Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Economic Causes of Melancholy

If you don’t read Gin and Tacos, you should start. It’s not a bad habit to have. Here’s author Ed on modern depression:
When we see news stories and commentaries about tens of millions of prescriptions for antidepressant being written annually in this country – other industrialized nations are catching up, too – economic and political conditions rarely enter into the discussion. But is anything more depressing than being unhappy with your situation and powerless to change it? We’ve successfully transitioned to a nation in which “If you don’t like it, there’s the door … and good luck finding anyone else who’s hiring” is the zeitgeist and elected officials (from whom we are completely alienated by a system that auctions them to the highest bidder) make decisions that degrade your working conditions, job security, and chances of finding employment at all. Whatever skills or profession we have, our sense of control and agency have eroded. Can anyone be surprised that so many Americans feel hopeless and turn to drugs — from a doctor or otherwise — to cope with the growing sense that we have no control over our own economic fate?
As a side note, it seems entirely typical that our first response to depression is to take a pill. After all, we’ve been conditioned to believe that the solution to all of life’s problems is to consume something.

Then again, the people who are (intentionally) bringing about this wretched state of affairs are more than happy to let us have Zoloft, Paxil, or any of the other sinister remedies Big Pharma cooks up. It makes them a profit and keeps us quiet. It’s a win -win situation for the status quo.

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