Sunday, January 20, 2008
The real wage of the average American has gone down since the 1970s.
But the rich in the USA have got much richer.
Mental illness has greatly increased in the USA.
In the US, UK and Australia, the incidence of mental illness in both children and adults almost doubled between the early 1980s and 2000. (Guardian Unlimited Comment is free Oliver James; Selfish ...)
Oliver James, in his book 'The Selfish Capitalist: The Origins of Affluenza' claims that selfish capitalism is a major cause of the decline in our mental health. (The big question By genre Guardian Unlimited Books)
Oliver James states that the people of the selfish capitalist, English-speaking nations (US, UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand) are twice as likely to suffer mental illness as those from mainland western Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Spain., Holland, Belgium).
With selfish capitalism, the rich get richer as they force the poor to stay poor.
Politicians like Bush and Blair like to reduce the taxes on the rich. So, the poor have to pay more.
The top 1% of British earners doubled their share of the national income between 1982 and the present day.
Poverty does not necessarily cause mental illness. There have been low levels of mental illness in many poor countries down through the ages.
What causes mental illness, according to Oliver James, is the combination of lack of money with a selfish culture of consumerism that places a high value on possessions, money, appearances and fame.
According to James, selfish capitalism encourages people to be greedy consumers and workaholics.
And when people fail to become as rich as Bush or Blair, they may become mentally ill.
James suggests that we need leaders who will help the poor and reduce consumerism. This will reduce mental illness and help save the planet from ecological disaster.
It sounds like we need an improved version of Castro or Chavez.
The World Health Organisation predicts that depression may well become the second most widespread disease, after heart disease, in the developed world by 2020.
If we don't get better political leaders, the prediction could come true.
James refers to an "invisible hand" which attempts to control our minds. Is he thinking of the CIA or Mossad working on behalf of the rich elite?
Is he suggesting that we are being brainwashed and that elections are rigged?