Why are increasing numbers of people using alcohol and legal/illegal drugs to excess? Monbiot indicts the economic system

nhs alcohol admissionsAlcohol Concern reports that the NHS is under strain as almost 10 million admissions in England last year were related to alcohol.

Treatment costs the taxpayer £2.8billion, and they are urging the government to tackle the ‘public health crisis’. (Picture: Metro)

Scroll down to see a chart showing the rise in drug-related hospital admissions, 2002-2012.

Yesterday George Monbiot, in the Guardian, recorded that dementia, high blood pressure, alcoholism and accidents, depression, paranoia, anxiety and suicide, become more prevalent as social interaction has reduced.

nhs drug admissions

He notes some socio-economic changes which have led to increasing isolation of the individual:

  • factories have closed,
  • people travel by car instead of buses,
  • they use YouTube rather than going out to the cinema,
  • people turning to their televisions for company.

The content of current TV programmes breeds deep dissatisfaction:

“You have only to think of the wall-to-wall auctions on daytime TV, Dragon’s Den, the Apprentice and the myriad forms of career-making competition the medium celebrates, the generalised obsession with fame and wealth, the pervasive sense, in watching it, that life is somewhere other than where you are, to see why this might be”.

Monbiot briefly critiques the current economic system which has led to rising inequality:

“Figures published this week in the Times show that while the income of company directors has risen by more than a fifth, wages for the workforce as a whole have fallen in real terms over the past year. The bosses now earn – sorry, I mean take – 120 times more than the average full-time worker. . .The top 1% now own 48% of global wealth, according to a Credit Suisse report, but even they aren’t happy. A survey by Boston College of people with an average net worth of $78m found that they too are assailed by anxiety, dissatisfaction and loneliness”.

Apart from one reference, he did not mention the effect of long-term unemployment which arguably has been created as a consequence of the economic system progressively gaining ground since the 50s.

We are now entering a post-social condition created by economic policies which have led to a broken society. Monbiot counts the cost:

  • the natural world has been ripped apart,
  • conditions of life have been degraded,
  • freedoms have been surrendered and
  • increasing numbers of people have become engrossed by electronically purveyed “compulsive, atomising, joyless hedonism”.

He ends: “Having consumed all else, we start to prey upon ourselves”.



Posted on October 18, 2014, in Economy, Media and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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