Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, life expectancy in the United States was in decline and the educational gap in the age of death was widening. What Angus Deaton and Anne Case labelled as ‘deaths of despair’ - deaths from suicide, drug overdose and alcoholic liver disease disproportionately affecting less-educated Americans - rose from 65,000 in 1995 to 150,000 in 2018. Over the same period, a sixfold increase in share prices as measured by the S&P 500 largely benefited wealthier Americans, a group more likely to own equities, either directly or through pension plans. Is it fair to argue that for those who used to prosper in America, capitalism is no longer delivering? And how does the unfolding global health crisis intersect with such findings?
Drawing on his most recent research, Professor Angus Deaton will reflect on whether and how the flaws of capitalism can be addressed to help build a more prosperous and just world. What social and economic forces explain the rise of ‘deaths of despair’? Will the COVID-19 pandemic reverse or exacerbate these trends? How might social distancing measures and outbreak containment policies reshape the US and global economies? And what does this mean for the future of capitalism?
This event is part of a fortnightly series of ‘Business in Focus’ webinars reflecting on the impact of COVID-19 on areas of particular professional interest for our corporate members and giving circles.
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Professor Angus Deaton, Dwight D Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs Emeritus, Princeton University; Co-Author, Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism
Chair: Creon Butler, Research Director, Trade, Investment & New Governance Models and Director, Global Economy and Finance Programme, Chatham House