Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Capitalism makes you happy*

March 13, 2013

The World Health Organisation has produced some fresh data on the health, or otherwise, of Europeans. We have picked out suicide rates, which have declined in most of Europe since the early 1990s except for a slight uptick since 2007, which may or may not have something to do with the onset of the financial crisis. What's more interesting, though, is the effect of the collapse of the Soviet Union on the suicide rate in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)—the countries that were once members of the USSR (excluding the Baltic states). Those who disapprove of the way that market economies force people to compete with each other might point to the spike in suicide rates in the CIS after 1989 (something which may be down to different methods of data collection). Those who, like The Economist, take the opposite view will point to the marked decline in suicide as the CIS countries sloughed off one system and embraced another.