Wednesday, April 15, 2009

With Global Economic Crisis, Will Suicide Rates Spike in '09?

Emile Durkheim couldn't have called it much better.

As told in a video story in The Independent ("
Japan suicides rise with crisis"), completed and attempted suicides seem to be rising in Japan due to the global economic crisis. Actually, Japan has had elevated suicide rates relative to the rest of the world since WWII, but according to the story, in the 1990s when Japan was in economic recession, suicides rose 34%.

Seems they're rising again. Said one of the individuals profiled in the story:

In recent months, I've rescued 19 people. They were temporary workers that had lost their jobs, people so badly hit by the economic crisis that they had no other solution than to kill themselves. I've been patrolling here for five years now, and this year, I can only say the situation is serious.

Then I saw this today, also from The Independent ("
1,500 farmers commit mass suicide in India").

Over 1,500 farmers in an Indian state committed suicide after being driven to debt by crop failure, it was reported today.

It appears these suicides are coming off the heals of a combination of problems stimulated by greedy money lenders, governmental development, and likely climate change.

Bharatendu Prakash, from the Organic Farming Association of India, told the Press Association: "Farmers' suicides are increasing due to a vicious circle created by money lenders. They lure farmers to take money but when the crops fail, they are left with no option other than death."

Mr Prakash added that the government ought to take up the cause of the poor farmers just as they fight for a strong economy.

"Development should be for all. The government blames us for being against development. Forest area is depleting and dams are constructed without proper planning.

All this contributes to dipping water levels. Farmers should be taken into consideration when planning policies," he said.

There sure are lots of depressing examples for those sociology 101 courses.

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  1. An excellent analysis of more fallout from the recession - econocide: Chief financial officer from Freddie Mac reportedly commits suicide.

    "What Would Durkheim Think - Corporate Suicide And Family Annihilation"

  2. "Voices: Inside Japan's recession" (4/2/2009)