Damned if You Do

Medicine is dose.  Too much or too little of anything can be deadly to life, even if its wealth.   When it comes to earnings and work, we can be damned if we do but also damned if we don’t.

Image from article “China set to overtake US as world’s biggest goods trader” (1).

The Wall Street Journal “Why Chinese men are dying” (2) says:  During one of the greatest economic booms in the history of the world, working-age men had trouble staying alive.  Mortality rates among Chinese men aged 41 to 60 have increased by 12% over the past decade. It could be that financial success breeds bad health habits.  Disposable income per capita has risen 90% in the past six years and probably more than that over the past decade, though official government data is limited. Chinese liquor consumption has risen.  Richer diets go along with high incidence of lung and coronary issues for Chinese men.  The pressure to perform and accumulate wealth in a male-dominated society adds to the health issues.

Is growing affluence the cause of greater mortality?  Maybe not!

The same article says that the flip side is also true.

It says: “Their American counterparts for instance, are dying “despair deaths” in the face of globalization, research by Nobel Laureate Angus Deaton and Princeton economist Anne Case found in 2015.”

This article tells of a study, by a Federal Reserve economist that found a “statistically significant relative increase in suicide… concentrated among white males” from 2000, a year that saw Congress grant China permanent normal trade relations, which helped codify China’s status as a rising trade power.  Since then Chinese imports to the U.S. have surged around fivefold to $483 billion last year.

The study looked at suicide and drug-related death rates across U.S. counties fro 2000 where workers jobs were relatively more vulnerable to Chinese competition.  Increased death rates couldn’t be explained by any other factors except employment cuts by the competition.

Research showed rising mortality rates for white U.S. men ages 45 to 54 that started in 2000, when there was a huge jump in U.S. imports from China and big  loss in US manufacturing jobs.

So what can men do?  One Answer is learn from the gals.

A New York Times article “More Women in Their 60s and 70s Are Having ‘Way Too Much Fun’ to Retire” (4) tells how women’s working lives are changing — reaching higher levels when they’re younger and stretching out much longer .

The article says: Most striking, women have become significantly more likely to work into their 60s and even 70s, often full time, according to the analyses. And many of these women report that they do it because they enjoy it.  They’re in occupations in which they really have an identity. Women have more education, they’re in jobs that are more fulfilling, and they stay with them.

Events that are beyond our control influence, but do not have to rule our lives.  As the world around us shifts, from changes in the country’s economic status, to the housing markets to health insurance coverage, financial situations, family support systems, work decisions, and retirement well-being, we should adapt.

The rudders that keep us in control are service and fulfillment.


(1) usa.chinadaily.com.cn China set to overtake US as world’s biggest goods trader

(2) www.wsj.com: Why Chinese men are dying

(3) blogs.wsj.com: How China trade could help explain rising mortality among white middle aged men

(4)  www.nytimes.com:  More women in their 60s and 70s are having way too much fun to retire

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