People Live Longer when the Economy Goes South

A story about you never know what’s good for you

Who could figure?

Who could figure?

According to a pair of researchers from the University of Michigan, a depression does more for longevity than diet or exercise. Life expectancy during the worst years of the Great Depression increased from 57.1 years in 1929 to 63.3 years in 1933, says the report by Jose A. Tapia Granados and Ana Diez Roux.

It didn’t matter whether you were a man or a woman, black or white. It didn’t matter if you were in the US during the Great Depression or in Spain, Japan or Sweden during their economic downturns. The results were the same.

By contrast, life expectancy declined during the boom years. For most age groups, “mortality tended to peak during years of strong economic expansion (such as 1923, 1926, 1929 and 1936-1937),” they wrote in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”

Conventional wisdom holds that recessions are times of stress. People do not eat as well. They skip medical check-ups. They should drop dead earlier. Instead, they live longer. Perhaps it is because the economy slows down, allowing people to live at a more comfortable pace. Maybe the unemployed get more sleep. I don’t know. But if you want to live an extra six years, nothing works like a slump. When it comes to economic health too, nothing beats a depression.

Americans are saving again. They are rebuilding their balance sheets and eventually, their economies. They can even look forward to living longer… and with a little more bad luck, maybe their moron economists will wise up too.

Guess what living on an island like Amelia, we all may soon turn into Blue Zone centenarians.

Americans were once damned by good fortune, they are now blessed by bad luck.

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  1. betty49

    Funny how things work. The old saying “the devil is in the details” has always been ture. Now we can look at current situations that we consider created by the devil himself as an opportuntiy for angels to do their good work. I don't think either has anything to do with how we choose to live our lives. When we don't take good care of ourselves we have problems, when we do take better care we get along better and live longer. During times like these we probably do eat better, exercise more, stay home more and rest more, I can see this.

  2. Hal_Burns

    I guess this would explain about our grandparents and great grandparents. We all think how tough it must have been for them and the bad living conditions they had to endure. Maybe it was because of these factors that they lived so long and did so well.

  3. tommylee

    In the mid 1980's (can't remember exactly which year) all doctors in Belgium (Europe) went on strike for 6 weeks and only emergency rooms where manned. The mortality rate dropped by 96%. Maybe seeing your doctor too often isn't necessarily a good thing.

  4. tommylee

    No. nothing wrong with Belgium doctors. Something wrong with the system of hospitals. A hospital is a gathering place for diseases as are clinics. Any waiting room approach is inherent to transmission of diseases just as classrooms are for children. But there is a lot more to say about prescriptions of chemicals the body doesn't know. worse it even gets when people see two or three specialists and even worse it gets when people go to more than one different pharmacy.

    The side effects of chemical drugs can be accounted for at least 10% side effects or worse… life threatening circumstances. The use of more than two drugs that factor goes up to 30%+, and if people use different pharmacies that even makes things exponentially worse…. upto 60%. Hey, not my statistics because I believe it to even be worse.

  5. John Wheelwright

    I think you're on to something with the eating better. Eating less outside is scientifically proven to be more healthful.

  6. John Wheelwright

    or maybe there is something inherently wrong with Belgian Doctors. Guess they haven't gone on strike again, have they?

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