|By Alan Hall | Excerpted from the December 2011 Socionomist
Originally published under the title, “Disease Update: Bear Market Stress is Weakening Society”
[Ed: In this update of his May / June 2009 study, socionomist Alan Hall evaluates how society’s health is faring under the massive-degree social mood decline. The diagnosis is gloomy: stress-induced illnesses, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a potential “syndemic,” and increased child abuse. Here is an excerpt of the December 2011 article.]
The Mood Decline Has Undercut Society’s Well-Being
In various places around the world, it increasingly sucks to be human. The Christian Science Monitor recently wrote, “The standard of living for Americans has fallen longer and more steeply over the past three years than at any time since the U.S. government began recording it five decades ago.”4 … A Marist Institute for Public Opinion survey finds that one third of Americans say their financial problems are chronic, and “64% of Americans worry that they won’t be able to pay their families’ expenses… .”4 For many, the light at the end of the tunnel is steadily dimming.
… In the United States, people are increasingly sad. The CDC reported in October that Americans’ “use of antidepressant drugs has soared nearly 400% in the past 20 years,” making them the most frequently used medications by people ages 18-44.10 Mental health professionals cited several possible reasons for the spike, including the “struggling economy and the record number of layoffs and home foreclosures.” … And for the second year in a row, in 2010 the number of U.S. soldiers who killed themselves exceeded those who died in combat.12 July 2011 brought “the highest monthly toll ever recorded,” according to the National Journal.13 A CDC study recently found that the U.S. suicide rate for adults of working age rises during economic hardship and declines during prosperity. With laudable insight, the authors cautioned that the correlation could be non-causal: “… a third factor may increase the risk of both suicide and unemployment.”14
Socionomics holds that there is indeed a significant third factor, society’s mood, which influences both societal health and the economy.
A Perfect Storm of Mood, Malaise and Pathogens
… The four ascending lines in Figure 1 plot the percentage increase in rates of antibiotic resistance of three bacterial threats to public health and the rising rate of MRSA hospitalizations.15 The descending line shows the number of new antibiotics approved by the FDA.
… Since our 2009 study, there has been a steady stream of new reports of rising antibiotic resistance in old enemies.
The Italian Association of Microbiologists says 15,000 Italians per year get dangerous, drug-resistant infections in hospitals. According to the Independent, infection outbreaks can be so virulent that “Sometimes the only solution is to close the hospital.”17 In April, researchers warned, “gonorrhea is increasingly developing resistance to all of the antibiotics we have to treat it in the United States.”18 In July, scientists found “superbug” gonorrhea in Japan that is resistant to all recommended antibiotics and could become a global public health threat.19 In May, bedbugs carrying antibiotic-resistant MRSA appeared in Vancouver.20 In June, Europe was hit with an “entirely new super-toxic”21 strain of E. coli bacteria, a food poisoning outbreak that spread to at least 10 countries and in Germany alone sickened 3,816 and killed 54.22 In August, on the same day that scientists identified S. Kentucky, a new salmonella superbug they fear may spread globally, U.S. officials reported a multi-state outbreak of S. Heidelberg, a different strain of antibiotic-resistant salmonella.23
In the remainder of this nine-page article, author Alan Hall reports on several new disease and illness trends that have emerged out of the social mood decline. Continue reading to learn why negative social mood is endangering kids across the globe as well as society’s future well-being.