Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Joshua Snyder discusses America's East Asian alliances.

One unintended result of Beijing's one-child policy is that China is one of the world's fastest aging societies. As a result of its rising standard of living, the elderly, who will soon be the majority, will demand an unprecedented amount of resources, which the Confucian Chinese would deem unthinkable to deny their elders. This demographic time bomb is only exacerbated by the prevalence of sex-selective abortion resulting in an alarming surplus population of males. It is very conceivable that fifty million young men with no possibility of marriage or family could find a substitute in military glory, even given the traditional Confucian disrespect toward things military. This could conceivably pose a risk for international instability. But it is inconceivable that China would target America for a land and resource grab.


Enbrethiliel said...


Anthropologists have theorised that war is more likely to break out when there are significantly more men than women in the population. Yet even though feminists like to sneer that this proves that men are naturally violent, while women are the promoters of peace, Mr. Snyder's analysis seems more likely: military glory is turned into a substitute for marriage and family by thousands of frustrated men.

There is something similar going on in East Germany at the moment. Due to the region's economic situation, many residents have been emigrating to where they can find jobs--and for some reason I don't know, most of them have been women. So not only do many East German men lack jobs, but they also lack the chance to marry and have families. Unfortunately, what they have chosen to drown their sorrows in is neo-Nazism.

It would be interesting to do a study of crisis points in history and whether these were accompanied by such "lopsided" populations (which are really hundreds of thousands of "lopsided" families). For instance, was there a similar problem in France when the Revolutionaries lashed out so brutally at everything that stood for authority?

elena maria vidal said...

Fascinating reflections! It would be interesting to read (or re-read) some social histories of France before the Revolution. I will see what Simon Schama has to say about it in "Citizens."

Dymphna said...

These boys are going to be frustrated and angry. The government will channel their discontent and it may well be a disaster for us. While we waste time in Iraq we ought to be quietly getting ready for a real war.

elena maria vidal said...

That's what I think, Dymphna!