Anne Case and Angus Deaton: Deaths of Despair

This semester, the PPE Reading Group will discuss Anne Case and Angus Deaton’s award-winning book, Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism (2020). The book paints a troubling portrait of the American dream in decline, with dramatically increasing deaths from suicide, drug overdose, and alcoholism that especially affect the white working class.

Case and Deaton tie this crisis to the weakening position of labor, the growing power of corporations, and, above all, to a rapacious health-care sector. Capitalism, which over two centuries lifted countless people out of poverty, is now destroying the lives of blue-collar America. The book charts a way forward, providing solutions that can rein in capitalism’s excesses and make it work for everyone.

The reading group is (provisionally) scheduled for every other Thursday from 4-5:30pm in the conference room of the Kellogg Center. Participation is open to students (whether you are already a PPE student or interested in becoming one) and select faculty.

Please sign up with Melinda Miller ( to receive your book in time to read. Enjoy free pizza and soft drinks with our discussions!

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