A new University of Michigan study claims that while the Soviet Union routinely exiled undesirables in the Gulag, the country's lack of stressful economic competition produced a surfeit of healthy men. AFP reports:
Communism may be oppressive [It may be oppressive?], but it seems as though capitalism is bad for men's health, according to a recent study which found significant increases in mortality rates after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
"The inequalities in status and resources that can come with capitalism does lead males to behave in ways that are detrimental to men's health," lead author Daniel Kruger said in a telephone interview.
Increased competition can create an environment that encourages risk-taking behaviour that results in fatal accidents, he said.
"It seems as though there is a physiological embodiment of stress from being in a competitive environment," Kruger told AFP.
Kruger compared the mortality rates of men and women in 14 post Soviet countries.
Male mortality from intentional causes - homicides and suicides - doubled in the region, although it varied significantly by country.
Poland, which had a relatively smooth transition, saw the rate increase just 15 percent while Estonia, which was much more unstable, saw violent deaths increase 238 percent.
reason's Jacob Sullum on the totalitarian implications of public health.