The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

A Collapsing System Kills

Aug 2, 2021

Average life expectancy went down by a year and a half in 2020 for white, hispanic and black people in the U.S. This was the most rapid decline in life expectancy since World War II.

In the richest country in the world, life expectancy had been rising in recent decades. But that came to a screeching halt in 2014 when the opioid epidemic hit and life expectancy began to go down. The decline noticed in 2014 was worse for working class people.

Then, when COVID-19 hit in 2020, all of the problems in the society and in the healthcare system intensified. The healthcare system in the U.S. is described by more and more health care workers as broken.

During COVID-19, the working class has experienced deaths from poor quality health care once workers get sick, in addition to the deaths of front line workers with more exposure to the virus and less protection.

But part of lower life expectancy in 2014 and in 2020 came from what public health experts call “deaths of despair”—more opioid-related deaths, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and homicide.

Scientists explain that measuring life expectancy helps to measure the general health of a population. They say it is a way to reveal a society in widespread distress.

This dropping life expectancy statistic shows that the pandemic accelerated the worsening standard of living that was already being imposed on the working class by the wealthy who control this society.

If the working class ever needed a reason to fight, the fact that capitalist society is killing us is a good place to start!