Wednesday, October 10, 2012

China's biggest threat: its men

Many people in the Western world are afraid of China as a new economic superpower. To a large extend, this is because of a mistaken belief that the world economy is a zero-sum game, and any progress in China is to the detriment of currently rich economies. Of course, rich economies mostly benefit from China's growth, as it makes some goods cheaper and opens new markets. And the richer countries are, the less they will want to get into destructive wars, if this is what you are worried about.

If there is a threat, it is rather from within China. First, there is a huge number of undocumented internal migrants who do not have access to social services. Second, as Jane Golley and Rod Tyers describe, there is a time-bomb resulting from an imbalance in the sex ratio. The surplus of men leads families to save too much in order to compete for scarce women to marry their sons to. The imbalance is so strong that regular immigration or human trafficking are not sufficient. But the most striking menace comes from the discouraged single and low-skilled men, who could amount to a quarter of all men of reproductive age by 2030, who are prime candidates for a criminal life. And reverting such trends is going to be very difficult.


LemmusLemmus said...
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LemmusLemmus said...

Do you know of any research to support the view that "the discouraged single and low-skilled men (...) are prime candidates for a criminal life"?