Monday, December 5, 2011

Freakanomics on suicide

It was originally broadcast in late August, but I only just now got around to listening to the Freakanomics podcast on why people commit suicide, "The Suicide Paradox." The transcript can be found here.

Just about anyone reading my blog knows that South Korea has a terrible problem with suicide being in the stratosphere. They also know that this is an issue I take very seriously, as I consider us to be in the middle of a veritable epidemic, largely thanks to suicide being normative.

Interestingly, though, the Freakonomics podcast did not mention South Korea at all. Instead, when they wanted to highlight a high-suicide country, they chose Hungary, which had had the highest suicide rates in the world.

But the podcast is worth a listen even for insight into how suicide plays out in South Korea, for there are many parallels in terms of acceptance, the notion that committing suicide is brave or even noble, and the existence of the Werther Effect (i.e., suicide contagion, copycat suicides), which I feel helps to make suicide seem so normal in South Korea.

For other good posts on suicide, see Cory in Korea and the series by The Korean.

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