Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Gender Imbalances

How do rich Asians adapt to unbalanced sex ratios?


In a recent issue of Le Monde Diplomatique, Isabelle Attané describes in her article "L'Asie manque de femmes", the boy-biased ratio of boys to girls at birth in many of the largest countries of Asia: 117 in China, 111 in India, 110 in Taiwan, 108 in South Korea, 106 in Indonesia. This excess is a relatively recent phenomenon, beginning only in the 1980s when the demographic transition accelerated in these countries and parents, unwilling to incur cultural and economic disadvantages of bearing daughters to full term, began to produce only sons. Attané concludes her article with an apocalyptic floush, invoking the images of social collapse produced by such a global excess of Lebanese Amin Maalouf's 1992 novel The First Century After Beatrice (Le premier siècle après Béatrice).
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Gender Imbalances

Just a fairly brief post to sign-in again after what has been a rather long summer break. Claus and Randy have both put up recent posts which highlight the problem of demographic imbalances, and in particular gender related ones.

Randy points out that the long standing issue of 'excess' male births in the third world is likely to present a serious problem in the not too distant future with a lack of available marriage partners in large countries like India and China, a problem which will only serve to compound the pyramid structural issues associated with the arrival of below replacement fertility. Claus, on the other hand, directs our attention to the issues which arise in the context of a developed and rapidly ageing society like Germany, where it seems lack of economic growth is leading a growing number of young and qualified Germans to 'throw the towel in', and seek a seemingly brighter future elsewhere.
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2 comments:

Ken Gronbach said...

In the book "Bare Branches" it is pointed out that a gender imbalance can have devastating consequences in a society and even destabilize a country. China's one child policy by their own admission has prevented nearly 400 million births under thirty years old. This ludicrous policy has created one of the worst gender imbalances in recorded history and has without question has torpedoed China's most valuable resource-cheap abundant labor. Labor shortages are already showing up in rural areas. What were they thinking?

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