Tag Archives: despair


Ben Howard’s song “The Fear” repeats the prophetic and potentially haunting refrain: “Oh, I will become what I deserve.” [1] While what we deserve may be subject to debate or even delusion, I can’t help but wonder if Ben has put his finger on a fear that most of us experience when we allow ourselves […]

Deaths of Despair

In his classic work Walden, Henry David Thoreau wrote that “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”  It’s a phrase oft-repeated that resonates with many, but the observation, though insightful, has hardly been the stuff of empirical data.  That may be changing.  Nobel-laureate and Princeton Professor of Economics, Sir Angus Deaton, and his […]