- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on September 17, 1999 at 20:22:24:

In Reply to: Sweden has one of the highest suicide rates. posted by David on September 17, 1999 at 08:07:06:

: : : : Really? Were you perchance aware that a Cuban on average lives longer than an American, a Shanghainese longer than a New Yorker, and a black man from Sao Tome longer than a black man from Harlem. Or that starvation and destitution are rare in any genuine socialist / communist society?

: I won't dispute your life expectancy fact, but here are some other facts about life in cuba. Here is an excerpt from National Geographic:

: "Hot clothes and cool cash from abroad brighten Cubans' lives. Relatives alone send hundreds of millions of dollars a year. 'If I didn't get money from my daughter in Miami, I couldn't make it,' says a Havana retiree."

: "'No ES FACIL--it's not easy'applies to alomost everything now. With public transport scarce, some commuters squeeze into private vehicles...Others birke, walk, or hitchhike. A weekly blackout, relieved briefly by headlights in Baracoa, has also become common since subsidized Soviet oil that once helped fuel power plants dried up in the early 1990s."

: Please, leave me out of your socialist paradise. Even if it meant living 20 years less than a Cuban, I would gladly chose my decadent American lifestyle.

Well, it is a fact that there is often a tradeoff to be made between social progress and the availability of discretionary goods. However, Sweden seemns to have plenty of consumer goods.

: What is ironic though, is that Sweden has one of the highest suicide rates. I believe it is topped only be Japan and possibly Norway.

Suicide is an interesting topic. Weather and culture are known to be large determinants of the suicide rate. For example, people are more likely to commit suicide in environemnts where they have 24 hours of depressing darkness (like Sweden), and are more likely to commit suicide in the winter. A lso, non-Christian countries like Japan and India tend to have higher rates, due to the Judeo/Christian/Islamic prohibition on suicide.

:Gosh, maybe all that freedom drove them to taking their lives! Not likely, it is probably from the moral degradation that comes with having ones colleagues stay at home, get drunk and high and still get a paycheck.

People ought to get food and shelter and health care by virtue of being human, not based on hwo much moeny tehy havem (capitalism) or on how hard they work (Chinese-style 'austerity' socialism). However, socialism does not seem to cause a higher suicide rate, if it does then how do you expolain,

1) capitalist Japan has the world's highest suicide rate,
2) while America has been moving to the right steadily since 1980, the teenage suicide rate has increased.

Also, I for one don't consider suicide an immoral act, being a neo- Hindu rather than a Christian.

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