"We found that suicide rates were rising. That opened another door: What about mortality in general? That’s when we found that mortality among whites in middle age was actually increasing. That came as a surprise to us, so we tried it out on friends of ours at medical schools. We thought this result must be known to them, or others, but it came as a surprise to basically everyone we showed these results to.
“所以我们深入研究后发现，并不是心脏病在增加，也不是癌症在增加。结果显示，自杀、酗酒导致的肝脏死亡率和药物过量增加最多，我们将这些因素合并为我们所说的“绝望死亡”。因为对我们来说，这一切都像是自杀;要么用枪迅速杀人要么用毒品和酒精慢慢杀人. ...从白人、非西班牙裔的角度来看，这是一个狭窄的人口统计，是的，但它贯穿了整个中年时期。这种情况发生在20多岁、30多岁、40多岁和50多岁的人群中. ...受打击的群体是学历低于学士学位的人，更确切地说，是高中或更低学历的人。这些群体的死亡风险最高。
"None of that would’ve come to light if we had continued to make progress against heart disease in the U.S. Unlike other rich countries where mortality rates from heart disease are falling, they flat-lined in the U.S. We don’t really understand why. Some people are saying, `We’ve been telling you for two decades that you’re all getting fat and that eventually obesity will catch up with you.' But that’s a little bit premature, we think, because in Britain, the obesity rates are almost as high as they are in the U.S., and yet their heart disease rates continue to fall. So it’s something of a mystery. If heart disease progress had continued, it would’ve overwhelmed the increases we’ve seen in drugs and alcohol and suicide. But given that it’s flat-lined, it’s allowed those deaths to actually cause mortality rates to rise. We don’t fully have a picture of why this has happened even though the National Institutes of Health are spending $30 billion annually on health research and as a country we are spending $3 trillion a year on health care.
"Coming to the policy part of this, we think that, while it’s not an easy thing to do, it’s relatively easy to turn off the taps for the prescription opioids, which are out of control. I think that a consensus is building for this, despite a lot of push-back from medical doctors who will say, `You come to my clinic, you look at these people who are in horrible pain and you tell me not to prescribe them something that can actually relieve their pain.' Well, we understand there’s a place for prescription opioids, but we think that they’re not currently being prescribed at an appropriate level. The fact that at current levels, every adult in the U.S. could be taking opioids around the clock for three weeks is more than probably makes any sense at all.
“在夸祖鲁 - 纳塔尔的这一部分，也在开普敦外的开普镇，我们还有一个现场网站，葬礼非常昂贵。...在祖鲁兰的这一部分，可能是唯一蓬勃发展的业务funeral business. ... When a baby dies, or a child at a very young age, there would be a traditional funeral. You would wrap them in a blanket and put them in the ground, and there’d be cookies and tea. When poor people died in old age, they would have an old-age funeral policy that would pay for their funerals; they pay in every month a little bit of money, and that takes care of funeral expenses.
"It was also impossible for local areas to say, `OK, we’re going to make a pact in this local area: No one has an expensive funeral,' because your family who is coming all the way from Johannesburg, they didn’t buy into that. They wanted to come and have this enormous party. It was very important to be able to do that. ... And if you couldn’t afford to bury your dead according to the status of that person, you would borrow money, and as a last resort you would borrow from a money lender at uxorious rates.
"I think that women in economics oftentimes find that government work is one in which there’s more teamwork and their skills are fully recognized. A lot of women go into government instead of academia because when they look around they think, this is actually an environment that seems pretty healthy. And I think that it’s not the case that economics is altogether a healthy discipline for women.