The Darkness in the Death Industry

Death and the grief that come with it are hard enough. They are made worse by the corruption and control in the providers of end-of-life services.

The series of actions and activities after someone dies in modern America are impersonal and dehumanizing. Strangers you’ve never met take the body of your loved one, put it in a badly designed stuffy hotel-lobby-like place you’ve never visited and never want to visit, then a bunch more strangers transport it to a gravesite and lower it into the ground, or it gets cremated.

Not that some people wouldn’t choose this. Some might. But I imagine most of us would prefer something a little more real, intimate, connected, and personally relevant to the deceased. We aren’t given many choices.

Few realize how cartelized the death industry is. Casket makers, funeral home directors, morticians, embalmers, cemeteries, grave diggers, and all the other parties involved are not participating in a free market. They are part of a tangled web of government controls that dictate what you are allowed to do, all to enrich the interests who lobby for these rules.

Things as simple as making your own casket can be legally complicated, let alone digging a gravesite for your relative. Good luck trying to open a funeral parlor or offer services for any other element of the process. It’s pretty locked down by a handful of companies, lobbyists, bureaucrats, and lawmakers.

This makes prices insanely high and quality low, with little accountability to customers.

It’s easy for this perverse arrangement to persists, because who of us wants to spend time thinking about end-of-life stuff until we have to? Who’s going to lobby or complain about prices or lack of choice in these things while their loved ones are still living?

But when the moment comes and you need to engage their services, you’re in no frame of mind to negotiate or complain. You just want to grieve.

Death, Inc. is a great example of what happens when you have government regulations in any industry. They always makes things worse.