The Economics of Death

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Aemilius
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The Economics of Death

Post by Aemilius »

"We need to have a talk about your future. You're going to die. We all are. And it's probably going to be expensive. This week on Crash Course Economics, Adriene is talking about the economics of death. Some of the expense is tied to the cost of end-of-life health care, but funerals are a big business, too."

Adriene and the Crash Course team manage to explain a sensitive topic with admirable clarity.

svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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Queequeg
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Re: The Economics of Death

Post by Queequeg »

Way too much spent on end of life care.
There is no suffering to be severed. Ignorance and klesas are indivisible from bodhi. There is no cause of suffering to be abandoned. Since extremes and the false are the Middle and genuine, there is no path to be practiced. Samsara is nirvana. No severance achieved. No suffering nor its cause. No path, no end. There is no transcendent realm; there is only the one true aspect. There is nothing separate from the true aspect.
-Guanding, Perfect and Sudden Contemplation,
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Tao
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Re: The Economics of Death

Post by Tao »

In Spain we use to have a "burial insurance" so you pay a little bit every year for insuring your burial.

About medical cost at the end of life, they're zero euros for the citizen as in the usual first world countries. We pay it through taxes (hoping the rich pay more and more)

About life expectancy here is 84 years (7 more years than in the US) and that's no economic problem at all except if you dont want to tax the rich people.

A lot of supposed problems ara just the same problem: inequality.
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Queequeg
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Re: The Economics of Death

Post by Queequeg »

Tao wrote: Fri Jun 14, 2024 11:00 am In Spain we use to have a "burial insurance" so you pay a little bit every year for insuring your burial.

About medical cost at the end of life, they're zero euros for the citizen as in the usual first world countries. We pay it through taxes (hoping the rich pay more and more)

About life expectancy here is 84 years (7 more years than in the US) and that's no economic problem at all except if you dont want to tax the rich people.

A lot of supposed problems ara just the same problem: inequality.
There is more to it than that. People in the US either have public or private insurance, so paying out of pocket is not a particular problem.

The problem lies with excessive efforts to marginally extend life. Every moment of life matters, for certain. But, in many cases, extraordinary efforts are made at extraordinary cost to extend life for days in a quality of life that is not optimal. I suppose there are many reasons, but the most significant are family members who do not want the regret of not having done everything to keep their loved one alive. I think this reflects a problematic attitude toward life and dying, and is an economic problem secondarily.

Maybe if people DID have to pay, the calculation would be different. As it is, end of life care is a way for hospitals to bilk the government and insurance companies for staggering fees.

In any event, many Americans are screwed up in the head and have no tools to deal with dying and death.
There is no suffering to be severed. Ignorance and klesas are indivisible from bodhi. There is no cause of suffering to be abandoned. Since extremes and the false are the Middle and genuine, there is no path to be practiced. Samsara is nirvana. No severance achieved. No suffering nor its cause. No path, no end. There is no transcendent realm; there is only the one true aspect. There is nothing separate from the true aspect.
-Guanding, Perfect and Sudden Contemplation,
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Tao
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Re: The Economics of Death

Post by Tao »

>every moment of life matters, for certain.

That's all for me. I respect the rest of your opinion but I disagree. That moment of life is priceless. It will be a big drama if we start putting price to that moments.

Here in Spain we have legal assisted suicide, so until then, applies the above. It's your choice.
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Queequeg
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Re: The Economics of Death

Post by Queequeg »

Tao wrote: Fri Jun 14, 2024 12:28 pm >every moment of life matters, for certain.

That's all for me. I respect the rest of your opinion but I disagree. That moment of life is priceless. It will be a big drama if we start putting price to that moments.

Here in Spain we have legal assisted suicide, so until then, applies the above. It's your choice.
Yeah, we'll have to disagree. For me, I do not want extraordinary efforts to prolong my life after my body can't keep going on its own. Its traumatic and I'm not sure its conducive to a good death. But, I'm also Buddhist and am preparing for a conscious death. I know a lot of people don't have that framework. My worry is that I won't face that moment bravely and will freak out, or will be completely out of it due to the pain killers and life support measures, or afflicted with dementia.
There is no suffering to be severed. Ignorance and klesas are indivisible from bodhi. There is no cause of suffering to be abandoned. Since extremes and the false are the Middle and genuine, there is no path to be practiced. Samsara is nirvana. No severance achieved. No suffering nor its cause. No path, no end. There is no transcendent realm; there is only the one true aspect. There is nothing separate from the true aspect.
-Guanding, Perfect and Sudden Contemplation,
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Tao
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Re: The Economics of Death

Post by Tao »

> Yeah, we'll have to disagree.

>For me, I do not want extraordinary efforts to prolong my life after my body can't keep going on its own.

We do not disagree here. I will fight for your right to do so. And also for the ones that dont want so.

Here we call it "Vital testament". There you say how do you want to end your life. You have the right to avoid any effort to prolong your life. It's your right. Only yours.

Best wishes
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Queequeg
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Re: The Economics of Death

Post by Queequeg »

Ah, when you put it that way, no, we do not disagree. The manner one dies must be according to one's wishes.

In my experience, helping people plan for death - I help them plan their legal and financial affairs, as well as end of life care through directives - those who plan do not want extraordinary life support measures once there is no hope of recovery. They want comfort and peace at the end, and nothing more. They do not want resuscitation, or machines to keep their hearts going, etc. I have never once worked with a person who said, "I want everything done to keep me alive for as long as possible after there is no hope of recovery." I've seen how these end of life directives can help the people tasked with decisions have an easier time. This is critical in a situation where the person is incapacitated. The instructions give the decision maker guidelines on the dying person's wishes, and they do not need to insert their decisions. This relieves a tremendous weight. They do not need to make a life and death decision for another person.

I also help families with the administration of estates after a person dies. When the deceased had a plan, things usually go relatively smoothly. Often they have already had conversations with family about their wishes and its a matter of paperwork. When they don't it can become a disaster with fighting survivors, especially when the decedent lived a messy life. These people also often neglected to make plans for their end of life care, and so those decisions become the responsibility of family members. That can often be a very difficult decision = if one decides to tell a doctor to stop life sustaining measures, then they in effect are condemning the person to death, so often, people will opt for every possible intervention and continue them until the dying person's body simply stops working.

In my observation, the people who do not make plans were in some sort of denial about death, avoiding it no matter how grave the situation before them. Often these were people who were very smart and very organized but obstinately refusing to make any arrangements for their death. Some had gone to lawyers to make wills, but never followed up after the first consultation - often paying the fee for preparation of the documents in advance, but just never following up. This behavior points to some sort of denial or avoidance of perhaps the most severe existential truth. If the implications of this were purely private, then that is that.

The problem is that with socialized medicine, these decisions impact everyone else in the society. Resources diverted to extraordinary end of life therapies means those resources are not available for others - pre-natal care, pediatric care, medical care of people who are facing illness in the prime of life. These are decisions we all have to make, but the thought of telling people they can't have treatment at the end of life is one that we don't want to make.

That means, it would be ideal if people were socialized to anticipate these kinds of issues, if they had frameworks of meaning to deal with such big issues. This is not the province of government, but they have political, social and economic implications.

I don't have an answer how to address this, but I'm just identifying a problem.
There is no suffering to be severed. Ignorance and klesas are indivisible from bodhi. There is no cause of suffering to be abandoned. Since extremes and the false are the Middle and genuine, there is no path to be practiced. Samsara is nirvana. No severance achieved. No suffering nor its cause. No path, no end. There is no transcendent realm; there is only the one true aspect. There is nothing separate from the true aspect.
-Guanding, Perfect and Sudden Contemplation,
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