Real Estate / Financial Crisis Turns Deadly; Crisis-Related Suicides Expected To Rise



The subprime mortgage turned banking turned credit crisis has morphed, as expected, into a killer.

They may not be jumping out of Wall Street windows as some reportedly did after the 1929 crash, but they are walking in front of trains in Germany and slitting their wrists with box cutters in New York.

Of course, this current “near” depression ( I know, it’s supposed to be just a really, really, really bad recession–but, come on, after a time, it does get pretty depressing, doesn’t it?)has claimed countless jobs, mortgages, and futures large and small in the U.S., its foul smelling wave washing ashore around the world.

But misery in the abstract is seldom as revealing, or understandable, as misery in the specific,in the personal: it helps us gets our arms, and brains, around it.

So, two recent suicides, last month and today, help focus our attention on just what damage this economic maelstrom is causing.

Adolf Merckle seemingly had it all. A father of four. A successful businessman. The fifth wealthiest person in Germany.

100 thousand employees called him boss.

Tuesday, he decided to walk in front of an oncoming train, a suicide note apparently blaming the huge losses his empire suffered because of the financial crisis.

In December, in an otherwise nondescript Manhattan office tower, a Frenchman sat and then reached for box cutters, and went about the grim task of slicing into the veins just beneath the surface of his wrists.

Thuerry Magon de la Villehuchet would not see 66.

He was upset. Probably an understatement. He had lost $1.4 billion in client money because he happened to have had the misfortune, this otherwise fortunate billionaire, of having met, befriended and trusted Bernard Madoff whose fraud is described as “alleged” only to satisfy the legal departments of newspapers whose business reporters, like our government, should have seen this tornado coming from a million miles away.

A Reuters report states what would seem to be the obvious: “Psychologists and other mental health experts have said suicide rates could creep up as a result of the financial crisis.”

Guess that’s why they are called “experts!”

The same story has one curious line–re-stating apparently what German prosecutors had to say about Adolf Merckle’s demise: “There was no sign of anyone else being involved,” they said.

How wrong they are.

Photo Credit: epicharmus

About Author

Charles is currently reporting for KNX Radio in Los Angeles, is the co-author of the book No Time To Think, and can be found commenting about the news on his blog, The Feldman Blog, as well as on The Huffington Post.


  1. Those who had no conscience to begin with do not commit suicide out of guilt or a sense of failure, they just find a new set of victims/suckers to fleece. And, those who esteemed money above all else to the point where they’d commit suicide if they lost money, had their priorities screwed up. We as a species put way too much importance on wealth, and not near enough importance on character. If we straightened out that priority in the way our law enforcement works, we might not have allowed corporate special interests to ruin the economy with artificial bubbles and predictible busts, all with the blessing of elected officials bought off by corporate lobbyists.

  2. I just don’t understand suicide. Regardless of how bad anything may be economically I just can’t see taking my own life. The deaths related to the stock market crash and real estate plunge are more about weak individuals than rough economic times.

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