The End of Men Means the End of Marriage

For decades now, the labor market has trended away from male-dominated jobs in manufacturing and agriculture and toward female-dominated jobs such as education and health care. As we noted previously, an adverse consequence of the disappearance of traditionally male jobs is an impedance of marriage and family formation.

Lowering the economic status of males relative to females makes males less marriageable. In marriage, pretty much the only value a man can bring to the table is as an economic provider. Taking away a man’s advantage in providing economic resources leaves him without leverage in the marriage market.

Now a new report predicts that the labor market will continue to trend against men and towards women.

Overall, occupations that are more than 80% female are projected to grow at nearly twice the rate of jobs that are at least 60% male between 2014 and 2024, according to research out this week from the jobs site Indeed and its chief economist, Jed Kolko. The site researched Bureau of Labor Statistics and found that many are jobs that are traditionally dominated by women — including occupational therapy assistants, physical therapy assistants and nurse practitioners — are growing at the fastest rate. They will grow at about a 40% rate, compared to an overall rate of 6.5% for all jobs.

Meanwhile, the male-dominated jobs are expected to contract.

[M]anufacturing and agriculture, which have traditionally employed more men than women, are projected to lose jobs in the next decade.

This article does not even mention that, over perhaps a bit longer horizon, huge numbers of driving jobs done my men are under threat from self-driving vehicles.

Anyone who values the traditional family unit as an important social institution should be very concerned with the increasing economic irrelevance of men. So should anyone concerned with low and declining birth rates. The way things are going, the only economically viable men are going to be the cognitive elite who work in science and technology. The rest of the men, however, are going to have generally poor marriage prospects. The women gainfully employed in health care are not going to want to marry unemployable men just so they can stay home and play Mr. Mom. That sort of traditional role-reversal might sound appealing in the abstract, but as a practical matter it won’t play out in the real world.

Historically, about 10 percent of 35-year-old women were unmarried, and a fair number of those would have been widows. Now, about 40 percent of 35-year-old American women are unmarried. Look for this figure to just keep increasing.

I’m not sure what we can do to solve or alleviate this problem. The default response from government seems to be to make the problem even worse by subsidizing single motherhood with various benefits such as subsidized day care. Another way that government exacerbates the problem is by making women beneficiaries of ‘affirmative action.’ Such policies, at the very least, need to be resisted.

Boys Raised by Single Parent Do Worse than Girls

A fascinating new study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that boys from ‘disadvantaged’ families do worse than girls. The disadvantaged families are predominantly headed by a single female parent.

We find that, relative to their sisters, boys born to disadvantaged families have higher rates of disciplinary problems, lower achievement scores, and fewer high-school completions.

[E]mployment rates of young women are nearly invariant to family marital status, while the employment rates of young adult men from non-married families are eight to ten percentage points below those from married families at all income levels.

In other words, all else equal, non-married status matters only for boys, not for girls. The authors, as well as most commenters on the study, conclude that the sex gap in success must be environmental and not genetic. Apparently, growing up without a father at home is somehow particularly damaging for boys, but not for girls, perhaps because mothers devote relatively more attention to their daughters and sympathize more with the needs of their daughters. In any event, nobody is really quite sure of the reasons, but one way or another, fathers are more important to raising boys than girls. This result supports the longstanding assertion of social conservatives that boys need fathers.

Observers reject a genetic argument in favor of environment, I suspect, because of the study’s focus on siblings. The boys and girls in the study should not differ much genetically because the siblings share at least one, and often two, parents.

An awful lot of research, however, has shown that life outcomes have a strong genetic basis. I’m not convinced, therefore, that the results of the study in question cannot have a genetic explanation.

In particular, life success has been shown to correlate strongly with I.Q. and the personality trait of ‘conscientiousness,’ which is heritable. Conscientiousness is the only one of the Big Five personality traits that predicts career success.

[A]fter general mental ability is taken into account, the other four of the Big Five personality traits do not aid in predicting career success.

And here’s a definition of conscientiousness.

[Conscientious people] exhibit a tendency to show self-discipline, act dutifully, and aim for achievement; they display planned rather than spontaneous behavior; and they are generally organized and dependable.

Men lacking in conscientiousness seem exactly the sort of fathers unable to form stable families and to fulfill fatherly duties. Since they are not dutiful or dependable, the mothers cannot rely on them, and end up heading the household themselves.

Now, I am not a geneticist, but I see no reason why fathers could not pass on their lack of conscientiousness to their sons relatively more than their daughters. Maybe I’m mistaken, but there could be a set of genes that undermine male conscientiousness, but have a relatively muted effect in females. If in terms of heritable conscientiousness, if boys align more with their fathers and girls with their mothers, then genetics can explain the result that boys from broken homes do worse than girls.

If so, then social conservatives might not be correct about the environmental role of fathers. But the age-old wisdom that women should not have kids with irresponsible men would still hold true.

How Globalization Undermines Marriage

I seem to recall long ago reading about a survey that found that something like 96% of economists believed that free trade produced net benefits for the country as a whole. I remember thinking to myself that the other 4% of economists must be paid off by labor unions. How else to account for how out-of-step they were?

The effects of free trade, however, are not so simple as depicted in economists’ models. The models correctly identify some powerful mechanisms through which trade increases national productivity and wealth. What the models don’t consider, however, are the sociological effects of trade. International trade can have far reaching effects on the most intimate and important social institutions–marriage and the family.

In a recent working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, economists David Autor, David Dorn, and Gordon Hanson go where economists have rarely gone before by studying the effect of trade on marriage and the family. They found specifically that the outsourcing and automation of manufacturing jobs contributed to the following social phenomena:

  • A decline in marriage rates and an increase in the age at first marriage
  • An increase in the rate of illegitimacy
  • A rise in the proportion of female-headed households
  • A rise in self-destructive behavior by males such as illegal drug use

The way globalization contributes to these phenomena is by lowering the economic status of males relative to females. The loss of economic opportunity is greater for males than for females because imports and outsourcing have their largest impact on manufacturing, where men predominate. In contrast, the fields where women predominate such as education, healthcare, human resources, and other services do not compete as directly with foreign workers and imports.

Lowering the economic status of males relative to females makes males less marriageable. In marriage, pretty much the only value a man can bring to the table is as an economic provider. Taking away a man’s advantage in providing economic resources leaves him without leverage in the marriage market.

Women are almost universally extremely averse to marrying down in terms of socioeconomic status. Men, in contrast, have no problem marrying a woman who is of lower economic status. This key difference between the sexes means that any change that lowers men’s status relative to women’s will reduce the number of men whom women consider to be marriageable.

Note that this argument does not rely on an absolute worsening of men’s economic opportunities. The key is the economic status of men relative to women. For instance, let’s say a working-class woman who earns $11 per hour views a male who earns $15 as marriageable. If the man’s wage increases to $16 but the woman goes all the way up to $19, she might no longer view him as marriageable, since women as a rule do not marry down. The man became less marriageable even though his wage went up because the woman’s wage went up by more. Any such change that raises the economic status of women relative to men will lower the marriage rate and the number of stable marriages.

Of course, there exist many examples of stable marriages where the woman earns more than the man. But these are exceptions rather than the rule. Studies show that of all the factors that can contribute to divorce, the one that has the most predictive power is the man earning less than the woman.

The other day I was in a store and saw a nice Black&Decker toaster-oven on sale for just $15. The toaster-oven, of course, was manufactured in some low-wage Asian country. If the toaster-oven were manufactured by unionized labor in the United States it might cost several times as much. As consumers, lower prices for imported goods benefit all of us. This benefit is the reason why economists generally support free trade. Economists can put a price on that cheap toaster-oven.

But what price on children no longer being raised in stable, two-parent families? That’s a price to which economists need to give more consideration.

What Hath Feminism Wrought?

By some measures, women in America are doing better than ever. For every three men in college, there are four women. Women outnumber men in law school. There are more women working than ever, making more money than ever. We would right now have our first woman president if not for the fact that her opponent managed to run the table in the electoral college by winning a series of close state contests.

The legal regime governing marriage, reproduction, child support and custody totally favors women over men.

And yet, for all this presumed progress, women report being less happy, and exhibit more of the symptoms of despair. At least, that’s what I conclude from the fact that American women appear increasingly to be drowning their sorrows in alcohol.

Back in December, the Washington Post published a remarkable article about the rise in binge drinking among women, particularly white, middle-aged women. Here are just a few of the astonishing facts.

  • Every year more than one million women end up in hospital emergency rooms for alcohol related reasons. This number may involve some double counting, as the same woman may be admitted to the hospital more than once, but the number nonetheless seems appallingly high.
  • Since 1997, binge drinking by white women has increased 40%.
  • Since 1999, alcohol-related deaths among middle-aged white women have soared by 130%.

The Post blames the problem on alcohol advertising, particularly advertising on social media targeted at women. The trend in binge drinking, however, started long before social media became a thing. I suspect the problem runs much deeper than advertising. Consider the fact that also drug overdoses have increased, particularly among middle-aged, white women. The drug overdoses likely have little to do with advertising and more to do with despair.

This same cohort of middle-aged white women has also exhibited a significantly higher suicide rate. From 1999 to 2014,

the age-adjusted suicide rate for women increased by 45%, while the rate for men increased by 16%.

The suicide rate increased for women of all ages, but the spike was especially pronounced for women aged 45-64.

The rise in alcohol and drug related deaths would seem to be of a piece with the higher rate of suicides, since alcohol and drugs often serve as methods of slow-motion suicide. One way or another, a lot more women are killing themselves.

What has happened to middle-aged American women? Historically, only about ten percent of 35-year-old women were unmarried. Now, 40 percent of 35-year-old women are unmarried, and that figure just keeps rising. Could the lack of support from family explain the despair among middle-aged women?

Many will say that the problems facing women are caused by ‘the patriarchy’ and we therefore need to double-down on feminism.

Maybe. But in the bad old days, before the triumph of feminism, women reported higher levels of happiness and weren’t succumbing nearly as often to the pathologies of despair.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Here is our annual Valentine’s Day post.

To celebrate the holiday, we present a video, produced by the Austin Institute, on “The Economics of Sex.” The analysis presented in the video is remarkably accurate, although it does leave out some important issues, which we shall address below. But the basic analysis runs as follows.

First, men want to have more sex than women do. This makes perfect sense from the point of view of the biological imperative. Men make a relatively small investment in reproduction, so they have the incentive to have a lot of sex with lots of partners. Women, on the other hand, make a relatively large investment in reproduction. Women can reproduce only by carrying a child to term, which is difficult and costly. Women therefore don’t need to have a lot of sex; for them, quantity matters less than the quality of their mates.

It follows that sexual access to women is for men a scarce resource, for which women can extract a price. In recent decades, however, technological changes such as birth control have lowered the price of sex. A lower price is bad news for women, and good news for (at least some) men. Because men now have relatively easier access to sex, they are less willing to make a commitment to women by marrying them. Back in the day, marriage for men served to increase their access to sex. Now, in contrast, commitment to one woman tends to decrease the quantity, and the variety, of sex that a man can have. Women therefore find it harder and harder to get men to commit. As a result, the marriage rate keeps decreasing, and ‘age at first marriage’ keeps increasing.

The analysis in the video is essentially correct, as far as it goes. But the analysis omits a number of important issues. First, the sexual revolution is not the only factor that undermines the incentive for men to marry. There are a number of other factors, not least of which is the divorce industry, which works against the interests of men. Divorce laws and courts heavily favor women over men. Men often must pay alimony; women almost never do. Men who don’t pay child support go to jail; women who don’t pay never go to jail. In some cases, men have been ordered to pay child support for children who were the product of cuckoldry and not their own. A divorced woman can find another man, cohabit with him, and the divorced husband must still pay alimony and child support. Thus the man is forced to pay for another man’s child, another man’s woman.

All of this, needless to say, is anathema to men. And due to ‘no fault’ divorce, a new development of the last 35 years, a woman can subject a man to the inequities and iniquities of the divorce industry at any time, and for any reason, or no reason at all. Women, in fact, initiate about 70% of all divorces, and even the implicit threat of divorce gives women power. Indeed, within marriage, no fault divorce has significantly altered the balance of power in favor of women.

It is not just men, however, who now have less incentive to marry. Women also have less incentive to marry, due to their economic empowerment. Historically, the role of the man was to serve as an economic provider. But now, women can support themselves, and don’t need men to provide for them. As a result, women feel less pressure to marry, and can afford to be more picky in choosing a husband.

And the more success that women have, in education and career, the more picky they become. This is a natural result of female hypergamy, the fact that women are generally only interested in men who rank above them in social status. So a woman with only a high school diploma might only write off men with the lowest levels of education. A woman with a law degree or a master’s degree, however, will write off an awful lot of men who don’t have sufficiently high status relative to her. This severely constricts the available pool of men she would accept, making it difficult for her to find a suitable match.

High-status women basically only want high-status men. But all women prefer high-status men, so the competition for those men is intense. With so many women competing for them, the high status men have lots of options, so getting commitment from them is not easy for women.

Back in the day, when women did not have careers and credentials, it was possible for everybody to pair off and get married. But now that women have careers and credentials, two groups get left out: high-status women, and low-status men. The simplified model looks something like this. In terms of social status, women marry up, not down, so Grade B women marry Grade A men. Grade C women marry Grade B men, and Grade D women marry Grade C men. Who is left out? The Grade A women and the Grade D men, that is, the highest-status women and the lowest-status men. This pattern is less apparent in Western countries, but readily apparent in every Asian country where women are educated. In China, the phenomenon results in so-called ‘leftover women’ and ‘leftover men.’

Xu Jiajie has gone on countless blind dates and to numerous match-making events over the past five years in search of a husband.

At 31, the baby-faced office worker from Shanghai is under enormous pressure from family and friends to get married. But the right man is hard to find, she says, a big issue for urban, educated and well-paid Chinese women in a society where the husband’s social status is traditionally above the wife’s.

“My parents have introduced every bachelor they know,” said Xu, who earns double the average wage in Shanghai. “Half of the bachelors I met are quiet and never go out. Outgoing men don’t need blind dates.”

As couples celebrate the “Qixi” festival on Tuesday, the Chinese equivalent of Valentine’s Day, Xu and millions of women like her face stark choices as long-held ideas about matrimonial hierarchy run up against economic and social changes sweeping the world’s most populous country.

The term “shengnu” – directly translated as “leftover women” – was coined to refer to professional women who have not married by their late 20s…

In Beijing, more than a third of women in their late 20s and 30s are looking for husbands, according to the dating website Jiayuan.com. Media reports say there may be as many as 500,000 “leftover women” in the capital.

There are plenty of men to go round among China’s nearly 1.4 billion people but social status can conspire against single professional woman once again…

“shengnan” or “leftover men” often live in lower-tier cities and do not make much money.

The Shanghai city government tries to help women like Xu by arranging regular match-making events. One in May attracted 20,000 single men and women.

Lucy Wang, a 32-year-old Chinese language teacher who attended the event, said all she could find were playboy types or momma’s boys.

“I sometimes wonder if there is something wrong with me,” she said. “Twenty thousand people and yet I can’t find anyone I like.”

Finding mates for low status men has always been difficult, which is largely why medieval Europe established monasteries. In fact, genetic evidence suggests that in the long evolutionary history of the human race, most males did not reproduce, but most females did. There have usually been loads of ‘leftover men.’

But having significant numbers of healthy and intelligent women unable to mate seems unprecedented in human history, except perhaps in times when the population of men was decimated by war.

The sexual market has truly undergone a sea change.

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Life Imitates Aristophanes

Lysistrata, a play by Aristophanes, 411 B.C.

Lysistrata has planned a meeting between all of the women of Greece to discuss the plan to end the Peloponnesian War. As Lysistrata waits for the women of Sparta, Thebes, and other areas to meet her she curses the weakness of women. Lysistrata plans to ask the women to refuse sex with their husbands until a treaty for peace has been signed. Lysistrata has also made plans with the older women of Athens (the Chorus of Old Women) to seize the Akropolis later that day. The women from the various regions finally assemble and Lysistrata convinces them to swear an oath that they will withhold sex from their husbands until both sides sign a treaty of peace.

Dateline: February 6, 2017.

Feminists and women’s rights activists have announced the follow up to the Women’s March on Washington: a “Women’s Strike” planned for March 8th, where women who oppose Donald Trump’s “misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic and racist policies” will stop doing chores, attending work, and even having sex with their partners in a show of how much women matter.

So Aristophanes called this one across 2400 years. As the 19th century German philosopher Heinrich Heine said, “There is a God, and his name is Aristophanes.”

The Latest Government Entitlement: Sex

Last summer I speculated that the welfare state had expanded beyond the point of diminishing returns.

[I]s there no responsibility too small for liberals to leave to the citizenry? One suspects that liberals would willingly relieve their dependent political clients of the very last of life’s responsibilities, thus reducing them to the equivalent of kept zoo animals.

Well, turns out that liberals did manage to find another personal responsibility they could relieve people of. Getting laid.

The Greens’ plans consists [sic] of patients obtaining a medical certificate confirming that ‘they are unable to achieve sexual satisfaction in other ways, as well as to prove they are not able to pay sex workers on their own’.

Modern government sure does love to empower medical doctors as the gatekeepers for the welfare state’s panoply of free shit, as if the docs are all omniscient sages. But after all, what do docs know about whether or not somebody can ‘achieve sexual satisfaction’? Last time I checked, they don’t teach pickup artistry in med school.

In any event, it is worth considering the different socialist models the government might use to deliver its sex entitlement, and their various implications.

Veterans Administration Model. In this scheme, the government owns the brothels, and the prostitutes are unionized government employees, almost impossible to fire. The sex workers get fat and lazy and offer poor service. Clients endure long wait times for service. The government brothels are forever plagued by scandal, with abused clients, and funds unaccounted for. Poor sanitation makes the brothels incubators for disease.

U.S. Public School Model. The market includes both privately owned and government-owned public brothels. Clients by law can visit only the public brothel assigned to their district. Public brothels vary enormously in quality and safety. In affluent areas, public brothels approach private brothels in quality, but in poor areas, public brothels are unspeakably squalid. People willingly pay a housing premium to live near a relatively good public brothel, and brothel quality gets incorporated into housing prices.

Canadian Single-Payer Model. The brothels are privately owned, but clients pay nothing out of pocket. Instead, sex bills get sent to the government for payment. The government, however, cannot afford a completely open-ended brothel liability, so brothel services and prices have to be tightly regulated. A panel of government ‘sexperts’ sets annual brothel quotas for each of the various sexual services: oral sex, BDSM, etc. The government imposes price ceilings on brothel services, resulting in shortages of services. Clients go on waiting lists, sometimes waiting months for sex. When people can’t get the sex they need, they sometimes resort to paying out of pocket for foreign sex holidays. Everybody complains, but government propaganda convinces the rubes that the system nonetheless works far better than would a free market in sex.

Food Stamp Model. Here the government gives individuals each period a swipe card topped off each month with a fixed amount of money. The swipe card can only be used to pay for sex. This restriction is to make sure that people don’t waste the money on stuff like meat, books, or gym memberships. Inevitably, a black market develops in which people sell their sex vouchers for 50 cents on the dollar, then use the cash to buy soda pop, cheetos, and heroin.

So which system do the German Greens propose to use?

‘Municipalities could discuss appropriate offers on site and grants they would need.’

Sounds like single-payer except administered locally and funded with block grants.

The Malevolent Sexism of Madame Hillary

Several people at school today asked me if I watched the presidential debate last night. I had to tell them that I did not, because I could not bear to watch. Then I noticed the following meme floating around the internet, and thought the part in quotes could not be a real quote.

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I had to check to see of the quote was real and, sure enough, there it was on the website of CNN, the Clinton News Network.

Let’s analyze the implications of this statement, while it’s still legal under the emerging matriarchy to do so.

Suppose person A does a better job than person B.

According to Hillary Defarge, if A is a man and B is a woman, it is wrong to pay A more than B.

But what if we reverse the sexes, so that A, who does the better job, is a woman, and B is a man? Is it still wrong to pay A more than B? If so, then Madame Bihn’s position is that everybody should be paid the same regardless of how good a job they do. But that makes no fucking sense.

The only remaining alternative is that Empty Pantsuit believes it’s ok to pay somebody more for doing a better job only if that person is a woman. The implication is that, in a given job, at least some women could be paid more than all the other men, but no man could be paid more than even one woman, regardless of how hard the man worked. The most productive man couldn’t be paid more than the least productive woman.

In other words, she believes in a labor market that actively privileges women and discriminates against men.

And if men because of this discrimination can’t earn enough to support a family, well then, the women can just support themselves or they and their children can just be supported by the state, right? Men are obsolete.

I haven’t seen anybody calling out Candidate Cronyism on her statement, and news sites report the quote as if it’s just normal political rhetoric. Maybe it’s normal in the current post-America, but I’m old enough to remember that such rhetoric wasn’t normal in America.

The feminization of what’s left of this country is getting way out of hand. American men have got to pry their eyes away from Sportsball and wake the fuck up.

Dispatches from Weimerica

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Glad you asked. To see if there’s any difference for you, ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Can I live comfortably without the financial support of a husband?
  2. Do I have confidence that condoms and/or antibiotics can safely protect me from the consequences of sexually transmitted diseases?
  3. I’m I OK with a future as a lonely cat lady?

If you answered YES to all three questions, then NO, it makes no difference to you whether you fuck 15 guys or the same guy 15 times.

Hope that answers your question.

The Matriarchy in Action

Our society is now so feminized, anti-male, and matriarchal, that setting aside just one day per year to honor fathers is asking too much.

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We can’t emphasize enough how much this shirt contradicts the fundamental spirit of Father’s Day. The sentiment expressed in the shirt is of the man honoring and devoting himself to his wife and family. That in fact is the practice and orientation of the devoted father on every day of the year. But Father’s Day is supposed to be the one day out of the year when the family honors Dad for that very same support and devotion. Father’s Day is the one day when it’s really supposed to be about him.

Is the modern male now so put-upon, so undervalued, that displacing the female on the pedestal for just one day is asking too much?