There are a small, but increasing, number of stories about fund managers and investors who are finding the recent economic collapse unbearable. I feel genuine sadness for those who have taken their own lives (and if your impulse is something like ‘good, fuck them’, then that makes you a bad person. Seriously.). They may have been absurdly wealthy, and made others’ lives miserable, but no one should feel like poverty and/or responsibility equals death. There are fewer stories, but probably more numerous cases, of people who have lost their jobs or houses or retirement funds who have also felt bleak enough to end their lives. It’s a completely depressing facet to whole affair.
This is not quite new, actually. The most famous speculator of the 19th century, ‘Old Hutch’, at one point had $10 million, which by share of GDP is about $8.9 billion today. And then he lost it all, at one point disappearing ‘someplace between Indiana and Pensecola, Florida’ before resurfacing in Chicago.
There is some sociological insight here about personal responsibility, suicide, a social system that hyper-values wealth. But I don’t know what it is. I do suspect we’re going to be seeing more of this sort of thing in the next year or two.