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Welcome to CrushTheStreet.com’s Weekly Market Wrap-Up!

My name is Joshua Enomoto and I’m sitting in for Kenneth Ameduri who is away on business. The big news item for this week is the tragic passing of stand-up comedian and Academy Award winning actor, Robin Williams, who was found dead in his Northern California home on August 11th after an apparent self-asphyxiation. Mr. Williams was only 63 years old, leaving behind his wife and three children. An outpouring of support from both celebrities and the general public overwhelmed mainstream and social media outlets throughout the week, with the late actor having impacted countless numbers of people across multiple generations.

As was known for quite some time within his inner circle, Mr. Williams suffered from debilitating depression, and a few months prior to his death, he had admitted himself into the Hazelden Foundation Addiction Treatment Center for continued therapy related to his alcoholism. Mr. Williams’ affliction from the disease prompts a holistic discussion regarding the definition of wealth, since it is painfully clear that monetary means does not exempt inner turmoil.

It also highlights the very real cost of depression and other mental impairments upon society and the macro-economy. According to a report from the World Health Organization, over 350 million people around the world suffer from depression. In Canada, roughly 20-percent of adults will suffer from a form of mental disorder at some point in their lives. With such large numbers affected by this hidden and often stigmatized disease, the cost of treatment goes far beyond personal medical bills.

According to the Toronto-based Centre for Addictions and Mental Health, patients suffering from depression cost the Canadian economy more than $51 billion dollars a year, with one-third of that due to lost productivity. Studies show that depressed workers lose about 5-and-a-half hours of productive work each week, and that people exhibiting symptoms of depression are over twice as likely to call in sick. The same report also found that children or adults who suffer from depression absorb a 35-percent decrease in lifetime income.

Over time, such collective inefficiencies extract a heavy toll on the economy and it typically exacerbates or catalyzes criminal or disruptive behavior, such as the aforementioned alcoholism suffered by Mr. Williams. Since 2002, the United States, according to the Population Reference Bureau, has had the highest incarceration rate in the world and this problem is further fueled by a breakdown in social mores and the criminalization of petty crimes.

In order for the U.S. and the rest of the international community to solve its vast economic crises, they must stop relying purely on monetary policies and look inwardly to grassroots solutions. Much good could be done by lessening the tax burden towards middle-class families and keeping government out of our homes, allowing individual families a better chance to thrive and hopefully stem the growing epidemic of mental disorder.

Over in financial news, the broad indices secured modest gains on Thursday after a tepid performance earlier in the week, with the Dow Jones adding 62 points. The precious metals complex slogged through a slow week, with gold holding onto the $1,300 dollar threshold, while silver is just below the $20 dollar level. Palladium, on the other hand, scored seven consecutive up-days, closing Thursday’s session at 885 on the ask. Finally, bitcoin was under pressure all week as it dropped out of its trading range, with the digital currency at last close holding at 508 dollars.

And that will do it for this edition. Thanks for watching and we’ll see you next week!

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