Stream of Suicides Accelerating

by francine Hardaway on January 8, 2009

Sitting in LAX between planes on my way to India, I do what every geek does; I catch up on my feeds. I scan fewer than one hundred feeds, and read of three suicides: one, a Berlin investor, Adolph Merckle, who killed himself over his stock losses; another the head of a Chicago real estate auction company, and the third a follow up story on Thierry de la Villehuchet, the owner of a feeder fund for Madoff.

What do you make of this (as Larry King would say):

“His spirit broken by financial fears, German billionaire Adolf Merckle took his own life this week — becoming the latest high-profile casualty of a global economic crisis that already has claimed the lives of executives in Europe and the U.S.”

And from the same article, here’s one I didn’t know about:

In September, Kirk Stephenson — the chief operating officer of private equity house Olivant — jumped in front of a train at a rail station west of London. The 47-year-old husband and father of a young son stepped onto the tracks, was struck and killed.

Events like these have prompted the Japanese government to take advance precautions against the potential for rising suicide rates in Japan, a country where, according to the BBC, one in five people has thought of killing himself/herself at one time or another.

So now let’s think about this for a minute. There are some conclusions, erroneous or not, that can be drawn. Some of are obvious, but some aren’t so obvious.

1) Money may not buy happiness, but the sudden loss of money certainly does bring despair.
2) Wealthy people may become depressed even though they will never starve in a downturn. They’re not very resilient
3) Money is the way of keeping score in developed countries, and if you lose your money, you often lose your sense of self-worth
4) Suicide bombers might have a common view of this life with people who lost their money: It’s not worth living anymore.
5) Some people are actually so embarrassed to have lost money entrusted to them by others that they commit the modern version of hara-kiri.
6)It’s probably a great time to be going to India, a country in which people are not only very poor, but also have less of an attachment to material things.

Am I wrong?

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