Saturday, May 29, 2010

If Suicide is Caused by Mental Illness, Why Improve Working Conditions at Suicide Hotspots?

In response to a high number of worker suicides at miserable Chinese iPad factories, the bosses are, apparently, giving the workers a raise.

The most common argument for forcibly preventing suicides is that they are brought on by irrationality, by mental illness. So what good is a rational incentive going to do in the face of elevated suicide rates?

People need to admit that suicide is rational, already.


  1. It's just a fail-safe in case the exorcisms and the nets. don't work. But no, suicide is totally caused by mental illness. You see, non-stop monotonous minimum-wage work in an impersonal environment with abusive supervisors and no prospects is what made them mentally ill and therefore irrational. Because we all know that suicide is irrational by definition.

  2. I wonder what the hourly opportunity cost of suicide comes out to.

  3. Point taken.

    However, I can't help wondering to what extent the narrative about this episode is colored by Western sensibilities. Could this be a culture-bound contagion?


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