The new sharing economy is ingrained in our “always-on,” hyper-connected societies. It is therefore a sad irony that Western societies are now victims of an epidemic of loneliness, which is increasingly viewed as a significant public health issue that deserves attention and public funds.

In the UK, for example, private initiatives such as The Campaign to End Loneliness join together local governments and the National Health Service to combat the devastating impact that loneliness has on health.

By Thierry Malleret, economist and founder, Monthly Barometer

By Thierry Malleret, economist and founder, Monthly Barometer

According to a recent meta-analysis, loneliness is such a strong predictor of early death that it even eclipses obesity (as a predictor). Medical research shows that a condition of chronic loneliness is associated with increased levels of cortisol (the “stress” hormone), as well as higher vascular resistance that can raise blood pressure and decrease blood flow to vital organs.

AuthorThierry Malleret, Economist and Founder, Monthly Barometer