How the ‘big funeral’ made the afterlife so expensive

“You can’t die Nowadays because it is very expensive, ”said Randy Hinojosa Time Last year. After dying of coronavirus, Hinojosa paid only ,000 15,000 for the funeral of his 26-year-old wife. Like thousands of families bearing the brunt of the unexpected epidemic, he drained his savings and began a crowd-funded campaign to make up for some of the losses. “I didn’t want to ask anyone for money,” Hinojosa cried. “I was so proud that I could do it.”

The epidemic, which has killed and numbered 90,000 Americans, has hastened the importance of the dignified nature of the dead and the incapable of doing business in the current system. In 2019, the average cost of a funeral is, 9,135, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. These included visits and burials, but the cemetery space was not declining or large ticket items such as monuments and other grave markers. Even crematoria, promoted for decades as a cheap (and green) alternative to burial, now averages $ 6,645.

These practices are not only financially destructive, they are also environmentally catastrophic. In addition to human remains, the traditional tombstone contains approximately 1.6 million tons of reinforced concrete and 800,000 gallons of formaldehyde – a chemical that embalms and a potential carcinogen – lays on Earth each year. Crematorium, meanwhile, produces an estimated 534.6 pounds of carbon dioxide per person – more than Afghanistan’s per capita emissions.

Victoria J. Hanman, a professor at Creton University School of Law in Nebraska, says this harsh end-of-life economy has contributed to the funeral poverty in the United States. Funeral poverty existed long before the epidemic and without significant reforms in the funeral industry and national and local funeral aid systems, many families will continue to struggle with growing credit card debt and new personal loans in their crushing grief.

In the worst case scenario, people will be forced to leave their loved ones claimants in county custody, where sheriffs, medical examiners, social workers, civil servants and others will cremate or bury the bodies. In the United States, about 70 percent of deaths each year are unclaimed, a number that has been reported to increase due to economic inequality, opioid epidemics, and pandemics.

Although the United States has the resources to guarantee everyone a proper burial, they are not evenly distributed. “We shouldn’t normalize 9,000 as the average cost of a funeral,” Hanman said. “It’s not just flashy, it’s completely unnecessary.”

For the most part In American history, people die at home, where they are cared for by loved ones. The women of the community prepared the bodies, and the men made caskets. This began to change with the Civil War, where deaths occurred on distant battlefields. Entrepreneurial astrologers later popularized embalming, a conservation strategy that allowed families to send bodies over long distances so that those who died could be buried where they lived.

Death today is a বিল 20 billion industry. (This is equal to the total revenue of the global music business in 2019-2019, or like the meat alternative market.) In its most corporate and reprehensible form, it is largely characterized by unspecified prices, with up to 50 percent markup on the casket. It has also been defined by decades of resistance to innovation, even as public attitudes toward death are changing. In 2015, for example, a funeral organization estimated that for every 1 percent of its customers who chose a crematorium, the company lost about 10 10 million-a “problem” that some mortals often try to solve by selling unnecessary services and products. embalming.

Where many communities were once served by small mom-and-pop funeral shops, Death-Care landscapes have transformed into shareholder-driven companies. Service Corporation International is the largest funeral service provider in North America, with a portfolio of more than 1,500 funeral homes and 500 cemeteries, accounting for about 16 percent of the total market share. A report released in 2017 by the Funeral Consumers Alliance states that SCI’s price is 47 to 72 percent higher than its competitors, rather than a reduction in prices. The only people who don’t think so are investors, whose stock has risen 151 percent in five years. Thanks to the efforts of large funerals, art holds exclusive rights in later life – and it determines the value of human death.

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