Thursday, August 27, 2009

Where have all the bodies gone? War

Richard A. Santore
Practicum Strategies

Well to begin with people are living longer. Today the average American can expect to live to anywhere between 77.5 and 80 years. But, don’t think you can take these numbers to the bank. This statistic includes all deaths; accidents, wars, what ever you like. The statistic doesn’t lie; it just doesn’t exclude rick factors. And, you can’t say “natural causes” because all that means is death was caused by a natural disease process. This same statistic also doesn’t take in account “preventable death”. More and more of us have given up smoking, so assumably this will increase how long we live, but we are eating more and obesity is going to shorten our life expectancy. So let’s hold the concept that the statistics are right on the money and the average American is going to die between 77.5 and 80 years old.

Here’s where all the statistics really get fuzzy, fuzzy because the statistics for 1930 show the average American would live between 59.7 and 61.6 years. What’s so great about 1930? Well if you were born in 1930 or there about you should be dying today and you’re not. So now we just threw that statistic out the window and we need to ask why; why aren’t you dying? Simply put, you were never born, that’s right you were never born.

You see, what happened is this: There was the “Big One”, the war to end all wars between 1917 and 1919 for us here in the U.S. It was a little longer in Europe. Then in 1941 through 1945 we were back at it with the second war to end all wars. It’s a funny thing about wars, they never want “old men” to fight, I guess they figure we’re smart enough not to want to be brave and die a hero’s death so they only take our young men who see them selves as invincible. The total number of U.S. Military deaths during WWII was 504,956.

Talk about population control! Had we not given away all those lives needlessly and each one of those who died fathered 2 children there would be and additional 1,000,000. Americans. Then factor in 4 generation, consider each of those generations doubling, So, without attempting to do the math let’s just accept the fact, there would ne a lot more people

Then to add insult to injury add the lives lost during the Korean Conflict, because it was never classified a war; (this I never understood; guns were shot, bombs were dropped, young men died, sounds like a war to me).Then Vietnam!

Trust me when I say; a year has not gone by that US Military Personal, our fathers, sons, and brothers, didn’t lose their lives on some God forsaken pieces of land somewhere in this world.

Where have all the bodies gone? We keep giving away American lives, and for what purpose, I don’t know. Do you?

But, I’m not done. In 1918 there was an Influenza Pandemic that ravaged the world. It is estimated that 1/3 of our world population died. It is also estimated that between 500,000 and 675,000 Americans died. The funny thing about this Pandemic is it didn’t kill the very young or the old as is usually the case because both of these groups don’t have healthy, strong immune systems. It seemed to have only attacked young healthy adults.

Let me go back to the war issue because this is important to understand. Between the Civil War and that first “War To End All Wars” the military must have been on sabbatical because we had only 7,779 US Military deaths.

Now let’s try to piece this altogether so it makes some sense.

Anyone born between 1865 and 1900 could expect to live 60 years. So, if you were born says, between 1880 and 1900, you could be considered too old fight and too old to die from influenza which means you would be dying in the 1940’s. It is also important to remember that there was no mandatory draft during WWI so your birth year could be pushed up to say 1910, meaning that you escaped WWI and the flu and also WWII, and very likely you would live into the 1960’, 70’s and 80’s. Bottom line is a lot of people were dying between 1940 and 1960 and then it gradually began to slow down during the 70’s an 80’s, all of which is well within the range of the life expectancy for that period in time.

With the lost lives caused by the Influenza (over a half million and the U.S. death toll during WWI a lot less people were born hence fewer people were dying by the 1980’s. and these numbers are going to continue spiraling down. Now, if you’re attempting to do the math be sure to factor in the 4 generations mentions above. Also you need to bear in mind that none of this includes Military deaths from WWII to the present, which is over one half million.

Where does this put the death rate? It’s going to continue its downward spiral well into the 21st Century.

Where have all the bodies gone? We keep giving away the lives of those we hold so precious, our children.


  1. Speaking of mortality rate, Robert Lucas once famously said regarding the determinants of economic growth, "once one starts to think about them, it is hard to think of anything else." The same could be said for the determinants of mortality, since the length of life is as critical a measure of our wellbeing as is our income.