"The Gran Torino Problem" and the decay of US white communities ....

owedtojoy

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In the film Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood plays a recently widowed Korean War veteran alienated from his family and angry at the world. Walt Kowalski was once a blue-collar worker at the Ford Motor Plant, but now lives surrounded by a Hmong immigrant community. Walt clings to two prize possessions, symbols of his past - his army M-1 carbine, and his Ford Gran Torino.

The apparently besieged Kowalski character and his car capture the plight of middle-aged working class white Americans. The film narrates how Kowalski solves his problems, but life does not imitate art in all cases. The health of middle-aged white American men with no college education has been deteriorating to a surprising and frightening extent.



The chart shows that alone among Western white communities, deaths among white American males of age 45-54 are increasing, a shocking statistic. Middle-aged white Americans are dying younger for the first time in decades, despite positive life expectancy trends in other wealthy countries and other segments of the US population.

The research, by Princeton University’s Anne Case and Angus Deaton [a Nobel Prizewinner in Economics], highlighted the links between economic struggles, suicides, and alcohol and drug overdoses.

Remembering that these men are "heads" of households, as they once were, is a revelation of the destruction of the communities they once led. Opiate abuse, suicides by gun, alcoholism and illness are all symptoms of decay in places that have no "social capital" left, and are giving way to depression and despair.

Vox summarises:

  1. Suicides, alcohol, and drug overdose deaths have gone up across the entire country. (Read: It’s not just a rural problem.)
  2. Deaths from chronic diseases such as diabetes have been rising
  3. The least-educated Americans are suffering the most
  4. Other nonwhite racial groups aren’t experiencing the same mortality uptick — so it’s not just about income

The links below provide further commentary. Are there solutions?

  • Populist Solution: The problem is elites exporting jobs, and immigrants lowering the value of labour, depriving the white American male of his birthright. If people Like Walt Kowalski become clients of authoritarian populism, these faraway problems will be solved by strong leadership and executive action on trade and immigration. Wealth will trickle back into neighbourhoods like the one Walt used to live in, once the economy is suitably modified. The problems of despair and alienation will be solved once the clock is turned back to Eisenhower's America.
  • Conservative Solution: The problem is one of moral fibre, as most of the deaths are due to abuse of alcohol and opiates. Capitalism necessitates the continual growth and decay cycle of old industries swallowed up in the maw of energetic new ones. Globalisation may have contributed to the problem, but it is not the root cause, because a fruitful capitalism can survive globalisation. Economic conditions must be created for these new industries to take root and flourish, under the direction of a new generation of entrepreneurs. There is no need to throw money at the problem, but a compassionate conservative will offer palliative assistance to those in need. Again, a tops-down approach will eventually trickle to the disrupted communities.
  • Progressive Solution: This is a complex problem, so the solution must be piecemeal and address the different factors. Because the problems are community specific, Government spending much be aimed at the communities themselves - for example, in re-skilling and training, and in grants to entrepreneurs to set up businesses. The problems in opiate abuse and addiction must be solved by treatment, not by jail.

This problem is presented as a top-down one, for "the right" or "the left" to solve. But mostly it is a problem for these communities, and it is they who must be encouraged to raise themselves. Incidentally, communities have faced this challenge before - what is happening in white communities resembles what happened in black communities with the impact of crack cocaine and joblessness. This also happened in Russian communities after the fall of Communism. Perhaps the best solution contains elements of all of the above. Opinions?

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/3/23/14988084/white-middle-class-dying-faster-explained-case-deaton

The Gran Torino problem

Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


Mortality for middle-aged black people converged with mortality for middle-aged white people with low levels of education in the late 2000s (though the white population overall is still doing better than African Americans). Meanwhile, mortality rates among Hispanics continued to fall.
 


Skin the Goat

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Now they know how the aboriginals felt :)
 

cozzy121

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oh goodie, another "white genocide" thread.....
 

redmonite

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In the film Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood plays a recently widowed Korean War veteran alienated from his family and angry at the world. Walt Kowalski was once a blue-collar worker at the Ford Motor Plant, but now lives surrounded by a Hmong immigrant community. Walt clings to two prize possessions, symbols of his past - his army M-1 carbine, and his Ford Gran Torino.

The apparently besieged Kowalski character and his car capture the plight of middle-aged working class white Americans. The film narrates how Kowalski solves his problems, but life does not imitate art in all cases. The health of middle-aged white American men with no college education has been deteriorating to a surprising and frightening extent.



The chart shows that alone among Western white communities, deaths among white American males of age 45-54 are increasing, a shocking statistic. Middle-aged white Americans are dying younger for the first time in decades, despite positive life expectancy trends in other wealthy countries and other segments of the US population.

The research, by Princeton University’s Anne Case and Angus Deaton [a Nobel Prizewinner in Economics], highlighted the links between economic struggles, suicides, and alcohol and drug overdoses.

Remembering that these men are "heads" of households, as they once were, is a revelation of the destruction of the communities they once led. Opiate abuse, suicides by gun, alcoholism and illness are all symptoms of decay in places that have no "social capital" left, and are giving way to depression and despair.

Vox summarises:

  1. Suicides, alcohol, and drug overdose deaths have gone up across the entire country. (Read: It’s not just a rural problem.)
  2. Deaths from chronic diseases such as diabetes have been rising
  3. The least-educated Americans are suffering the most
  4. Other nonwhite racial groups aren’t experiencing the same mortality uptick — so it’s not just about income

The links below provide further commentary. Are there solutions?

  • Populist Solution: The problem is elites exporting jobs, and immigrants lowering the value of labour, depriving the white American male of his birthright. If people Like Walt Kowalski become clients of authoritarian populism, these faraway problems will be solved by strong leadership and executive action on trade and immigration. Wealth will trickle back into neighbourhoods like the one Walt used to live in, once the economy is suitably modified. The problems of despair and alienation will be solved once the clock is turned back to Eisenhower's America.
  • Conservative Solution: The problem is one of moral fibre, as most of the deaths are due to abuse of alcohol and opiates. Capitalism necessitates the continual growth and decay cycle of old industries swallowed up in the maw of energetic new ones. Globalisation may have contributed to the problem, but it is not the root cause, because a fruitful capitalism can survive globalisation. Economic conditions must be created for these new industries to take root and flourish, under the direction of a new generation of entrepreneurs. There is no need to throw money at the problem, but a compassionate conservative will offer palliative assistance to those in need. Again, a tops-down approach will eventually trickle to the disrupted communities.
  • Progressive Solution: This is a complex problem, so the solution must be piecemeal and address the different factors. Because the problems are community specific, Government spending much be aimed at the communities themselves - for example, in re-skilling and training, and in grants to entrepreneurs to set up businesses. The problems in opiate abuse and addiction must be solved by treatment, not by jail.

This problem is presented as a top-down one, for "the right" or "the left" to solve. But mostly it is a problem for these communities, and it is they who must be encouraged to raise themselves. Incidentally, communities have faced this challenge before - what is happening in white communities resembles what happened in black communities with the impact of crack cocaine and joblessness. This also happened in Russian communities after the fall of Communism. Perhaps the best solution contains elements of all of the above. Opinions?

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/3/23/14988084/white-middle-class-dying-faster-explained-case-deaton

The Gran Torino problem

Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


Mortality for middle-aged black people converged with mortality for middle-aged white people with low levels of education in the late 2000s (though the white population overall is still doing better than African Americans). Meanwhile, mortality rates among Hispanics continued to fall.
So what if they die younger, think of all the white privilege they have!!
 

Beachcomber

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"Conservative Solution: The problem is one of moral fibre, as most of the deaths are due to abuse of alcohol and opiates."

It's interesting that most of the "middle-aged white American men with no college education" who are suffering in these times would describe themselves as being conservative. Now they are the "why don't things stay the way they have always been?" type of conservative, as opposed to having deep thoughts about the nature of conservative economic models, and conservative social policy.

The conservatives who are doing well are the rich, and they have little in common with the "middle-aged white American men with no college education" types. The rich will look down their noses at the latter group and will blame them for their own-ills due to their lack of moral fibre.

Of course the rich have their own addiction problems, but they have the comfort of being rich. It's fine for a rich white man to be an alcoholic because he is rich, but it's a moral failing if a poor white man is an alcoholic.

Traditional US conservatism has been about serving the rich conservatives, using the poor (of all political beliefs) as pawns - with work for them if they are needed, and nothing for them if they are not needed.

The poorly educated white men are sick of that conservationism that serves the rich, and flocked to Trump in the hope that he could bring back what they miss. And Trump tells them what they want to hear, whether he believes in a lot of it or not.
 

eoghanacht

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Their opioid addiction will see them off never mind anything else.
 

Beachcomber

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Massive inequality at the behest of billionaires will do that. Still, the tall ones got their tax cuts, so all's well.
The crazy thing is that the poor whites can't see that.

They believe idiot Trump and all his promises no matter if things are not changing for them.
 

Beachcomber

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Their opioid addiction will see them off never mind anything else.
Someone mentioned the aboriginals above.

For the white man the opioids appear to be the equivalent of alcohol for the aboriginals.
 

eoghanacht

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Someone mentioned the aboriginals above.

For the white man the opioids appear to be the equivalent of alcohol for the aboriginals.
Both are symptoms not causes.
 

Hunter-Gatherer

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Gran Turino was a brilliant movie. Relevant to the US and most of western Europe these days
 

Wilkinson

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175 Americans die every day from the current opioid epidemic. 1 million lives by 2020 if it continues.
 

eoghanacht

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Mitsui2

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The crazy thing is that the poor whites can't see that.

They believe idiot Trump and all his promises no matter if things are not changing for them.
It is crazy, isn't it? But it seems to just be part of human nature, if a situation gets dire enough, to clutch at even transparently false Messiahs - presumably in the same way that drowning men are said to clutch at straws.
 

bob3344

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The crazy thing is that the poor whites can't see that.

They believe idiot Trump and all his promises no matter if things are not changing for them.
Choice was Trump or Hilary.

Anyone honestly believe that Hilary gives a sh1t about these people or that anything would have changed under her presidency ?

The point isn't that Trump is such a great liar or impressive figure, its that these people have been getting poorer & poorer for the last 40 years, their traditional sources of jobs have been drying up etc etc

Trump is a roll of the dice & a gigantic fk you to the establishment.
 

Clanrickard

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Massive inequality at the behest of billionaires will do that. Still, the tall ones got their tax cuts, so all's well.
It is not inequality that causes it but poverty and alienation.
 

Gurdiev77

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the message is clearly depicted in the study.

The communities in question are likely to ask who ate their lunch, and look to blame anyone but their system.
 


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