Thursday, January 03, 2008


Child psychologist and capitalism-hater Oliver James tries to boost sales (irony alert!) of his latest book:
By far the most significant consequence of "selfish capitalism" (Thatch/Blatcherism) has been a startling increase in the incidence of mental illness in both children and adults since the 1970s. As I report in my book, The Selfish Capitalist - Origins of Affluenza, World Health Organisation and nationally representative studies in the United States, Britain and Australia, reveal that it almost doubled between the early 80s and the turn of the century. These increases are very unlikely to be due to greater preparedness to acknowledge distress - the psychobabbling therapy culture was already established.

Add to this the astonishing fact that citizens of Selfish Capitalist, English-speaking nations (which tend to be one and the same) are twice as likely to suffer mental illness as those from mainland western Europe, which is largely Unselfish Capitalist in its political economy. An average 23% of Americans, Britons, Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians suffered in the last 12 months, but only 11.5% of Germans, Italians, French, Belgians, Spaniards and Dutch. The message could not be clearer. Selfish Capitalism, much more than genes, is extremely bad for your mental health.
James is operating from a false premise: according to a peer reviewed study by Wittcehn and Jacobi, 27% of Europeans were affected by a mental disorder in the preceding 12 months. The authors also noting, "little evidence seems to exist for considerable cultural or country variation." Well, that shoots James's selfish-capitalism-drives-you-nuts notion right in the arse, now don't it?

Update: A 2005 European Commission Green Paper on Mental Illness states:
More than 27% of adult Europeans are estimated to experience at least one form of mental ill health during any one year.
So, Europe and the English speaking world have virtually identical mental illness rates.


Anonymous Chris said...

Not to mention that most of those who suffer from mental illness are progressive anti-capitalists.

11:17 PM  

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