An insight from my brother on societal supports and social infrastructure
I hadn't seen my brother, who lives in Florida, for many many years. He came to see me, all too briefly, when I was in the hospital two weeks ago.
As men do, we didn't express dying love for each other, we just talked about stuff.
One of the points he made is that why are so many state governments focusing on legalizing drugs ("How America got high as a kite," Financial Times). For the money, and sometimes, theoretically, to be able to focus on helping people instead of criminalizing them, although the Oregon initiative isn't really working ("Oregon Decriminalized Hard Drugs. It Isn't Working," ) and it seems that the Portugal policy too has diminishing returns ("Portugal's drug decriminalization faces opposition as addiction multiplies," Washington Post).
I had no idea until a couple years ago, that the death rate from overdoses is significantly higher than that from murders or car accidents.
We talked about legalizing drugs as a form of anesthetization. This is called by some economists, sociologists and health researchers, "Deaths of Despair." It and covid are contributing to the US's decline in lifespan ("Life expectancy in U.S. is falling amid surges in chronic illness," Washington Post).
He said instead of legalizing drugs we should be investing in people. We didn't talk about national health care. He mentioned investing in arts programs for people, for expanded educational opportunities, for investments in civic assets.
What Eric Klinenberg calls Social Infrastructure. And how I write about social urbanism.
Of course, he's right.