Monday, December 15, 2008

Industrialization and the Decline of Families?

I found this article and it got me wondering.

Lets see if I can come up with an order of events that seems to make sense:

1) Industrialization leads to a more demanding work environment.
2) In a culture where men are the primary workforce, it leads to absent fathers in the home due to long working hours.
3) Absent spouses leads to disgruntled marriages and *somewhat* higher divorce rates.
4) *Somewhat* higher divorce rates leads women to seek financial independence prior to a marriage that might fail.
5) Additional bodies in the workforce (now men and women) leads to increased industrialization.
6) Increased industrialization leads to a demanding work environment on the entire populace.

In America, (7) is thriving day cares, single mommies (no hubby to worry about) and child support when poorly nurtured relationships fall to pieces due to increased work hours and an entire society and culture with backwards priorities.

In Japan, (7) is men who still expect the traditional lifestyle and a working culture that doesn't allow it. And to couple that, now a society that REQUIRES female workers WHILE married...or their industrialized society will collapse from the lack of labor. They are stuck in a perpetual circle.

I wonder if America would be able to survive without a female workforce. I think they could. I don't know if Japan could, though.

And from what I know of work + family-life, I think I'd die if stuck in the work environment I'm in now while trying to care for a household, children, and making time for the quality of relationship I want with my husband.

Its TOO demanding.

I'll trade in my badge for an apron and a vacuum cleaner any day.


Bhanu Prasad said...


If these women wish to pursue a career they can marry a low-status guy who will greatly benefit from her "success" .These men are most likely to help the woman in domestic chores.

But the point to be noted is the refusal of these well-educated and well-jobbed females from settling with a spouse below their class.

A successful and an aggressive man is least likely to
wash,clean and nurture. He is driven to succeed and any other duty is dispatched as an impediment.

And of course, the article is typical of MSM.

and regarding your events, let me add a few

8)Birth rate plummets
9)Too many old to run a workforce
10)Immigration from third world
11)Native population dwindles to a minority.(I heard that Anglo-Saxon Americans will be a minority by 2050).
12)Society fragmented and atomized
13)Social Unrest.

Bhanu Prasad said...

And look at this monumental line:

--The cultural taboo against single parenthood is far stronger than in the United States, where about 37 percent of births are outside wedlock.---

So the author of the article promotes single parenthood.Can you believe that? And he whines of "cultural taboo" and "moral policing" against single parenthood.And everyone know how disastrous single parenthood is.

I would banish this irresponsible journo to the center of Sahara Desert.

Amir Larijani said...

Yep...Japan, with their low birth rate--which is well under the replacement level--is in a serious bind. They don't have the workforce that is conducive to prosperity. Even worse, that very taxpayer base is shrinking.

That is the same story in Western Europe, the Middle East, even China (as their 1-child-per-family policy is going to eventually bite them in the ass).

In the U.S., immigrants allow for an expanding population base, but even in our case the retiree base is expanding faster than our worker base.

Christina said...


Take a harder look at that article. I don't care what perspective its written against, what that woman is saying has some merit.

Japanese men have a hard core work ethic that I think rivals American men. But even that's beside the point.

Its a CULTURE and SOCIETY that strongly encourages BOTH men and women to be working...because there aren't enough people even with all of them working to support their economy.

AND you have men who really aren't egalitarian or laid back enough TO want to stay at home. They are looking for a TRADITIONAL life-style. The WIFE stays home, cooks, cleans, etc. But this woman is saying she doesn't have the time to do that and work at the same time. And there are no "Work/Life Balance" policies in Japanese workplaces that make that balance easier for a working wife.

And somehow their government is trying to figure out how to keep those women working and still get married and have babies.

How well do you think that's gonna work?

Elusive Wapiti said...

An excellent post Christina.

I'm kinda hoping that the in-progress conversion to the knowledge economy will, in some ways, return dads to the family. Families labor together again, just like it was in agrarian times.

But I think your larger point is well taken.

Also, more women in the workforce means (a) lower wages for everyone, s.t. now two incomes are required to maintain the standard of living, and (b) more consumers, and thus a larger economy.

"4) *Somewhat* higher divorce rates leads women to seek financial independence prior to a marriage that might fail."

Actually, I think it is the other way around. Feminism's main thrust is independence and autonomy for women. This seeking of financial independence is what drives the marriage rate.

Let me ask you this, Christina: you talk about egalitarian men that can be SAHDs. What do you say to the following:

(1): Would you marry a man knowing that you had to support him while you slew corporate dragons?

(2): Could you follow a man that didn't bring home the $$?

I contend that the vast majority of women cannot do either one.

Bhanu Prasad said...


Apparently succesfull Japanese men, contrary to the rants of MSM, do have hopes and aspirations. They do not whine being sole bread winners. As human beings they have an entitlement to choice.

I have a suggestion for this woman. She can marry a man who benefits from her employment. She can marry a Construction Worker, Teacher, Janitor, Railway lines man, Supermarket check out clerk or a business failure.These men have a very low earning potential and would always appreciate higher standard of life brought in by their partners. They may not adorn the role of Mr.Mom, but atleast they do not insist their high-earning wives to be SAHM and push the family into poverty.

But will this well-to-do woman marry down?I guess not...

Christina said...


Concerning this:
Actually, I think it is the other way around. Feminism's main thrust is independence and autonomy for women. This seeking of financial independence is what drives the marriage rate.

I probably should have finished in the same way that I started, but I think that the absentee-ism from initial industrialization leads to a somewhat higher divorce rate and that when women decide to seek autonomy prior to marriage (and consequently through marriage), it leads to an even higher divorce rate.

Does that make sense?

Let me ask you this, Christina: you talk about egalitarian men that can be SAHDs. What do you say to the following

I was more referring to the Japanese culture. I do know SOME (definitly not many) guys who do the SAHD thing and their wives are perfectly happy with it...but that's because they WANT to work. They like it. I honestly don't think and egalitarian can even be a SAHD, though. They'd have to have a reverse traditional mentalitiy (I guess a post-modern?). Egalitarian men and women would both seek working. Traditional men would prefer the woman's main domain being home. Post-modern men would not mind having home be their main domain.

The questions, though...I'm the very WRONG person to ask that question to.

First of all, I hate working outside my home. I get to the office every morning and can't concentrate on business related stuff because my brain is busy tallying up the things I should be doing at home...

1) We're spending more money on food than we should be...I need to go home and figure out what we have in the cupboards and fridge and make a menu plan and go shopping to supplement it and stick with it.

2) I need to make dinner

3) I need to work on our budget so that we don't need to spend too much time discussing finances directly after the wedding.

4) What is that smell everytime we come home before we turn on the AC?

5) Ughh...I need to wash the bedsheets...and did I get bleach on my pillow case? Wait...I don't use supplies???

6) Bathroom...

Get the idea???

I'm not a "worker". I'm a hard worker, but I strongly dislike being trapped in the corporate world for 40+ hours a week. There are women I know who wouldn't want a life any differently (my boss). And there are some who don't really know how to reconcile that desire with a man that compliments them when their childhood dream was a man who took care of them.

So, when you ask me those questions, the answers are going to be clearly:

1) No. I'd die in that atmosphere.

2) No. But I'd be supportive of him if he tried to find something a lil bit differently that wasn't as financially lucrative. Even if it meant I'd be bringing home the bacon temporarily.

You see, having met a guy at work who is well respected and a bit dedicated to his work, I don't really have to worry about the first one. However, I know he'd rather work at Home Depot or as the gym receptionist than be here =p And he's not so talented with the housework and cooking. And he loves food.

We compliment eachother to the T. It works.