I’ve been posting about the ongoing gender imbalance (gendercide through sex-selective abortion) in China and India, and how both nations are looking – or refusing to look – toward the future, when by 2020 each will have many millions more men than women (by then, China is projected to have 20 million more men; India, close to 12 million. Those numbers will rise substantially in the years after that, so that by 2035, China’s male imbalance will be 34 million, the equivalent of ten cities the size of Sydney, Australia).
I mentioned some of the early social changes that might occur as a result of this never-before-seen disparity, some of which are already reported (though regarded as one-offs, not as the thrusting point of trends) in the Asian press and picked up by newspapers in Europe. Kidnapping of women from western China to eastern regions, for example, and the sale of unwilling “brides” from poorer Indian regions (such as the state of Bihar) to men in richer ones (Punjab).
Let’s go on, shall we?
Already in China, unmarried men (those in their 20s are the tip of the iceberg) are known as “barren branches”. This nickname is particularly wounding in a society that – like India – tends to be family-centered. With too few women to fulfill the marriage needs of millions, many men will have to regard themselves as nomads, or as the infantilized only sons of aging parents. The parents who indulged them in youth – only sons are regarded in China as little princes, since they receive attention from two parents plus up to four fawning grandparents – will grow worried and angry when their boy fails to make a match to ensure that the family lives on through his children.
Neither China nor India possesses a strong history of child adoption. Many Asians regard couples who adopt as foolish, even after a long and fruitless struggle with infertility. Asians tend to value blood ancestry more than Westerners, who regard nurture – how one brings up a child – as more important than genetics. So as the increase in male population grows, we will see an almost frantic need to produce heirs, which will lead to more kidnappings and the sale of “brides”, possibly including polyandry (one wife, two or more husbands) among brothers or best friends. This will produce wretched lives for women and be a focal point of familial urgency for laws to be changed, so that cruel acts may be punished regardless of the perpetrators’ social class or family status. In addition, because men will worry about their wives’ fidelity and safety in the streets, we are likely to see a society that looks more like the Afghan model, where women are forbidden to leave their homes unless accompanied by a male. Technology could also be used. By planting a GPS chip under a woman’s skin, she will be trackable by her spouse(s) and, if kidnapped, more easily recaptured.
In the workplace, young men will put immense pressure on corporations and factories to hire them, probably including threats of boycotts, sabotage and industrial shutdown. We will see women fired from jobs they have held for years (such as happened in the US after World War II), so that unskilled men can take their places. This will be worrisome to investors and to consumers, since an emotionally uninvested and unskilled workforce produces shoddier goods. In addition, because women pay more attention to detail, all-male factories’ products will be of lower quality even after the male workforce acquires skills. There is the potential for products to injure or kill consumers because of flawed workmanship, and to be judged inadequate in the global economy, leading to fewer sales. Investing in Chinese or Indian business will thus carry additional risk.
That is true in healthcare, as well. Great numbers of men will pressure hospitals to fire women as administrators, physicians and nurses, technicians and other support staff (with probable exceptions in departments of pediatrics, gynecology and obstetrics) and replace them with men. Chinese and Indian hospitals will grow to resemble pre-Civil War American hospitals with their high incidence of alcoholism and neglectfulness among male staff. Most women will be banned from employment in hospitals (also in high schools and universities). It will be unlikely that hospitals will retain their excellence (despite good medical education), and more people will be looked after at home by extended family members, or will simply not receive care. There will also be a great push for the wealthy and middle-class of both countries to satisfy significant healthcare needs in other nations by acquiring visas to fly to Europe, Australia and the US for surgical tourism.
So far, the administrations of both China and India have not publicly acknowledged the uncontrollability of so many millions of unattached men. Perhaps they look to their own official suppressors of unrest. Yet the total army of China (including paramilitary police, who last year were given legislative authority to handle rebellion, riots, large-scale criminal attacks, etc.) equals 4.5 million (about 1 soldier per 1.7 citizens). In India, the total is 4.7 million (1/1.1). Placed against the overwhelming millions of young men in both countries who, emboldened by their numbers, will increasingly collect in gangs and engage in testosterone-fueled anarchy, it seems obvious that official armies and police forces in India and China will be ineffective. We will probably see streets, neighborhoods and towns fall under the control of large gangs.
The numbers of applicants for visas and citizenship to Western countries will continue to rise. The initial reasoning given to state departments will be that of fear of attack, kidnapping and harm because the applicants are female or the parents of girls. As civil unrest rises, more applicants of both sexes will besiege consulates, begging for succor in a society where no one can trust that the police or army are in control.
In the southern Chinese autonomous region of Guangxi Zhuang, which borders on Vietnam, and where the sex ratio at birth is a terribly high 100 girls/128 boys (compared to the normal 100/106), authorities recently announced a new effort to discourage women (often pressured by husband or in-laws) from aborting female fetuses: married women must get approval from their local township planning office before aborting. The consequences of violation would be a prohibition on birth for three years. (In China, married women are required to obtain permission to give birth. If they fail to do so, their child may not be granted a hukou, a household registration, barring the child from basic rights in its hometown.)
Guangxi Zhuang authorities are trying to stem the dreadful tide created by pressure to have a son in a one-child society. Yet it’s too little, too late.
Next post: Migration, national takeover, and clan identification.