Friday, April 4, 2014

Unequal society and mental disorders

Two months ago, an opinion article was published at the New York Times. The author insisted that people tend to be mentally ill in an unequal society. It caused broad discussion.

The New York Times: How Inequality Hollows Out the Soul

There are 393 comments described at the official site of the NYT. At a glance, comments against the original article are dominant. I am also opposed to this claim.

First, mental disorders should not be referred with regard to this point of view. They, at least a considerable part of mental illness, is understood as biological dysregulation. Although socioeconomic factors are important for the consideration of our happiness, it cannot be a direct cause of illnesses.

Second, the author referred to several data explaining the relationship between poverty and mental disorder. However, it is unclear whether the author chose these data with an appropriate way of selection. There are enormous similar studies all over the world. You can deduce any conclusion using an intentional combination of some particular facts. Readers are not able to check the validity of this article because the author did not clarify any sources of information.

Third, if these conditions above are solved, who can realize the complete equality? Is the absolute goal communism, or social capitalism? No one can answer this question. It is no doubt that excessive inequality causes lots of troubles towards the following generations. The author only declared this fact using another term.

After all, it is not sure that the modification of inequality can reduce the rate of mental disorders at all. In my impression, people are less likely to be mentally ill, but if once occurred, it would get more severe, in an equal society.

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