Lion of the Blogosphere

Joblessness causes mortality, not obesity

Article in the NY Times reporting on new health research:

The researchers used a health survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, drawing on data from about 47,000 women ages 45 to 84. The study weighed more than a dozen factors to see which were causing the divergence in mortality rates. Poverty, obesity, homeownership, marital status and alcohol consumption were among the factors investigated.

But they mattered little. As it turned out, smoking was important, as had long been established, but researchers were surprised that joblessness had a dramatic effect, even after controlling for factors that employment would have generated, like income and health insurance.

Not only was obesity not related to health, neither were other factors I would have guessed would be, such as marital status or homeownership (both being correlated with higher class and higher IQ).

I think this result is real and not bad statistics. I think that people need to have meaning in life, which is sadly, for most people, provided by having a job. This is why the elites are correct in understanding the importance of having a self-actualizing career.

The best way to improve health, therefore, is not with anti-obesity campaigns, or even just by giving away money (because poverty wasn’t even important). The government needs to provide meaningful make-work (not an oxymoron) so people who are otherwise economically useless have something self-actualizing to do.

I’ve previously suggested that the government pay people to play online games like World of Warcraft, but for people who can’t get into that, we could also pay people for excelling in sports leagues or other activities.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 30, 2013 at 9:47 AM

57 Responses

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  1. Don’t get too excited. First of all, of all this is correlational, so the standard caveats should apply.

    Secondly, the “decline” in life expectancy for the least educated women shouldn’t be any surprise – ala Charles Murray. As you have noted, genetic stratification is at play, so the lower classes (and the uneducated) are increasingly composed of the “genetic dregs”.

    Furthermore, the obesity-life expectancy thing is all BS anyway. Obesity is negatively correlated with IQ. See here:

    Obesity and IQ | JayMan’s Blog

    And, as it turns out, IQ is strongly related to mortality. This quite likely isn’t just because higher IQ people are better off materially or because they take better care of themselves. They appear to be intrinsically healthier as well. In fact, at least one study has shown that IQ is a much stronger predictor of early death than is obesity:

    IQ and Death | JayMan’s Blog

    They key is likely genetic load. Lower IQ people have more deleterious mutations, and that negatively impacts bodily integrity across the board.


    May 30, 2013 at 10:03 AM

    • I wonder if the same effect explains why Ashkenazi jews have a heightened risk for just about every illness you can think of. For some diseases such as Tay Sachs, there is a theory that carriers are somewhat smarter. For some diseases, it is a single gene that was present in the original Ashkenazim gene pool (founder effect). However, the sheer number of diseases for which being jewish is a risk factor leads me to believe that there is something greater at play. Due to the jews having been the outcast ghetto people in Europe for like 2000 years, the deleterious mutations of Europe may have funneled down to them.


      May 30, 2013 at 12:53 PM

      • Then why are they so smart and successful?


        May 30, 2013 at 3:38 PM

      • I don’t think Akz. Jews have higher risks for most diseases. Life expectancy in Israel is 82, one of the highest in the world. At the majority of the elderly people there are Akzs.


        May 30, 2013 at 7:17 PM

      • “Due to the jews having been the outcast ghetto people in Europe for like 2000 years, the deleterious mutations of Europe may have funneled down to them.”

        What does that even mean? Are you suggesting they bred with other populations?


        May 31, 2013 at 2:26 AM

      • I wasn’t suggesting that they are not smart and successful.
        However, there is basically a whole LIST of conditions for which being jewish is a risk factor.
        Perhaps, folks with deletrious mutations had no where to go but to go to the ghetto.


        May 31, 2013 at 7:22 AM

      • Jews should marry gentiles in order to prevent genetic diseases.

      • “Jews should marry gentiles in order to prevent genetic diseases.”

        Funny, that’s exactly what one Jewish nursing student said at a party with lots of med students and law students


        May 31, 2013 at 7:51 AM

      • “What does that even mean? Are you suggesting they bred with other populations?”

        They did, especially along maternal lines in Eastern Europe. Also a large portion of ashkenazi jews are descendants of the Khazars who converted en masse in the 7th century. Anyone with a “Levite” or “Kohen” type surname can probably credit the Khazars, who adopted these names because they didn’t convert under halachic auspices (halachically those names would have been forbidden).


        May 31, 2013 at 9:03 AM

      • “Also a large portion of ashkenazi jews are descendants of the Khazars who converted en masse in the 7th century”.

        It could be true as Attila the Hun is usually played by an actor who could pass as Ashkenazi.

        Just Speculating

        June 2, 2013 at 5:12 PM

  2. Or maybe if you’re in danger of dying soon, you are ill enough to have trouble holding a job? Repeat after me… correlation does not imply causation.

    Aleph One

    May 30, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    • That was my first thought, too. The article says “there is no evidence” of the jobless people being sicker, but is there any evidence that they were NOT sicker? Also there could be other lurking variables such as contentiousness that effect both death rate and employment rate.


      May 30, 2013 at 3:42 PM

  3. It’s also quite possible there’s a higher proportion of chronically ill people who are unemployed than employed. After-all, those with certain chronic illnesses are likely unemployed due to their chronic illness.

    However, I do agree many people do derive meaning from their work and being unemployed causes people to experience stress due to the the stigma of being unemployed, boredom from having nothing to do, malnutrition, social isolation (many people’s social lives revolves work), etc. But then there are studies that show that working in a toxic environment can cause stresses that lead to early mortality. I suppose to live the longest life possible, one must work at a self-actualizing job that provides low amounts of bad stress and mild to moderate amounts of good stress. Or if they don’t work, they must continually engage in activities that provide low amounts of bad stress and mild to moderate amounts of good stress.

    Check out this PDF “8 Habits of Successful Retirees”

    Click to access 8-Habits-Poster.pdf

    Living a long and prosperous life boils down to constantly being engaged in meaningful at least somewhat difficult activities, eating healthily, exercising, and having lots of close and meaningful social interactions.


    May 30, 2013 at 10:15 AM

  4. Unemp0loyment is a misleading category in a survey of people 45 to 84 because a significant percentage will be retired.


    May 30, 2013 at 10:17 AM

  5. Sorry, but those who are doing make-work KNOW they’re doing make-work, and still feel just as useless.


    May 30, 2013 at 10:51 AM

  6. “pay people for excelling in sports leagues”

    Well, uh, to some extent we already do that.


    May 30, 2013 at 11:18 AM

  7. “I think this result is real and not bad statistics. I think that people need to have meaning in life, which is sadly, for most people, provided by having a job. This is why the elites are correct in understanding the importance of having a self-actualizing career”.

    The key issue is salary and a consumerist society. A lot of individuals would put the effort to earning a high salary to support a hedonistic consumerist lifestyle, which America was and still is, to a large extent of the dumbed down population.

    And when does the gov’t or even the elite doesn’t get it, that lower IQ individuals and the less privileged don’t care about self actualization? The rich and powerful are selfish, and the fact that self actualization for most people is impractical and unsustainable.

    Inner city Non-Asian minorities are happy to have a job that earns them a living. Many proles are happy to have a decent paying job as well.

    Self Actualization would mostly come from self-employment or independent work, not working as an employee with higher up controls in place.

    Just Speculating

    May 30, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    • Yes. Last night (faux pas coming) Charlie Rose was talking to TED’s most popular speaker. The guy didn’t seem to understand that if everyone had a self-actualizing career everyone would be poor.

      Nicolai Yezhov

      May 30, 2013 at 7:05 PM

  8. Nope, I got something better than that. Combine this finding with our secular religion; environmentalism.

    Pay people to address environmental issues. Create the “Civilian Environmental Corps”, plant trees, restore habitats, shit like that. Do the sweaty, hard work, thus making makework for males.


    May 30, 2013 at 11:42 AM

  9. Is “housewife” considered a job here?


    May 30, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    • Only if she has a housekeeper and a nanny.


      May 30, 2013 at 1:49 PM

  10. An amazing factoid in this study is that high-education women are four times as likely to be heavy drinkers than low education women. And the low education women are twice as likely to be lifelong abstainers from alcohol than high education women. I would have expected the opposite.


    May 30, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    • Nope, drinking is high class. I’ve known that for many years.

      • Dear Lion of the Blogosphere:
        For the point of reference, do you consider yourself as “high class”, or as something else ?
        Respectfully yours, F.r.

        Florida resident

        May 30, 2013 at 3:40 PM

      • It wasn’t the class association that surprised me but that women of (I assume) higher intelligence would be heavier drinkers. You learn something everyday.

        Yet I had read, elsewhere, that women who drink wine regularly during pregnancy have children with higher IQ, than children born to teetotaler moms. I never quite knew what to make of that.


        May 30, 2013 at 8:38 PM

      • Oh yeah, so why do Proles drink?

        Just Speculating

        May 30, 2013 at 9:21 PM

      • depends which alcohol. 40s? ghetto. coors light? prolejuice. white wine: middle class. cabernet sauvignon and artisanal beers (especially hoppy brews like Lagunitas IPA): upper middle class. lagavulin single malt scotch: upper class and some striver SWPLs.

        btw there are studies out there showing higher IQ people do drink more than lower IQ people, so it’s not just conjecture. Kanazawa explains this phenomenon as the result of smarter people needing more novelty in their lives. relatedly, i hang with a lot of ivy grads who drop E, spark it up and snort. doesn’t seem to affect their social or occupational functioning.

        “The best way to improve health, therefore, is not with anti-obesity campaigns,”

        but it is the best way to improve the scenery. fat craps are a blight on the land.

        lords of lies

        May 31, 2013 at 12:02 AM

      • Drinking, or getting drunk? Cheers.

        Let's drink to our health

        May 31, 2013 at 7:07 AM

    • Drinking is just about the only “bad” thing correlated with higher IQ.

      You could make the argument that delayed sexual activity is bad too, I guess, but speculations on dysgenic trends aside, it’s good for society overall.

      Jokah Macpherson

      May 30, 2013 at 5:05 PM

      • And not just in this country. It’s true in the UK too. Alcoholism/heavy drinking comes in degrees. The wino is a very extreme case.

        Nicolai Yezhov

        May 31, 2013 at 4:34 AM

    • Not amazing at all. The effects of copious alcohol consumption on mind and body varies enormously.

      Alcohol’s ill-effects are greatly exaggerated, and those ill-effects should be least in Europeans, the world’s biggest drinkers for a long time.

      Very few long time alcoholics will ever develop cirrhosis or throat cancer or cardiomyopathy. It is a myth that alcohol kills brain cells. In fact, alcoholic dementia without Wernicke-Korsakoff (which is actually just thiamine deficiency) is totally reversible, as are the gross structural changes in the brain which can be seen on MRI (I guess).

      Nicolai Yezhov

      May 30, 2013 at 6:57 PM

      • The effects of copious alcohol consumption on mind and body varies enormously.

        Moderate alcohol consumption stimulates Alpha brainwaves. Alpha waves influence creativity because they improve coordination between brain hemispheres. Another way to stimulate Alpha state is by drinking green tea.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        May 30, 2013 at 10:26 PM

      • In a similar vein, Marijuana’s ill effects are even more greatly exaggerated. People who smoke (marijuana) heavily are often losers who were not intelligent or conscientious to begin with.

        de Broglie

        May 30, 2013 at 10:46 PM

      • Right. Marijuana is illegal largely because it is associated with Mexicans and other poor people. Marijuana smoking isn’t even a risk for throat cancer.

        Nicolai Yezhov

        May 31, 2013 at 4:36 AM

  11. The government needs to provide meaningful make-work

    Hmmmm. How about, oh I dunno, picking fruits and vegetables? Working as bus boys in restaurants? Cleaning hotel rooms? Janitors? Cab drivers? Working in meat packing plants? Construction jobs? Lawn service jobs? Fast food prep?

    Why is it that Americans don’t seem to be filling those meaningful jobs?


    May 30, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    • I think these jobs should be subsidized. Employers who hire people whose labor market value is in the $5-8 range are providing a public service by keeping them off the street and giving them a sense of purpose. Paying people to do WOW produces nothing at all useful, while paying half the salaries of a janitor or lawn service crew means more low-skill employment.


      May 30, 2013 at 7:20 PM

      • “…and giving them a sense of purpose.”

        Dear God what rot. All of those “jobs” listed ARE make-work jobs.

        If working in food service or mowing lawns gives you purpose you’ve really been suckered. Civilized people are so freakishly deformed, including the people who think “working” in a restaurant is work. If these people weren’t fooled they’d revert to a primitive existence, work four hours a day at most and whenever they fealt like it. Instead almost everyone is a f—ing slave.

        Nicolai Yezhov

        May 31, 2013 at 4:42 AM

    • Make works job are not necessarily a bad idea but it is absurd to start there and not with restricting immigration, restricting trade, and using the tax code to shift capital towards labor intensive industries.


      May 30, 2013 at 7:48 PM

      • “Make work” jobs wouldn’t be necessary with a lot less immigration. There are about 8M employed illegals. The past two days men of undetermined immigration status have been doing some lawn-care work outside my apt building. I did that work when I was a teenager, with no prior work experience.

        aki (@DSGNTD_PLYR)

        May 30, 2013 at 9:30 PM

      • i agree. Restricting immigration was first on the list of things I think we should try before make work jobs.


        May 31, 2013 at 3:05 AM

  12. This may be well-traveled territory, but why aren’t STEM careers considered “self-actualizing”?

    James McKeane

    May 30, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    • It could be, but one would have to have a very nerdy personality to derive self actualization from it – the very sort of personality that is stigmatized by SWPLs. For most people, deriving some sort of status from a job is important.


      May 30, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    • Most people find computer programming really boring. There are some really bad employment practices in the tech sector as well. If your a nerd with a sky high IQ that can get on a good programming career track it could potentially be self actualizing.


      June 1, 2013 at 9:26 PM

      • IT is boring. So is Finance, Law and Engineering I suppose. Anything than leans vocational is boring, if taught via only textbook, which most learning institutions practice nowadays.

        Worse part of IT is that it is a field defined by Beta nerds and Proles. Beta nerds are usually programmers and Proles make up a lot of the vendor hardware troubleshooting side of things. IT in a place such as NYC is at even a lower status, because of its growing presence of non-Asian minorities (non-programmers)entering the field.

        Lion is correct that in NYC, having an elite job or a self actualizing one is very important. For an educated person, working with Proles and Non-Asian minorities is definitely no fun.

        Just Speculating

        June 2, 2013 at 11:29 AM

  13. “…which is sadly, for most people, provided by having a job.”

    Corresponds to my experience though not to me. There is even a saying, “Retirement kills.” It always seems strange to me when people say they’re still working because they have nothing else to do. Really? Isn’t there a mountain of books you’d like to read but haven’t had the time?

    “…even after controlling for factors that employment would have generated…”

    Unemployment is a drag for most, but there are a lot of other factors. If one doesn’t fit in his society whether it is for virtue or vice he’s more likely to be unemployed. Wouldn’t sick people be less likely to be employed?

    Nicolai Yezhov

    May 30, 2013 at 6:50 PM

  14. I wonder why it’s often the people we know with every material comfort who are the least satisfied with life. What if happiness comes from meeting our needs, and if all your basic (lower rungs of Maslow’s pyramid) needs are met, the only need left to be met is that of self-actualization… and since so few people are able to achieve self-actualization, those who have every need already met are ironically the least likely to be happy.


    May 30, 2013 at 7:23 PM

  15. Via Kevin Drum:

    “If you live in India, you can now get a job staring at a monitor that displays images of American doctors entering hospital rooms thousands of miles away. Your task is to sound an alarm if the doctor fails to wash his hands.
    This may sound disturbingly similar to being an auditor for the telephone handset sanitizers guild, but in practice it turns out to be very effective. It also turns out that this Big Brotherish technology has gotten a big boost from the passage of Obamacare. Someone alert Sean Hannity.”

    Why is this being outsourced to India? Why couldn’t we pay the same sub minimum wage waiters make, then top it off with a piece-rate whenever an alarm is properly sounded to get the wage equal to, or greater than the minimum?

    aki (@DSGNTD_PLYR)

    May 30, 2013 at 9:24 PM

  16. Common man’s story: I have a useless graduate degree and had been unemployed for 2.5 years b/c I did not want to do service work and would not take the degrees off my applications, until recently. I now work as a security guard. The job is low paying, but absolute pie. The hard part is working around a bunch of low IQ people. Here is a question form the other day, “are you good with a phone book”? This question sums up my work environment. On one hand, I do like having something to do and can easily thrive at this job, whereas my coworkers simply cannot do the job well. On the other hand, I had mostly adapted to being unemployed. I was devouring books, playing music, working on old clocks, drinking, working out, and basically sleeping 12 hrs and up for 12 hrs doing the mentioned. I felt great. Now I come home frustrated with coworkers, passively drink, get much less sleep, while collecting my little pay check. I am still trying to strike a new balance here.


    May 30, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    • I feel your pain. I work at a menial job, and the average iq of my co-workers is in the 90s. I try to be friendly but remain standoffish. The stuff these people say and do is just incredibly stupid and ridiculous; I often feel embarrassed for these people and embarrassed being in proximity to them. There are a few outliers with iqs above 110, whom I tend to talk to the most and whose company I don’t mind much.

      I too feel drained after work (around midnight) and just vegge out until I sleep. I then wake up one hour before work in the afternoon, so I rarely have much time or energy to do much. I end up eating overpriced crap food and slacking off on chiseling my physique and keeping my cardiovascular system up to par.


      May 31, 2013 at 4:12 AM

    • Same here. I love my menial job and excel at it but I can’t stand 1/2 of my co workers (through and through proles). My job requires communication competency yet half the e-mails I deal with on a daily basis are incoherent and illegible. It took me awhile to learn how to appear like I care while not caring. Often times it’s what gets me out of difficult interpersonal situations with people who have 0 interpersonal skills.

      Let's drink to our health

      May 31, 2013 at 7:34 AM

  17. If we can’t find productive uses for able-bodied humans, that is simply a failure of our imagination. The commenters above have proferred several reasonable uses for folks that are currently ZMP, and I am sure that some smart people could think up many more. The problem is not that people have low or no skill, it is that society does not demand that they do something useful. Apart from a small number of truly disabled humans, everyone has something to contribute, in a freer society (no minimum wage, drastically reduced regulation) the market would find a use for the. A better managed society would find useful contributions for them to make, or train them to do something worthwhile, and motivate or demand that they earn their keep.


    May 30, 2013 at 10:25 PM

    • Wishful libertarian thinking.

    • One who wants a “better managed society” is not a libertarian.

      It is also true that many people capable of being engineers or programmers aren’t. Some may be lit majors working at a coffee shop.

      It is also also true (hee hee) that there are plenty of real jobs, jobs which need doing, which do not require an IQ > 100; bricklaying is one.

      Nicolai Yezhov

      May 31, 2013 at 12:19 AM

    • Critics of automation have claimed in the past that high unemployment has been avoided only by increases in govt hiring. That’s over. Thank you austerity-tards.

      Nicolai Yezhov

      May 31, 2013 at 12:21 AM

  18. “The best way to improve health, therefore, is not with anti-obesity campaigns, or even just by giving away money (because poverty wasn’t even important).”

    People should go to elite colleges and live in gated communities if they don’t want to be obese. Very little obesity among people who do those things.

    Steve Johnson

    May 31, 2013 at 3:14 AM

  19. […] Joblessness causes mortality, not obesity […]

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