Peter Singer & the "Quality of Life" Ethic (was Re: Replyingto Marta...)

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Sun Dec 10 01:38:53 MST 2000

>Social relations or personal experiences (e.g.,
>PTSD) *can* generate depression, and may
>account for large numbers of cases. But it
>can occur without any particular social cause
>too, so socialism will not eliminate all suicides
>from depression.

I agree with Carrol, in that social relations & personal experiences
cannot fully account for clinical depression & that we cannot neglect
biological aspects of the problem.

Suicides seem less clearly connected with how the working class are
treated than other social indicators such as infant mortality.  For
instance, compare the USA and many European nations with strong
social democratic traditions.  It is clear that in many ways Euro
workers have it better than American ones (pension, vacation,
unemployment insurance, parental leave, child care, etc.), and yet
the suicide rates have been lower in the USA than Finland, Austria,
Norway, France, Germany, etc. (the exception is the Netherlands).
See the comparative stats from 1997 at

At 9:32 AM -0800 12/8/00, Marta Russell wrote:
>people put as much energy into activism to get a better health
>care system as they do on this "right to die" issue, we might
>have something better.  The "right to die" is a political
>diversion from the real need.

I agree with Marta here, in that, at the very least in the USA, there
is a much more pressing need to achieve universal health care than
the "right to die."

However, once you achieve universal health care, or better yet
socialism, the question may re-emerge as a real need, since under
socialism folks will still experience the problems of aging,
sickness, injury, and death, even after you eliminate all socially &
politically generated problems.


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