diagnosed and treated me, I had AN ENTIRE NIGHTSTAND of the stuff. I ended up taking it to a prescription disposal day in my community. Looking back, I'm so damn lucky that I wasn't susceptible to addiction.
  24. @Jack D
    This makes a lot of sense to me. On the occasions when I've had to take opioids after surgery, etc. I experience little euphoria (constipation - yes) and when I stopped I had no cravings. They just did nothing for me. I just don't have what it takes to be an addict.

    I think the biochemistry is not entirely generalisable: I am the same as you with regard to opioids, but I quit booze a long time ago when I realised I was entirely too prone to drink to excess.

    I think we must not unwisely make addiction a bifurcated thing; whollly biochemical or wholly behavioural (just as both genes and environments shape people together). It’d true some of us are more vulnerable ro addiction, and things addictive to one may not be to another; it’s also true we must recognise the phenomenon in ourselves and take measures accordingly, getting professional medical help if need be. Many medical conditions are genetic wholly or in part – cancers, cardiac problems, etc. – but that only behooves the susceptible and afflicted to be that much more careful and to do as their physicians say. Being allergic to wheat makes life a pain in the ass, and bread is tasty; but if one is allergic to the stuff, it’s no use eating it and then denying reponsibility for the resulting anaphylaxis by declaiming “woe is me; a victim of my cursed genes!”

    Read More
  25. Wilkey says:
    @Steve Sailer
    There was an article about binge drinking in England recently that seemed to narrow it down especially to the 1997-2010 coming of age generation, without mentioning what was going on politically.

    “There was an article about binge drinking in England recently that seemed to narrow it down especially to the 1997-2010 coming of age generation, without mentioning what was going on politically.”

    Is it any wonder that the very demo (whites, men particularly) that has been told repeatedly that it doesn’t matter (in various ways – multicult, pc, feminism, immigration, diversity, etc) – begins to act like it doesn’t matter? Some demographic groups have low standards (e.g., blacks), some have high stand ads (e.g., Asians). Whites seem caught in the middle. We can’t even rely on “conservative” politicians to make the case for us. George W Bush was awful and Mitt Romney has proven himself a complete douchebag since he secured the GOP nomination back in 2012. There are a lot of things not to like about Trump, but to me his greatest strength is that he doesn’t feel the need to apologize for where he stands.

    Read More
    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    I saw a tweet the other day pointing out that white births were outnumbering nonwhite again in 2016, bit early for a Trump Effect but interesting. Table 2. On the other hand average TFR in the US (all races) is still very low, not been above replacement since 1971.

    https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/vsrr/report002.pdf

  26. Bill says:
    @Johann Ricke
    There's a theory about how susceptibility to addiction is an inherited condition:

    That small percentage of the population really hooked on alcohol and narcotics are not weak, flawed, or sociopaths. They are patients with a brain chemical receptor disease that turns intense organic-driven “seeking” behaviors into ruined lives.

    Brain receptors are locks that open chemical channels in the brain with fitted keys called “ligands.” Something is clearly wrong with the key and lock system in the brain of those “addicted.” These abnormal opioid receptors are incapable of desensitization; what we call “down regulation.” They remain far too sensitive to opioids. Once the opioid chemical ligand is inserted into the receptor “lock,” the door opens and the person experiences euphoria and less pain. The “addicted person” has far more euphoria than would the 97 percent of people who take narcotics and alcohol without the disease. We shall call this brain receptor problem “Chemical Receptor Disease” (CRD) replacing the term Chemical Dependency (implying dependent personalities). This failure to regulate receptors and quiet them down in the face of high ligand levels inside the biochemistry of the brain is a disease – CRD.

    Uncontrolled euphoria

    Euphoria is normal. Our bodies normally make our own opioids called endorphins. We make these when we exercise regularly. This is why we feel good after a workout. Runners are grouchy if they don’t run for four or five days, experiencing withdrawal. The endorphin opioids, drive us to continue exercising. If we had receptor dysfunction or CRD, we might want to exercise 10 times a day.

    Unfortunately other opioid ligands can unlock the receptors as well, like heroin, OxyContin, Percocet, Fentanyl, and Morphine. What makes heroin group ligands different is they are dealing with hyperactive receptors and worse are presenting the receptors with huge numbers of keys or ligands. The euphoria is unimaginable. The drive to maintain this level of euphoria can be unstoppable. The failure of the brain to modulate or down regulate, as the biochemists would say, is probably inherited and present for life.
     

    That small percentage of the population really hooked on alcohol and narcotics are not weak, flawed, or sociopaths. They are patients with a brain chemical receptor disease that turns intense organic-driven “seeking” behaviors into ruined lives.

    They have a brain chemical receptor disease which makes them alcoholics. But they’re not flawed.

    Read More
  27. @Johann Ricke
    There's a theory about how susceptibility to addiction is an inherited condition:

    That small percentage of the population really hooked on alcohol and narcotics are not weak, flawed, or sociopaths. They are patients with a brain chemical receptor disease that turns intense organic-driven “seeking” behaviors into ruined lives.

    Brain receptors are locks that open chemical channels in the brain with fitted keys called “ligands.” Something is clearly wrong with the key and lock system in the brain of those “addicted.” These abnormal opioid receptors are incapable of desensitization; what we call “down regulation.” They remain far too sensitive to opioids. Once the opioid chemical ligand is inserted into the receptor “lock,” the door opens and the person experiences euphoria and less pain. The “addicted person” has far more euphoria than would the 97 percent of people who take narcotics and alcohol without the disease. We shall call this brain receptor problem “Chemical Receptor Disease” (CRD) replacing the term Chemical Dependency (implying dependent personalities). This failure to regulate receptors and quiet them down in the face of high ligand levels inside the biochemistry of the brain is a disease – CRD.

    Uncontrolled euphoria

    Euphoria is normal. Our bodies normally make our own opioids called endorphins. We make these when we exercise regularly. This is why we feel good after a workout. Runners are grouchy if they don’t run for four or five days, experiencing withdrawal. The endorphin opioids, drive us to continue exercising. If we had receptor dysfunction or CRD, we might want to exercise 10 times a day.

    Unfortunately other opioid ligands can unlock the receptors as well, like heroin, OxyContin, Percocet, Fentanyl, and Morphine. What makes heroin group ligands different is they are dealing with hyperactive receptors and worse are presenting the receptors with huge numbers of keys or ligands. The euphoria is unimaginable. The drive to maintain this level of euphoria can be unstoppable. The failure of the brain to modulate or down regulate, as the biochemists would say, is probably inherited and present for life.
     

    So is the solution to make drugs really hard to get? If they’re going to destroy some lives, and make the lives of their loved ones a sort of hell, then we should really crack down on the illegal and illegally obtained drugs. Also we should make the prescribed painkillers closely monitored and have strict accountability.

    I think this used to be the approach.

    Read More
  28. @Wilkey
    "There was an article about binge drinking in England recently that seemed to narrow it down especially to the 1997-2010 coming of age generation, without mentioning what was going on politically."

    Is it any wonder that the very demo (whites, men particularly) that has been told repeatedly that it doesn't matter (in various ways - multicult, pc, feminism, immigration, diversity, etc) - begins to act like it doesn't matter? Some demographic groups have low standards (e.g., blacks), some have high stand ads (e.g., Asians). Whites seem caught in the middle. We can't even rely on "conservative" politicians to make the case for us. George W Bush was awful and Mitt Romney has proven himself a complete douchebag since he secured the GOP nomination back in 2012. There are a lot of things not to like about Trump, but to me his greatest strength is that he doesn't feel the need to apologize for where he stands.

    I saw a tweet the other day pointing out that white births were outnumbering nonwhite again in 2016, bit early for a Trump Effect but interesting. Table 2. On the other hand average TFR in the US (all races) is still very low, not been above replacement since 1971.

    https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/vsrr/report002.pdf

    Read More
    • Replies: @snorlax
    Millennials (Baby Boomers' children) were the second-largest generation (of natural-born US citizens) ever while Gen X was pretty small, so it makes sense we'd see an uptick in the white birthrate right around now.
  29. prole says:

    With the dramatic drop in smoking among whites since 1980 it is surprising to see the increase in white deaths….but cheap heroin from Mexico is now less costly than smoking 2 packs a day…In Europe and Japan smoking is still more common than in America, yet they live longer…

    Read More
  30. George says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    Morality aside, it's only "saving" corporations money in a fictional accounting sense if they are adjusting their pension assumptions based on overall life expectancies. Unless there's been an uptick in overdoses and suicides among retired Lockheed Martin engineers, Lockheed Martin is still going to have to pay their pension payments.

    Search on:
    mortality table site:burypensions.wordpress.com

    for a discussion of scamming with mortality tables.

    Read More
  31. @Verymuchalive
    My first thought on reading your headline about America's patriotic junkies was to think of the young men volunteering to serve in the US armed forces. Many will die or their lives will be shortened as a result. The suicide rate is probably several times the national average, too.
    All to serve as cannon fodder for endless Neocon-inspired conflicts. You would have to be some sort of blinkered patriotic idiot to volunteer.

    Many will die or their lives will be shortened as a result.

    If they don’t get killed “over there,” then when they exit the military too many become a ward of the state due to their active duty injuries. Or, at least, receive a relatively low-dollar monthly “annuity” for back pain. Out of ten friends, coworkers, and acquaintances that have served since Desert Storm, they’re all collecting $300+ per month for back pain to supplement their earnings from whatever regular civilian job they’re now doing. Multiply this by 100,000.

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  32. Jack D says:
    @ic1000
    I just returned Sam Quinones' Dreamland to the library; this book has been discussed a few times at iSteve due to the connection of pill mills and Mexican black tar heroin to the White Death. Quinones is that rare bird, a leftwing journalist who writes both honestly and intelligently.

    You quote from Dr. Thomas Kline's recent Op-Ed in the Charlotte NC News-Observer, The myth that prescriptions caused the opioid crisis. Kline's lackadaisical attitude towards the risk of abuse from prescribed opiates is exactly what Quinones highlighted as the first essential step in the country's plunge into mass addiction and skyrocketing overdose deaths. (The second was the success of the integrated retail-delivery, customer-service-focused model used by heroin distribution networks based in Nayarit, Mexico.)

    Kline parrots a number of fun facts that happen to be wrong.


    Out of 100 people taking pain medicine, only a very few, perhaps three or four, will develop an addiction.
     
    An untruth promoted by Purdue Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of OxyContin. Details in "Dreamland."

    Well-meaning people confuse the doctor’s prescribing with the increased opioid (narcotic) death rate by thinking prescription drugs lead to heroin. This is not true. They may be both involved but causation has not been shown in carefully designed studies. Deaths from narcotic overdoses usually involve multiple, non-prescribed, street drugs, not pain medicines prescribed by caring doctors.
     
    Mostly wrong, and misleading to the extent it's true.

    Doctors are not contributing to “addictions.”
     
    Dr. Kline need not read Quinones, a Google DuckDuckGo search for "pill mills" should be sufficient.

    That small percentage of the population really hooked on alcohol and narcotics are... patients with a brain chemical receptor disease that turns intense organic-driven “seeking” behaviors into ruined lives. [followed by the rest of the text you quote]
     
    It's true that there are multiple alleles for all of the opiate receptors, and that the risk of addiction is partly a function of the individual's DNA makeup. What is that "small" percentage of the population that's highly vulnerable to addiction -- Kline's implied 3%-4%? 20%? 75%? Kline doesn't have a clue, because cutting-edge researchers don't (yet) know.

    Physicians with Kline's attitudes and (presumably) prescribing habits have played major facilitating roles in the current opiate abuse epidemic.

    Genetic propensity to addictive behavior is a necessary but not sufficient condition to becoming an addict or alcoholic.

    You also need availability (preferably easy and cheap) – for example North American Indians (who have a tremendous propensity toward alcoholism) had no alcoholism in the pre-Columbian period simply because they had no alcohol. China went from having millions of opium addicts to have almost none when the Communists cut off the drug supply.

    And you also need certain cultural conditions where people are sufficiently unhappy with their lot in life that they seek chemical euphoria and enough breakdown in family and social structure that there is no one around to stop them from sliding downhill. We know that there are people who have high genetic propensity to addiction and yet thru force of will and help from their family and society overcome it and never touch drugs or alcohol again and there must be many more who never become addicts in the 1st place.

    Now each of these factors is not binary but rather matters of degree. But if the knobs on all the factors all happen to line up on “10″ then you get widespread addiction (see e.g. S. Dakota Indian reservations). Even if you are a “1o” on genetic propensity, if you live in a society where the other factors are zero or close to zero, you might not become an addict anyway. The genetic factor is pretty constant but we are in a period of growing addiction so the volume on some of the other knobs must be going up.

    Read More
    • Replies: @ic1000
    Your perspective is consistent with common sense, as well as with current biological and genomic knowledge. It's also consistent with the horrific story of burgeoning Middle-America addiction that is the plotline of "Dreamland."

    According to Quinones, the volume on the key knobs that went up were:

    * De-industrialization, and the loss of upward mobility and meaning in work

    * The "revolution in pain" exemplified by Kline's comment, stemming from a combination of concern for patients suffering from chronic pain, the (false) realization that opioids are not terribly addictive, and the commercialization of new forms of morphine that were (falsely) promoted as tamper-resistant.

    * Freely prescribing doctors (what else are you going to do for your patient in a 12-minute appointment?), and the invention of the highly profitable pill mill.

    * The increasing numbers of people qualifying for SSI (disability), which came with Medicare reimbursement for prescription drugs.

    * The Nayarit model of heroin retailing -- friendly, customer-service oriented, high-quality heroin delivered to your neighborhood at a fraction of the cost of the OxyContin you've grown addicted to. Quinones repeatedly uses the phrase "tenderized" to describe how the flood of legal prescription pills opened the way for the Nayarit networks. One of their innovations was to enlist addicts to guide them to methadone clinics in new cities, giving the addict free samples and business cards with the cell-phone contact, to hand out in the waiting room.

    Really awful stuff that's been going on under our noses.
  33. Lurker says:
    @Olorin
    From the halcyon days of Democrats signing NAFTA, and as much as I hate to give this site clicks:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1995/10/if-the-gdp-is-up-why-is-america-down/415605/


    By the curious standard of the GDP, the nation's economic hero is a terminal cancer patient who is going through a costly divorce. The happiest event is an earthquake or a hurricane. The most desirable habitat is a multibillion-dollar Superfund site. All these add to the GDP, because they cause money to change hands. It is as if a business kept a balance sheet by merely adding up all “transactions,” without distinguishing between income and expenses, or between assets and liabilities.

    The perversity of the GDP affects virtually all parts of society. In 1993 William J. Bennett, who had been the Secretary of Education in the Reagan Administration, produced a study of social decline. He called it “The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators,” a deliberate counterpoint to the Commerce Department's similarly named regular economic report. His objective was to detail the social erosion that has continued even as the nation's economic indicators have gone up.

    The strange fact that jumps out from Bennett's grim inventory of crime, divorce, mass-media addiction, and the rest is that much of it actually adds to the GDP. Growth can be social decline by another name. Divorce, for example, adds a small fortune in lawyers' bills, the need for second households, transportation and counseling for kids, and so on. Divorce lawyers alone take in probably several billion dollars a year, and possibly a good deal more. Divorce also provides a major boost for the real-estate industry. “Unfortunately, divorce is a big part of our business. It means one [home] to sell and sometimes two to buy,”a realtor in suburban Chicago told the Chicago Tribune. Similarly, crime has given rise to a burgeoning crime-prevention and security industry with revenues of more than $65 billion a year. The car-locking device called The Club adds some $100 million a year to the GDP all by itself, without counting knock-offs. Even a gruesome event like the Oklahoma City bombing becomes an economic uptick by the strange reckonings of the GDP. “Analysts expect the share prices [of firms making anti-crime equipment] to gain during the next several months,” The Wall Street Journal reported a short time after the bombing, “as safety concerns translate into more contracts.”
     

    It’s the flip-side of Broken Windows.

    Also didn’t a Victorian economist exhort gentlemen not to marry their housekeepers because it would reduce GDP?

    Read More
  34. Jack D says:
    @dearieme
    "It seems to be happening ... only in America." No. Britain too. Maybe others?

    "What are the leading hypotheses to explain why this is happening?" I imagine that all you'll see to begin with are lazy assumptions paraded as explanations. That's what we get in the British papers.

    Anyway, here's one of my conjectures. The decline in the epidemic of middle-aged heart attack deaths of men has run its course: heart attacks are now mainly just another way of killing geezers. That decline has contributed to lengthening life spans but the decline has now effectively ceased. I'll bet that's part of the story but whether it's a substantial part I have no idea.

    If I were looking for explanations in a critical, sceptical, non-gullible way, I might look at reported causes of death, but I would remember that the causes reported are much poorer quality data than the fact of death.

    For white men (only) in the US not only have death rates stopped declining but they are actually going UP. This kind of increase happens in places like the late Soviet Union where people have nothing to look forward to and so drink or drug themselves to death. Despair and lack of hope is a cause of death more potent than clogged arteries. If you can’t see this happening you must not be looking very hard. Hillary Clinton couldn’t see it either but Donald Trump could.

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  35. ic1000 says:
    @Jack D
    Genetic propensity to addictive behavior is a necessary but not sufficient condition to becoming an addict or alcoholic.

    You also need availability (preferably easy and cheap) - for example North American Indians (who have a tremendous propensity toward alcoholism) had no alcoholism in the pre-Columbian period simply because they had no alcohol. China went from having millions of opium addicts to have almost none when the Communists cut off the drug supply.

    And you also need certain cultural conditions where people are sufficiently unhappy with their lot in life that they seek chemical euphoria and enough breakdown in family and social structure that there is no one around to stop them from sliding downhill. We know that there are people who have high genetic propensity to addiction and yet thru force of will and help from their family and society overcome it and never touch drugs or alcohol again and there must be many more who never become addicts in the 1st place.

    Now each of these factors is not binary but rather matters of degree. But if the knobs on all the factors all happen to line up on "10" then you get widespread addiction (see e.g. S. Dakota Indian reservations). Even if you are a "1o" on genetic propensity, if you live in a society where the other factors are zero or close to zero, you might not become an addict anyway. The genetic factor is pretty constant but we are in a period of growing addiction so the volume on some of the other knobs must be going up.

    Your perspective is consistent with common sense, as well as with current biological and genomic knowledge. It’s also consistent with the horrific story of burgeoning Middle-America addiction that is the plotline of “Dreamland.”

    According to Quinones, the volume on the key knobs that went up were:

    * De-industrialization, and the loss of upward mobility and meaning in work

    * The “revolution in pain” exemplified by Kline’s comment, stemming from a combination of concern for patients suffering from chronic pain, the (false) realization that opioids are not terribly addictive, and the commercialization of new forms of morphine that were (falsely) promoted as tamper-resistant.

    * Freely prescribing doctors (what else are you going to do for your patient in a 12-minute appointment?), and the invention of the highly profitable pill mill.

    * The increasing numbers of people qualifying for SSI (disability), which came with Medicare reimbursement for prescription drugs.

    * The Nayarit model of heroin retailing — friendly, customer-service oriented, high-quality heroin delivered to your neighborhood at a fraction of the cost of the OxyContin you’ve grown addicted to. Quinones repeatedly uses the phrase “tenderized” to describe how the flood of legal prescription pills opened the way for the Nayarit networks. One of their innovations was to enlist addicts to guide them to methadone clinics in new cities, giving the addict free samples and business cards with the cell-phone contact, to hand out in the waiting room.

    Really awful stuff that’s been going on under our noses.

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    • Replies: @snorlax

    the (false) realization that opioids are not terribly addictive
     
    They generally aren’t, to high-status grad students and researchers, hence part of the reason for the misconception.
  36. snorlax says:
    @ic1000
    Your perspective is consistent with common sense, as well as with current biological and genomic knowledge. It's also consistent with the horrific story of burgeoning Middle-America addiction that is the plotline of "Dreamland."

    According to Quinones, the volume on the key knobs that went up were:

    * De-industrialization, and the loss of upward mobility and meaning in work

    * The "revolution in pain" exemplified by Kline's comment, stemming from a combination of concern for patients suffering from chronic pain, the (false) realization that opioids are not terribly addictive, and the commercialization of new forms of morphine that were (falsely) promoted as tamper-resistant.

    * Freely prescribing doctors (what else are you going to do for your patient in a 12-minute appointment?), and the invention of the highly profitable pill mill.

    * The increasing numbers of people qualifying for SSI (disability), which came with Medicare reimbursement for prescription drugs.

    * The Nayarit model of heroin retailing -- friendly, customer-service oriented, high-quality heroin delivered to your neighborhood at a fraction of the cost of the OxyContin you've grown addicted to. Quinones repeatedly uses the phrase "tenderized" to describe how the flood of legal prescription pills opened the way for the Nayarit networks. One of their innovations was to enlist addicts to guide them to methadone clinics in new cities, giving the addict free samples and business cards with the cell-phone contact, to hand out in the waiting room.

    Really awful stuff that's been going on under our noses.

    the (false) realization that opioids are not terribly addictive

    They generally aren’t, to high-status grad students and researchers, hence part of the reason for the misconception.

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  37. @Wilkey
    What are the leading hypotheses to explain why this is happening? It seems to be happening only among whites, and only in America. Is it loneliness and isolation, divorce, stalled economic prospects, drug and alcohol abuse, what?

    If diversity is supposed to be a benefit it's interesting to note that this mostly only seems to be happening in America, the most diverse white majority country of all. It also doesn't help that the age group doing the worst is the one where feminism first took hold. It must really suck to be a white man hitting middle age only to find that your wife is a selfish piece of $!#/ thanks to feminism.

    Pretty common behavior among a newly conquered populace.

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  38. Marina says:
    @ic1000
    I just returned Sam Quinones' Dreamland to the library; this book has been discussed a few times at iSteve due to the connection of pill mills and Mexican black tar heroin to the White Death. Quinones is that rare bird, a leftwing journalist who writes both honestly and intelligently.

    You quote from Dr. Thomas Kline's recent Op-Ed in the Charlotte NC News-Observer, The myth that prescriptions caused the opioid crisis. Kline's lackadaisical attitude towards the risk of abuse from prescribed opiates is exactly what Quinones highlighted as the first essential step in the country's plunge into mass addiction and skyrocketing overdose deaths. (The second was the success of the integrated retail-delivery, customer-service-focused model used by heroin distribution networks based in Nayarit, Mexico.)

    Kline parrots a number of fun facts that happen to be wrong.


    Out of 100 people taking pain medicine, only a very few, perhaps three or four, will develop an addiction.
     
    An untruth promoted by Purdue Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of OxyContin. Details in "Dreamland."

    Well-meaning people confuse the doctor’s prescribing with the increased opioid (narcotic) death rate by thinking prescription drugs lead to heroin. This is not true. They may be both involved but causation has not been shown in carefully designed studies. Deaths from narcotic overdoses usually involve multiple, non-prescribed, street drugs, not pain medicines prescribed by caring doctors.
     
    Mostly wrong, and misleading to the extent it's true.

    Doctors are not contributing to “addictions.”
     
    Dr. Kline need not read Quinones, a Google DuckDuckGo search for "pill mills" should be sufficient.

    That small percentage of the population really hooked on alcohol and narcotics are... patients with a brain chemical receptor disease that turns intense organic-driven “seeking” behaviors into ruined lives. [followed by the rest of the text you quote]
     
    It's true that there are multiple alleles for all of the opiate receptors, and that the risk of addiction is partly a function of the individual's DNA makeup. What is that "small" percentage of the population that's highly vulnerable to addiction -- Kline's implied 3%-4%? 20%? 75%? Kline doesn't have a clue, because cutting-edge researchers don't (yet) know.

    Physicians with Kline's attitudes and (presumably) prescribing habits have played major facilitating roles in the current opiate abuse epidemic.

    I had medical problems in my late teens that caused chronic pain. This was around 2007-2009. The amount of opoids I was prescribed were shocking. Like, 180 Vicodin a MONTH, plus Tylenol 3, plus Tramadol. This was for fibromyalgia (the diagnosis was wrong, but at the time the doctors though I hurt for basically, no real reason at all) and all the painkillers were from a single, well respected local rheumatologist that my GP had referred me to. It was shocking. I don’t like taking painkillers (even something like OTC Motrin), and my pharmacy was mail order, so the refill bottles kept coming every month in the mail, and I’d stash them in my nightstand drawer. By the time I fired my doctor and got a new one who correctly diagnosed and treated me, I had AN ENTIRE NIGHTSTAND of the stuff. I ended up taking it to a prescription disposal day in my community. Looking back, I’m so damn lucky that I wasn’t susceptible to addiction.

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  39. Old Jew says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    Morality aside, it's only "saving" corporations money in a fictional accounting sense if they are adjusting their pension assumptions based on overall life expectancies. Unless there's been an uptick in overdoses and suicides among retired Lockheed Martin engineers, Lockheed Martin is still going to have to pay their pension payments.

    Additional Info:

    Lockheed Martin To Freeze Pension Plan For U.S.-Based Salaried Employees

    Introduces Enhanced Company Contributions to Retirement Program

    BETHESDA, Md., July 1, 2014 – Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] announced today that it will freeze its salaried defined benefit pension plan and transition employees to an enhanced defined contribution retirement plan. The change will take effect in a two-step approach, beginning on January 1, 2016 with the freeze of pay-based benefits and concluding with the freeze of service-based benefits on January 1, 2020. The company expects that the plan will be fully frozen effective January 1, 2020.

    When the freeze is complete, the majority of Lockheed Martin salaried employees, including approximately 25,000 not in the pension plan, will have transitioned to a retirement plan that offers up to 10 percent of employees’ salary annually in company contributions.

    While the salaried pension plan was closed to new participants in 2006, approximately 48,000 employees of Lockheed Martin’s 113,000 employees are participating. An additional 250,000 retirees and former employees are in the plan.

    Read More
  40. Horseball says:

    This is great. A 57-year-old friend of mine committed suicide on Tuesday. I should clip this and pass it around to his colleagues and family at the service.

    Read More
  41. Said before, but probably the biggest factor in this is the opioid epidemic. The (((Sackler))) family, which controls Purdue pharma, invented oxycontin, which was supposed to be a relatively non-addictive opioid. Of course it was BS, it was extremely addictive.

    But they funded a bunch of studies that came to conclusion that it was totes OK to give massively powerful narcotics to people after they stubbed their toe. And they funded a bunch of advocacy organizations that whinged about how undertreated pain was an epidemic, and you should be able to sue doctors if they don’t give you proper meds for your stubbed toe.

    The Sacklers are now worth 14 billion and, per Angus Deaton, around 500,000 people are dead of opioid overdose.

    Read More
  42. Anonym says:
    @Jack D
    It's a catchy slogan, but it's completely wrong.

    If instead of OD'ing before pension age, you spend the last 10 years of your life in an expensive nursing home and the last 3 months in the ICU, you INCREASE the GDP. Bigtime. Of course if your employer is paying for all this, he might not like it. But fewer and fewer people (aside from government employees) have the kind of "defined benefit" pensions where the employer is liable to keep paying no matter how much it costs. The Bloomberg article mentions a handful of big, unionized companies that still offer those kind of unlimited pensions - Verizon, Lockheed, GM. Most Americans no longer work for these corporate giants. Your employer pays a certain amount into your 401(k) and when that runs out, you are on your own, buddie. Although arguably employers are paying anyway through higher taxes.

    It should have been

    Ask not what corporate profits can do for you, ask what you can do for corporate profits!

    I’m not going to argue any of this. I was shooting for catchy, general anti-Economist/WSJ/globalist, and maybe even provoking of some introspection/guilt in those people – if those vampires have the smallest atrophied remnant of some sort of pride in nation or heart.

    And I was honored to have it quoted by Steve so mission accomplished from my perspective.

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  43. @Johann Ricke
    There's a theory about how susceptibility to addiction is an inherited condition:

    That small percentage of the population really hooked on alcohol and narcotics are not weak, flawed, or sociopaths. They are patients with a brain chemical receptor disease that turns intense organic-driven “seeking” behaviors into ruined lives.

    Brain receptors are locks that open chemical channels in the brain with fitted keys called “ligands.” Something is clearly wrong with the key and lock system in the brain of those “addicted.” These abnormal opioid receptors are incapable of desensitization; what we call “down regulation.” They remain far too sensitive to opioids. Once the opioid chemical ligand is inserted into the receptor “lock,” the door opens and the person experiences euphoria and less pain. The “addicted person” has far more euphoria than would the 97 percent of people who take narcotics and alcohol without the disease. We shall call this brain receptor problem “Chemical Receptor Disease” (CRD) replacing the term Chemical Dependency (implying dependent personalities). This failure to regulate receptors and quiet them down in the face of high ligand levels inside the biochemistry of the brain is a disease – CRD.

    Uncontrolled euphoria

    Euphoria is normal. Our bodies normally make our own opioids called endorphins. We make these when we exercise regularly. This is why we feel good after a workout. Runners are grouchy if they don’t run for four or five days, experiencing withdrawal. The endorphin opioids, drive us to continue exercising. If we had receptor dysfunction or CRD, we might want to exercise 10 times a day.

    Unfortunately other opioid ligands can unlock the receptors as well, like heroin, OxyContin, Percocet, Fentanyl, and Morphine. What makes heroin group ligands different is they are dealing with hyperactive receptors and worse are presenting the receptors with huge numbers of keys or ligands. The euphoria is unimaginable. The drive to maintain this level of euphoria can be unstoppable. The failure of the brain to modulate or down regulate, as the biochemists would say, is probably inherited and present for life.
     

    > They are patients with a brain chemical receptor disease that turns intense organic-driven “seeking” behaviors into ruined lives.

    But no such thing has ever been demonstrated. So they don’t diagnose addiction by testing peoples’ brain chemical receptors. They define addiction by what people do, or don’t do. At present, if they actually did test peoples’ brain chemical receptors, it would show that not all people with supposedly bad brain chemical receptors respond that way. This is really just a pseudo-scientific smokescreen to help them pretend to be scientific.

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  44. @The Alarmist
    Yeah, but I saw a show last night where the customs force raided a store to ferret out and protect Britain from what they characterised as "dangerous" counterfeit cigarettes. Ungrateful bas***ds!

    Then they have the gall to try to blame smokers for high health costs, based on pretending that others paid costs paid by smokers, such as lost wages, and that non-smokers’ costs don’t exist at all (e.g. the CDC’s SAMMEC).

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  45. snorlax says:
    @YetAnotherAnon
    I saw a tweet the other day pointing out that white births were outnumbering nonwhite again in 2016, bit early for a Trump Effect but interesting. Table 2. On the other hand average TFR in the US (all races) is still very low, not been above replacement since 1971.

    https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/vsrr/report002.pdf

    Millennials (Baby Boomers’ children) were the second-largest generation (of natural-born US citizens) ever while Gen X was pretty small, so it makes sense we’d see an uptick in the white birthrate right around now.

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