Monday, October 6, 2014

Eating the Seed Corn of Society

Slate has an interesting article on fertility rates in America that becomes less interesting when the author, Sharon Lerner, offers policy prescriptions.  The discussion is over the fertility divide between professional and poor women.
Two new studies bring the contrasting reproductive profiles of rich and poor women into sharp relief. One, from the Guttmacher Institute, shows that the rates of unplanned pregnancies and births among poor women now dwarf the fertility rates of wealthier women, and finds that the gap between the two groups has widened significantly over the past five years. The other, by the Center for Work-Life Policy, documents rates of childlessness among corporate professional women that are higher than the childlessness rates of some European countries experiencing fertility crises.
In essence, childbirth in America is increasingly likely to occur to lower income (and unmarried) women.  While the article prescribes various remedies, the fact that feminist doctrine is more effectively inculcated in professional women is not mentioned.  Nor is the fact that poorest women experience an increase in disposable income when they have children.

Why are the facts of reproductive divergence problematic for our society?  From a purely biological perspective, women are the more fragile bearers of our species' genetic material.  Eggs are more perishable than sperm.  Gestation time necessarily limits the reproductive output of women.  This is why, historically, the survival of women was more highly valued than that of men during times of crisis.  (This also resonates with our gut instincts.)  We are selecting women to reproduce who typically have below average education and resources and fathers present to insure the future success of their offspring.  Further, professional women are waiting later in life to have children, which leads to its own set of problems.  Society would be better served if a social model other the failing one of feminism was in vogue that encouraged women to have babies at a younger age and delay entry into a profession until later in life.  One could argue that this limits the productivity of society, but what we are doing is essentially similar to a farmer in days of yore increasing his current income by selling his seed corn.  Unfortunately, the time horizon for our difficulties spans generations, not just years, so it is taking a while for the interlinked problems of falling marriage rates, lower male labor participation rates and childlessness among the upper classes to make themselves known.

I know from personal knowledge that your federal government is spending tax dollars allegedly going to defense research to encourage women in their teens to prepare to enter careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). I never participated in such outreach and actively avoided it.  I will continue to do so as long we keep sending the message that careers are preferable to motherhood for women.

To be clear, I am not calling for any government action, just some neutrality on the issue and an opportunity for us to change the culture.

Photo courtesy of the United States Army.


  1. In my day to day life, I travel around the county working at various companies. When I add this experience to my personal life, there is a surprising conclusion about young women. It is all but impossible for them to find marriage material men.

    The economy has made men less eligible. Society in general, and specifically including "Yes means Yes" legal matters, makes thoughtful men less likely to initiate conversations with women. It is also possible that the "text only" generation is less able to successfully go on a first date even if they do somehow muster the ability to meet.

    On top of that, socal has a lot of "mamma's boys" with massive egos which may affect their employment and relationship potential.

    This reality has led several young women that I know to become discouraged, as the only men they meet are aggressive "pickup artist" guys who have no interest in relationships.

    The primary counter to this trend is the online dating phenomenon. Maybe it is time to encourage the use of this technology.

    So, if you are too intimidated to approach that girl you have a crush on... it is a mistake.

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  3. I would agree with DDE and add this: Boys these days don't have a goal of being husbands. I won't add fathers because I don't think that was ever really a goal for young men, though fathering was. :-)

    I liken their behavior to sexually sated male cats who aren't all that interested in a nearby female. They loll around and once in a while get up the energy to mate with her again, but for the most part, they're content to hang out and watch the world go by. Porn and easy morals have taken their toll and women are suffering the most. Of course, they're doing it to themselves, so one can't feel too much pity.

    1. Since I am a big believer in incentives, my question is: Why don't boys have the goal of being husbands? I think the easy sex is only part of the answer. The other issue is that we have changed the nature of marriage, see Dalrock on the modern marriage model. A man has a lot more at risk these days when marrying, pretty an effective disincentive to marry. A solid but perhaps not so exciting guy can have his life ruined when the wife runs off with a hunkier lover/hubby. Since married men by dint of greater effort still make more than married women, they lose more in this scenario. Further, no social opprobrium, nay, even applause, accrues to the woman who does this. See Eat, Pray, Slut.