Not Just a Paycheck

I did terrible (3/10) on the health equality quiz! However, although I was surprised by most there was not a single fact I didn’t find interesting. I seemed to come close to the right answer on the numerical based questions but the correct answer was almost always more extreme than I would have guessed. I found it interesting but not very surprising that the U.S. life expectancy went from top five highest fifty years ago to twenty-ninth now. However the fact that there was twenty-nine countries within three years of life expectancy made this less surprising. I did not realize the health problems in Harlem were to the extent they were. I found it bizarre that recent latino immigrants were had the highest life expectancy until figuring that their health was at the top before entering the U.S. which is when it began to decline. Lastly, I was very surprised that the top one percent of Americans had more wealth than the bottom ninety percent.  I know there are the Bill Gates and Warren Buffets out there but I would never imagine the difference to be quite that extreme.

The clip “Not Just a Paycheck” left me feeling overwhelmed and shocked by how fast your life can take a turn based on a job loss and the individuals resulting health. The shutting down of Electrolux lead to a loss of 2,700 jobs in a town that only held around 8,000 people. People whom worked upwards of twenty to forty years. With that came sorrow, disbelief, and a decline in these individuals overall health. From 2000 to 2001 suicide attempts tripled with the loss of Electrolux and high levels of cortisol increased blood pressure leaving higher possibility of stroke and heart problems in these stressed individuals. And Electrolux wasn’t the only factory shut down. From 1995 to present day american factory workers went from 1/3 of population to now under 13%. I could not believe how helpless these people were in the following years.

As far as these health disparities were concerned, non genetic factors seemed to be the case. As one individual said he felt as if he were living a 25-year-old life when on his own time and employed and now felt his age with nothing to do aside from searching for a job. I felt an overall depressed state of mind coming from these unemployed with some even seeking medical help. In some cases all members of the family were left without jobs. Depression and hopelessness filled these people’s lives entirely from a loss of Electrolux and everything they once knew.


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  1. Pamela says:

    I completely agree with you on how the clip made you feel overwhelmed. It’s incredible how their factory was practically all they ever had and to know that it happens almost everyday is even crazier. I feel like their depression could have been avoided had the factory prepared them for a shut-down or at least helped them get other jobs before completely shutting down like that. That many people losing jobs equals that many people becoming unfit for life and it’s economic-based demands. Not only the company, but where was the governor or the community president or someone within a higher field to help them get back up, ya know? You start to question everything.
    In cases like that, the solution should be within the political field. It is, first and foremost, the responsibility of the political leaders to prevent things like this from happening just because the company wants to add more money into its corporation. Since when did the longevity of a company trump human life? The government should be more than responsible for the status of depression and unemployment that it left these people with. Government’s role in society is to act as man’s protector, not its enemy.

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