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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Journal of the Plague Years

In The White Plague, Frank Herbert imagined how society would be transformed if struck by a genetically engineered plague that preferentially killed women. In his vision, post-Christian Europe and the United States ultimately transform the few surviving women into virtual goddesses who control society by choosing which men they would have sex with, choosing whose children they would bear.

Herbert’s future is barreling down upon us, but it will look rather different than he imagined.

While the ratio of marriageable women to marriageable men is indeed dropping throughout the world, albeit slightly more slowly than Herbert imagined, the drop isn’t due to a virus, but to abortion and polygamy.

As anyone who pays attention to demography knows, China and India have both been killing infant girls at an enormous rate, creating male to female population skews as high as 156 to 100 in some areas. Ultrasound machines combine with a cultural preference for males in Confucian and Hindu societies to create massive female infanticide, both in and out of the womb.

Oddly enough, however, few people have noticed another odd fact: though China and India are killing infant girls at an alarming rate, Muslim societies seem to slaughter them at an even greater rate.

Consider the table from the CIA World Fact book, reproduced in sortable format at Wikipedia

Sort the table on the sex ratio at birth for children and you will discover the “under the age of 15” column shows the Arab Muslim countries have essentially normal male/female birth ratios.

But now sort on the “15-65” age bracket. Six of the seven countries with the worst male-female skew are Muslim. For the “over 65” age bracket, all seven countries with the worst skew are Muslim.

We all know India and China kill pre-pubescent girls, no one mentions that Muslims kill post-pubescent women.

But, wait, there’s more.

China is the only country in which the suicide rate is higher among women than men. The male/female ratio of suicide increased between 1991 and 2001 and the trend is likely to continue. The suicide difference is driven entirely by young rural women: only that subgroup had a much higher suicide rates than their male counterparts.

Now, China’s drive to reduce its population growth rests on more than just infanticide. It is also working hard to move its rural population to the cities. Urbanization is associated with lower population growth because it destroys the extended family, and thus destroys the support network into which a child is supposed to be born.

Chinese authorities are forcing rural populations into the cities just as they have forced women to abort children. It is projected that, by 2040, the rapid drop in Chinese birth rates will actually create a greater imbalance between young workers and retired dependents that is greater than the problem the United States will face.

Everyone knows China will soon have an enormous number of single men. A large surplus male population is associated with increased violence (e.g., the American West in the 19th century). Many fear that China will go to war by 2020 in order to bleed off the excess men and stabilize what will become an increasingly violent society.

But China can’t do that, because most of those young men are only children. You see, by 2020, China will also have an enormous number of old people who rely on their only children for support. If millions of only children are killed in a war, there are that many million fewer workers to care for the elderly.

In short, China can’t afford a war – it will kill too many young people, and the Chinese are already short of young people. The lack of women creates a social pressure cooker with no good way to release the pressure. No matter what happens, the Chinese will be stacking a lot of body bags in the coming years; the Chinese economy will implode, just as Japan’s has today.

But Europe is no better off. Its native population is shrinking, its Muslim population is increasing. Europe will be much older, much smaller and much more Muslim by 2040. Muslim policies of polygamy and sharia will create a severe European shortage of women, both through sequestering and murder/suicide. This will likewise leave a large percentage of single young men on the streets, exactly as happens today in the Middle East.

In all of these areas, the shortages in women are currently being met by buying or kidnapping women from low-income countries for use in areas where girls and women are routinely killed. How long can this continue? It depends on how much money families can get by selling their girls. It depends on how much money slavery can generate.

When Frank Herbert imagined a future lacking in women, he imagined its impact on Catholic Ireland. In reality, the lack of women affects communist, Hindu and Islamic countries.

The vision is quite different from the reality.


Patrick said...

I watched a PBS documentary on China that showed the ridiculously huge crisis they are in. The biggest challenge they face is that, in every society in recorded history, too much of a male ratio in a population in an area creates violence - but it also creates a revolution of ideas and society. China is already accommodating by moving from communist ideals, but their society is too impatient for capitalism and democracy. I predict a people's revolution in China before 2020 towards capitalism - that, by itself, will change the world like few other things could.

tpellman said...

Steve, we miss you. Hope you are all right.