[As the capitalist crisis -- the so-called "Great Recession" -- continues to shake up lives and property relations, real estate corporations are reorganizing housing markets to take advantage of mass desperation and this now also affects the funeral and cemetary markets. For a diabolical view of how capitalist cost-benefit analysis anticipates death rates--soaring from suicides, but traffic deaths declining because people cannot afford car repairs or gas--and how science ends up with a body glut--see this article. -- Frontlines ed.]
Economic Crisis Leaves Hard-Hit Spaniards Scrimping on Funerals
By Dan Bilefsky, New York Times, November 22, 2012
BARCELONA — María Cristina Riveros can barely afford to live, let alone die. So when the end comes, she insists, there will be no spray of red roses or marble tombstone to mark her grave. Instead she is donating her body to science, to avoid being a financial burden on her family.
“I’m not upset about death — I’m upset about life,” said Mrs. Riveros, 53, an unemployed geriatric nurse and single mother, as she waited in line on a recent day for food at a church here. Her 16-year-old daughter, who suffers from a rare immune deficiency, needs €9,000, or about $11,500, for an operation, she said. Monthly insurance payments for her own funeral were out of the question.
Europe’s grinding economic crisis has left hard-hit Spaniards scrimping on death. They are defaulting on cemetery plots — and thousands face being evicted from them. They are opting for inexpensive funerals, or financing them in monthly installments. Pricey extras like grief therapy, organists to play “Ave Maria” or elaborate floral arrangements are being pruned.
But while austerity tears at the funeral industry — and some say the social fabric of the country — it has been a boon for science. Donating a body has become such a popular alternative to the cost of a funeral that some medical schools complain they do not have enough refrigerators to store all of them. (more…)