Work, family, and why gender roles reduce the birth rate

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Work, family, and why gender roles reduce the birth rate

Post by reboot on Sat Jul 25, 2015 1:44 pm

I just read this article about how rigid gender roles reduce birth rates as women become more educated. In some places they reduce them so much that governments worry. Breaking the Baby Strike
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Re: Work, family, and why gender roles reduce the birth rate

Post by Dannyboy on Mon Jul 27, 2015 2:16 am

Hate to say it, but good. Honestly, the world needs fewer people so that we can share resources, and i'm perfectly fine with allowing people from poor countries to live in the US.

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Re: Work, family, and why gender roles reduce the birth rate

Post by litterature on Mon Jul 27, 2015 6:24 am

Dannyboy wrote:Hate to say it, but good. Honestly, the world needs fewer people so that we can share resources, and i'm perfectly fine with allowing people from poor countries to live in the US.

Marx noted, as a criticism of Malthus, that half of Ireland dying of famine or fleeing for the US/Lancashire didn't make Ireland one bit more prosperous.
I get a bit nervous whenever people assume that declining birthrates imply some sort of ecological paradise, since there have been many cases of the population of a country drastically dropping, due to war, famine, emigration, lack of jobs and yes, declining birthrates, and generally it's not good for the economy.
I reckon there's a political side to it that goes beyond economics - it's not how much there is, but whether the political tools to distribute it are there, and usually when the population drops it's because the political tools aren't there, and the population dropping won't change that, which is relevant to the matter at hand because gender roles won't change just because a country becomes 70% old people.

I was meaning to post the exact same thing on the technology and jobs thread - working less hours isn't necessarily a bad thing, the problem is that we don't have the tools to rationally distribute labour time because getting a job is a competition, which makes sense if we're talking about things like designing a building, but is pretty stupid when it's about scrubbing floors, picking up phones or moving boxes around, which are things that most people can do just fine. Working class people tend become unemployable sooner or later, and now this has spread to the part of the working class that lives a bit better and doesn't do manual labour, but in my opinion it's more of a political problem, and also a worrying one because the labour force is also a natural resource (which is something that the people wishing for an extremely aged population seem to forget) and we're squandering it and generally not taking care of it at all.

So I think it's better to think about how to distribute jobs and wealth first, and then consider whether there are too many people, because anything else is as if we weren't even trying! We don't even know/care to think about how to keep older people as visible members of society yet we're glad that the population is aging?!

Worth noting that wealthy people do have tons of kids, too...

(edit: just my opinion of course!)

ps. I think dense cities are fantastic places for kids, though! I was extremely happy growing up in a dense city actually!

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Re: Work, family, and why gender roles reduce the birth rate

Post by reboot on Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:37 am

It will be interesting to see what happens with naturally declining (as opposed to disease, war, famine) populations. This is unique in human history and I agree with you litterateur, it is going to require a rethink on work, aging, family structure, etc.. East Asia, Southern and Eastern European are all going to be case studies.
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Re: Work, family, and why gender roles reduce the birth rate

Post by CP96 on Mon Jul 27, 2015 6:42 pm

Oh god, the comments on that article... Facepalm
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Re: Work, family, and why gender roles reduce the birth rate

Post by reboot on Sat Aug 01, 2015 1:19 pm

Not directly related to birth rate, but this article is about how the majority of young men (I hate the word millennial) want to have egalitarian roles as fathers, but policies and attitudes towards child care are still traditional, so most fail at their goal and end up with the traditional roles.
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Re: Work, family, and why gender roles reduce the birth rate

Post by Nerdator on Sat Aug 01, 2015 3:26 pm

It's strange that the article fails to notice in their diagram that there is also a clear economic factor. The Southern Europe isn't doing well as a whole, take Spain as an example: with its general unemployment in excess of 20% (over 50% for young people), you would be surprised to see educated people staying in the country, let alone have children there. The Nordics do feel better.

On the other hand, Germany, of all places, is in the middle of the diagram, so the subsidies do amount to something substantial in terms of increasing the fertility rate.

reboot wrote:Not directly related to birth rate, but this article is about how the majority of young men (I hate the word millennial) want to have egalitarian roles as fathers, but policies and attitudes towards child care are still traditional, so most fail at their goal and end up with the traditional roles.

Just a little comment here: I regularly get work from a web-site devoted to offering parents all sorts of advice and 'fun' stuff to do with their pre-schoolers. And they try to appear hip and modern, even inviting local celebrities and stuff, but the thing is that their texts are disgustingly geared towards women. It's not openly declared (unless a celebrity blurts out something stupid), but it's so profoundly ingrained and accepted as a default –while still seeping through the language ('no, no, this isn't a girls-only club *yes it is!*, nope!')– it's repulsive. I do realise that I live in a very (for the EU) conservative place and that I couldn't give less of a shit about children (as long as abortions are legal here), but I see men silently excluded, and I am a man, so fuck that shit! (Not to mention that this actually hurts men in my position, too, because this reinforces our objectification as walking meatbags of stability.)
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