Deaths from drugs, alcohol, and suicides have risen for all education groups, not just those at the bottom. Deaton calls that "the blockbuster finding."
Specifically, while the researchers found that the overall increase in the mortality rate was driven by "increasing death rates for those with a high school degree or less," they also found that people with all levels of education saw increases in deaths from suicide and poisonings.
"An anthropologist friend here says that [white, middle-age Americans] have lost the narrative of their lives — meaning something like a loss of hope, a loss of expectations of progress," he explained.
So Deaton says this particular group of middle-aged white Americans may have had higher expectations than others when it comes to steady employment and a bright future, and the stress of losing that could well be driving their deadly behaviors.
ところで、この論文は"Journal of the American Medical Association"と"New England Journal of Medicine"にリジェクトされていたそうです。
Deaton said the journal noted that their work does not explain why the historically anomalous surge in mortality occurred.
He compared the response to calling the fire department to report that your house is on fire: “And they say, 'Well, what caused the fire?' and you say, 'I don’t know,' and they say, 'Well, we can’t send the fire brigade until you tell us what caused the fire.' ”
At this point you probably expect me to offer a solution. But while universal health care, higher minimum wages, aid to education, and so on would do a lot to help Americans in trouble, I’m not sure whether they’re enough to cure existential despair.