The Economics of Suicide

Collectivism is “a term used to describe any moral, political, or social outlook, that stresses human interdependence and the importance of a collective, rather than the importance of separate individuals.” Socialism and social democracy fit in nicely here, as does social-liberalism, fascism, Nazism, communism, Christianity, Islam, and virtually every other major religion or ideology that has dominated mankind. Suffer for the collective, that is your duty.

Something that truly shocked me, and that I think represents the morbid utilitarianism of collectivism, is a report by the Swedish Rescue Services Agency that details the cost to society for each suicide. It totals the cost each year to roughly 5,5 billion SEK, and reaches that enormous sum by calculating what the total of all suicide victims’ annual income would have been had they lived. According to the agency, 84% of the so called cost to society in their report is from “loss of productivity.”

Right. So if someone is suffering through so much pain that they decide to actually end their lives, they are failing in their duty to provide “society” with as much cash as possible for as long as possible? It speaks of a sickening, disgusting view on individual rights in this collectivist country that the primary duty of an individual is to work for the sake of “society”, whomever or whatever that is.

Let me make a few things clear. First, there is no such thing as society, and no man or woman has duty to it. You have a duty to yourself, your family, and your friends, not to people you don’t know, and certainly not to bureaucrats in Stockholm. Secondly, adding up hypothetical sums and then subtracting it as debt owed to the government is godawful science, and outright evil politics.

Just when I thought socialists couldn’t sink any lower in their scheme to leech the blood out of everyone they can con into thinking they “owe society”, they manage to truly surprise me. Well done, collectivists, well done indeed.


~ by Escaping Perdition on February 25, 2009.

2 Responses to “The Economics of Suicide”

  1. Man har väl skyldigheter mot alla människor då det gäller att inte skada dem? Typ i enlighet med Mills skadeprincip?

  2. I’ll translate what Jenny wrote for the benefit of readers who don’t speak Swedish.

    Don’t you have duties towards all people regarding not hurting them? In accordance with John Stuart Mill’s harm principle?

    This is an excellent point to bring up. I’d like to clarify, first off, that while Mill had many admirable traits and ideas, he was a utilitarian (like Torbjörn Tännsjö). He saw individualism as a road to greater prosperity for all, rather than as a goal in itself. Secondly, and more to the point, the harm principle only requires that you do no harm to others. It doesn’t prevent you from harming yourself.

    My issue with the government’s take on suicide is that it establishes it as your unquestioned duty to work until the age of 65 in order to subsidize other people’s benefits, and if you do not, then you’re a cost to society. In fact, I’d say casting the blame for 5 billion in lost, imaginary money on those who suffered enough that they were willing to take their own lives grossly breaches the Harm Principle. It’s bad science, and bad morals.

    Imagine if the same flawed methodology was applied to abortions, for example. We have 40,000 of them yearly in Sweden. If we assume that everyone between 25 and 65 works, and each of them earns around 200,000 a year on average, then society “loses” 320,000,000,000 SEK every year because of those abortions.

    I propose that instead of blaming those who aren’t even alive, we celebrate those who create jobs and opportunities. Meanwhile, we can put the real blame for costing real money on the moochers and looters who exploit the system for their own gain, at all our expense.

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