In 2015, economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton garnered a lot of media coverage for an academic paper documenting a rise in “deaths of despair” — from alcohol, suicide, and drugs — among American whites, especially middle-aged whites without a college degree. Now they have fleshed out their thoughts on the issue in a book. Their argument is that in order to combat this plague, the U.S. needs to boost wages, bring back unions, fight crony capitalism, and deeply reform the health-care system.
If that strikes you as a preexisting wish list that’s been tacked on to a problem that happened …
This article appears as “What Drives Deaths of Despair?” in the May 4, 2020, print edition of National Review.
Something to Consider
If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Members get all of our content on the site including the digital magazine and archives, no paywalls or content meters, an advertising-minimal experience, and unique access to our writers and editors (through conference calls, social media groups, and more). And importantly, NRPLUS members help keep NR going.