One of the reasons why I argue that you should not have sex out of marriage is selfish pragmatism. If you have sex outside marriage then (a) you are likely to lose perspective and either end up in a defacto marriage or married to your inamorata. or (b) find yourself open to charges of abuse, harassment or (far worse) rape. (Rape is rare (thank goodness), but the accusations — aimed at all men — are not uncommon.
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) October 4, 2014
It does not matter if you put a ring on her finger as far as the courts are concerned; if you could have sired that child you did, and you will be hit with child support (and frequently, very limited access). This does make a market opportunity for sex workers: as the legend said a movie star pointed out he had sex with prostitutes and the payment was so they went away and bothered him no more.
But when men check out they stop working as hard. Their money goes into their hobbies. If you are single, you do not need that three bedroom house in the good school zone: an apartment in town (or better, a cabin in the woods) will suffice.
And the number of men working is dropping.
Tying this back to the chart on men’s employment, what this means is one of two things is going on:
1) The entire reduction in men’s earnings and labor force participation is due to the loss of incentives which were in place when we were a marriage based society.
2) Structural forces have reduced men’s participation in the workforce (a shifting economy, global trade, an increase in welfare/disability payments, etc), while at the same time men’s incentive to push past these obstacles has been greatly reduced. Put another way, we have reduced men’s incentive to work hard at exactly the time we need them working their hardest. Even worse, each of these two problems feeds the other in a vicious circle. Weaker incentives for men to excel results in a weaker economy, which weakens marriage, which then further weakens the incentives for men to excel.
No matter how you view it, we are paying a huge price for our decision to move from a marriage based family structure to a child support family model. Moreover, this price is going to continue to increase as the inertia left over from the former model fades away.
Okrahead comments on this, correctly, that the worship of the career is stopping family formation. It is also making young women incredibly tired, and causing a lot of headaches in education, Most women will work part-time when their kids are small — they will not want to have their kids in childcare if they can avoid it. I find it interesting that when the NZ Medical Council bought in currency regulations (that required you work every year (a) a single woman was chairperson of the council and (b) the junior doctors opposed it because we were the ones who married fellow medics and we wanted to have non tired, happy wives and we wanted them around our kids. We wanted part-time work, but we also wanted female medics to be able to take a year off after childbirth without penalty. Did not happen for it did not fit within the feminist narrative, and for 20 years now young women have to drag themselves off to work one or two sessions a week when they have infants simply to keep their registration current for when they return to work.
I’m going to suggest that affirmative action for women is part of the problem here as well. AA at every level (college, grad/med/law school, initial employment, advancement) for women assures that women will have access to more and better careers than even men who are objectively far more qualified. Take, for example, the deranged individual who just the other day vaulted the fence around the White House and forced his way in, while carrying a knife. He was confronted at the door by a female Secret Service agent, whom he easily “brushed past.” Here is a woman who has been given (not earned) a prestigious career position for which she is not only not qualified, but which in point of fact she is physically incapable of performing. I would posit that her example is in no way unique in our economy.
This has two immediate ill effects: 1) Women are in jobs/careers that would in an objective framework belong to men, and as a result fewer men are able to gain such positions. 2) Women refuse to marry because hypergamy demands they marry “up”; but their own positions have been falsely inflated by affirmative action.
What we are seeing is a “bubble economy” of female employment. This bubble, as with all such false economies, is not sustainable in the long run. Placing unqualified individuals into vital/prestigious career fields forces out truly qualified individuals while also placing a drag on the economy as a whole as those unqualified individuals fail to perform the duties for which they are being paid.
This is especially pernicious because these women are not having children, resulting in a baby bust amongst those women who normally would be the “best” of the mother candidates… High I.Q., sound education, etc… All the things that used to be considered prime qualities for a woman of good breeding to further breed are now indicators that she most likely will neither marry nor breed.
You can find the same kind of analysis over at the 538 blog, which brings poverty into the room. The poorer are not getting married: they are not getting into relationships, because, in the end, women are rational, and knowing that they will have years of limited income when raising children, want to marry a man with a steady job.
There is also evidence that the divergence in who gets married and when reflects attitudes toward marriage that are also shifting. In a 2010 Pew survey, 45 percent of respondents with at most a high school diploma agreed that “marriage is becoming obsolete,” versus just 27 percent of college graduates. The survey results suggest the division is primarily along socioeconomic lines: There was a similar split by income, while the divisions by race, political orientation and even age were significantly smaller.7
In its report last week, Pew suggested that one reason for falling marriage rates is the decline in employment among young men. That may also help explain the education gap in marriage. Put simply, men without jobs are much less likely to get married, and men without a college degree are much less likely to get jobs.
In the Pew survey, 78 percent of never-married women said it was “very important” for a prospective spouse (in most cases, a husband) to have a steady job. That ranked above any other requirement, including “same moral and religious beliefs” (38 percent), “at least as much education” (28 percent) and even “similar ideas about having and raising children” (70 percent). The survey results are borne out by women’s actual behavior. About half of men ages 25 to 34 with a steady job have been married, compared to just a third of those without a steady job.
I’d add that in a lot of sociology there is a problem with proxy measures: those who are marrying tend now to be those who either are observant within their religion (which is good for you) or upper class, with the associated attention to health and encouragement of achievement, frugality and deferring gratification. These people are good risks — financially and maritally. It’s like using home ownership as an outcome — it works because mortgagees are good credit risks.
I can hear people muttering “but Chris is religious, and here he is talking cold blooded economics and marketplace. What is up?” Well two things. Firstly, most people in my cohort (Punk/Post Hippie: tail end Baby Boom /early Gen X) are not religious. Secondly, within the church there is a paucity of teaching on sexual purity and a tolerance of fornication. And thirdly, we are a divergent species, with two genders, and those genders have different vulnerabilities and agendas. Deti comments
“When looking at the cohort of 35-45, the issue of children is most unlikely to be on the table. Therefore, sex and companionship are the only real reasons the man would marry. Those who desire to be obedient to God must remarry if they want licit sex.”
True. But when we get to the issue of remarriage for men in the 45-64 age cohort, one of the least religious in history, I think that one of the last things on the minds of most men at that age is obedient to God’s requirements for licit sex. The fact is that a 50 year old man has more SMV left than a woman of similar age and station. Said another way, it’s why a 50 year old man often won’t date or have sex with a woman of the same age. He’s looking for sex and companionship, and most likely he won’t have to marry to get it from a woman in the 35-45 age cohort. If he had to marry to get it, he probably would, But since he doesn’t have to, he doesn’t.
It’s different for women in the same age group. These women don’t remarry as easily, simply because they can’t. They have a lot less SMV to work with, though they desire remarriage probably more than similarly aged men. The imperatives of remarriage are different for women at this age — it’s not about resources for kids; it’s about resources for self-care. She doesn’t want to marry because she needs a guy to take care of her kids; she wants marriage so she can lock in a man and his money to care for HER.
Remember the three female imperatives. The first is alpha sperm for kids; the second is beta provisioning to care for the kids. The third kicks in if she fails in the first and second. The “tertiary” imperative is for the woman to secure provisioning for herself by any means necessary.
For me, a true faith in God, and fidelity to God, in a woman, is a huge plus. If you do not have this, you are disqualified: I will (have and do) walk past plenty of women who are beautiful to date those who are faithful. (Besides, if pretty and faithful, you can become physically fit. Spiritual fitness, however, is far rarer).
But I take my faith seriously. I think our society is broken. I am trying to engineer a remnant, to preserve what is good from the West.
For I see the bursting of the social democratic bubble, the end of affirmative marriage, and the coming of a new dark age. Which is likely to be poor, and pagan. The only question is if that paganism, that sorcery, will be called Hindu, Islam or Wiccan.
Found a better graph on workforce participation at Carpe Diem.