Commentary > The silent epidemic
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  • Stephen Mikesell

    One could say that there was even more of a “severe lack of development” prior to the 1950s, so why was not suicide worse then? Why has it seemed to grow relative to expansion of what is being called development?

    I know that in the seventies, however, there were already suicides in Nepal as the anthropologist John Hitchcock after having lost a daughter to suicide (what Americans call a “homely” 16 year-old girl who after being kept by the mom from returning to Nepal to live, where unlike in the U.S. she said people treated her kindly and affectionately despite her looks, hanged herself), had investigated recurrent suicides and accompanying mental health issues here.

    I may note as well that currently in the United States the highest rate of teen and farmer death currently is suicide, so would we say there is a severe surfeit of development there?

    Anyway, analytically, “development” is a meaningless term which was formalized in the fifties as a teleological process (5 stages of development) to counter the Marxist teleology of advancement of society towards communism being propagated at the time by the Comintern, and to provide an ideological cover for the continuation and indeed intensified colonial penetration into world cultures in a so-called post-colonial world.

    I think that analysis would be much clearer if we got a better understanding of the content of our terms, particularly in Nepal this word “development.” And perhaps one should look for commonalities worldwide, such as the ascendancy of world dominance by finance capital–which has expanded from taking 3% of profits to 60% the of profits and has concentrated something like 80% of the world’s wealth into the hands of 64 people since 1971, accompanied by liquidation of ecosystems and their communities, and accompanying constriction of opportunities and possibilities for humanity and the planet.

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