I cannot believe that they are publishing an article in The Lancet, a reputable medical journal, that suggests ‘mass privatisation’ following the break-up of the Soviet Union is linked to an increase in male mortality and that the study should ‘serve as a warning’ to other countries undertaking major economic changes. It is almost laughable the way the research was presented.
Now, I will agree, that economic changes which lead to mass unemployment, such as the worldwide recession of today, will create increased stress. This stress will impact everyone’s health, which may lead to an increase in mortality. Men, who are stereotypically the breadwinner in a household, obviously will be most affected. No one will put up major arguments to those statements.
But to say A (mass privatisation) caused B (increased death rates in males) without making qualifying statements about C (all the other factors that play a role) is ridiculous. To go on and “warn” other countries of the impact to public health if they proceed with major economic schemes, such as mass privatisation, is inane. First of all, economic climates are constantly changing and mass privatisation is only one of those changes. There are many reasons that privatisation occur, and it may or may not cause recession. But other causes of poor production, which leads to businesses declaring bankruptcy, will also lead to unemployment and contribute to recession. Why were those issues not also called into the blame?
The study goes on to point out that where social organizations were in place to help with coping, the effect of mass privatisation on mortality was diminished, such that if nearly half of the population belonged to social organizations, the effect was insignificant. Isn’t this more in line with the widely acknowledged belief that stress is the underlying culprit in mortality issues?