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“The global economy is full of progress paradoxes. Progress in technological innovation, reducing poverty, and increasing life expectancy around the world continues to increase. Yet there is also persistent poverty in poor and fragile states and increasing inequality and anomie in some of the wealthiest ones. This latter trend is showing up in a resurgence of nativism and anti-establishment voting across many countries. The election of Donald Trump in the U.S. in 2016 soon after British voters’ decision to leave the European Union were stark markers. Subsequent elections of right-wing populists in several other European countries confirmed a rising backlash against globalization in wealthy countries.
These trends have even starker markers. Despite having one of the wealthiest economies in the world, life expectancy in the U.S. is falling due to deaths driven by suicides and drug and alcohol overdose, primarily—although not only—among less than college-educated whites in their middle-aged years. Our research finds that poor whites report much less hope for the future and more stress than do poor African Americans and Hispanics, even though the latter face higher objective disadvantages, and the trends in optimism (or lack thereof) and other markers of well-being match the patterns in deaths of despair.
Central among the drivers of these trends is the decline in the status and wages of low-skilled labor at the same time that those of high-skilled workers increase. A related feature is the increase in prime-aged males (and to a lesser extent women) simply dropping out of the labor force. In the U.S., for example, 15 percent of prime-aged males are out of the labor force and will likely increase to over 20 percent. Males who are out of the labor force are disproportionately represented among opioid users, on disability rolls, and in the deaths of despair. Such men are also more likely to live in counties that voted for Trump in 2016. While the trends may be most notable in the U.S., there is frustration among this same cohort in Europe that is likely reflected in voting trends there as well as in the U.S.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"The likely successor to British Prime Minister Theresa May, Boris Johnson, has plans to subsume the government department overseeing development aid into the foreign office, effectively eliminating it. That will destroy a post-Brexit United..."
"Gerard Baker, editor-at-large at the Wall Street Journal (no reflexively anti-Trump publication) recently wrote a piece decrying Donald Trump and his foreign policy as a fount of erratic unpredictability. This essay will give the counter view...."
"On Wednesday, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar announced that she will be visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories in the coming weeks. Omar will be accompanied by Rep. Rashida Tlaib. The two freshman congresswomen have become a focal point of..."
"Netflix may have lost US subscribers for the first time since it began making its own shows, but that didn't stop the streaming giant from dropping new figures about how many people are sucked into its Adam Sandler vortex. (Spoiler: More than..."
"A few years ago, Amy Balliett, CEO of a Seattle-based design and marketing firm, noticed that as the work week slogged on, her employees’ energy and productivity wilted. “That would slump to such an extent that the same task on Monday would..."
"Over the last few days the #faceappchallenge has taken over social media. This “challenge” involves downloading a selfie-editing tool called FaceApp and using one of its filters to digitally age your face. You then post the photo of your wizened..."
"Although there are plenty of irrational aspects to life in modern America, few rival the odd fixation on lawns. Fertilizing, mowing, watering — these are all-American activities that, on their face, seem reasonable enough. But to spend hundreds..."
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"Magali Trejo-Martinez, a 22-year-old living in Salem, Oregon, recently went on a date that was rather uninspiring. “I had dinner, had a couple margaritas, and then went home,” is how she recapped the evening. This outcome wasn’t entirely..."
"The first lunar landing was many things — a D-Day-like feat of planning and logistics, a testament to the power of man's will, an ostensible propaganda coup for NATO. It was also, I think, one of the most misunderstood events in the history of..."
"THE FIRST TIME Bernie Sanders ran for president, he didn’t talk much about being Jewish. In fact, he didn’t talk much about himself at all. His 2016 primary campaign, like his whole political career, was relentlessly focused on one topic: income..."