- Apr 2018
- Upland, Sweden
Huh. I can easily see the correlation. Historic might have been the wrong word to use, and to be honest "inequality" is such a blanket, moralizing term. I guess my own vocabulary has been influenced by these "levelling" trends.1) It's worth bearing in mind that when there was "historic" inequality between the sexes in East Asia, there was also above-replenishment fertility. Consider South Korea, for example: we see increased induction of women into South Korean universities in the 1980s, and we also see Korea plummet below replenishment fertility in the 80s. I won't say that the two are directly causally related, but rather, suggest that the two might be influenced by the same underlying cultural trends. Right now, the state of culture in South Korea is to the point where I recently saw a news report on women who choose to remain single their whole lives and focus on their work, with the underlying message being, "These women don't have enough saved for retirement; the government needs to help them." That shows well enough where the "Overton Window" is and has been on this matter, and how far it is from any sort of "historic inequality."
Interesting, about the news report you mentioned... that is quite different from in my country, I think.
Hmm. Perhaps population density does play a role, I would never have considered it unless you brought it up. Maybe. On the other hand, the UK, as you brought up... and the Netherlands, too, are among the countries with higher fertility rates in Europe. Another option altogether of course is simply that this "problem" is insoluble. Perhaps it is simply so that societies like the Scandinavian ones can deal with a higher degree of sexual-equality without collapsing, while for example South Europe (or East Asia? I am not as familiar with East Asia, but that is the general idea I have) cannot. Patriarchy might be more of a cultural necessity in some countries, and less of a cultural necessity in others - while still being somewhat of a necessity in all places, arguably.2) What happens if you control for population density? For example, South Korea has 515 people per square kilometer; Japan has 334 people per square kilometer; Italy has 200 people per square kilometer. By contrast, Norway has 16 people per square kilometer; Sweden has 23 people per square kilometer; Finland has 16 people per square kilometer; and your exception, Russia, has 9 people per square kilometer. Again, note that I'm not necessarily suggesting an absolute, 1-to-1 causal link. The U.K., for example, has a population density of 272 people per square kilometer, yet a higher fertility rate than Italy. Rather, I wonder if it might not be a factor, especially in the case of East Asia, where mountainous terrain and intensive urbanization actually mean those population density figures understate just how crowded the countries in question are, something that can have not only an economic impact, but also a psychological one.
In some way though, I am skeptical that the "genie" of female "liberation" can actually be put back into the bottle. While it is one thing to not to want the media, education system, intellectual elite etc. to borderline indoctrinate the population (in Sweden we have absurd examples of this, with government funded "gender-neutral" daycare for pre-school children. It is not common, and most sensible people laugh at it, but the fact that it even exists is unsettling) with leftist feminism and demonize traditional families... how does one arrive at that point, given the current cultural landscape? I am not sure I very much like the idea of government mandated traditional families anymore than I like the idea of government sponsored family-splintering (which is basically what we see now, in many western countries). I also am not sure such policies would be very effective. The current "liberal" policies we see are after all the result of several decades of gradual changes, and have coincided with similar and reinforcing changes to the culture. I think the best you can do is these middle of the road solutions (increased tax deductions for couples with more children for example), while simultaneously striving to change the culture and social values to something more healthy. It is a rather blasé answer, but I don't really have a better one.
Actually, I think this second process might already be happening. There are some signs that children and traditional family structures are becoming "hip" among a quite substantial subsection of young people over here, in a way that I think is perhaps not very dignified, but is nonetheless better than the alternative. Perhaps it is the first ebbings of the process that you pointed out to arkteia, that the women who choose not have children will simply... dissappear from the genepool.