Forty Million Frustrated Bachelors

Demography is, as the saying goes, destiny. China faces a time bomb. Official population policy, which forces families to abort or prevent pregnancies beyond the state—imposed limit of one, combined with the Confucian preference for boys over girls, has resulted in a grave mismatching of males and females in its population structure. Forced to choose, families opt for live births for boys, and, thanks to the ability to use ultrasound screening of fetuses, kill their unborn girls in large numbers. In 2000, there were about 117 births of boys for each 100 girls nationally, with the ratio soaring to 130 boys in the richer southern provinces of Hainan and Guangdong. Thirty percent more males than females!

 

By the year 2020, there will be thirty to forty million young adult males unable to find women to marry in China.

 

Anyone who has ever dealt with numbers of horny young adult males understands the gravity of this problem. A permanently frustrated and angry mass of young men is a potential source of revolutionary street mobs, or, alternatively, of testosterone—powered soldiers. China's leadership, ever anxious to cling to power, is all but certain to choose the latter option.

 

Western Europe and Japan face their own demographic crisis. A massive collapse in their populations looms over the next several decades. Their young women are choosing to have fewer babies, either preventing or terminating their pregnancies, spurring immigration, magnifying the proportion of the elderly in the population structure, straining social welfare systems to the breaking point, and painting a picture of continuously shrinking domestic markets for local producers of goods and services.

 

Meanwhile, China's neighbor and population peer India faces a similar problem with its population structure. Although not constrained to one child by government policy, Indian parents also have a strong preference for boys over girls, and ready access to ultrasound machines and abortions. In Hindu culture, a girl child requires a large dowry at marriage time. Hence, for parents, a girl baby represents a major financial liability compared to a boy baby. Thus, India's population structure is deforming itself into an imbalance of males and females, too.

 

Two regional rivals, each of a billion or so population, each economically resurgent, each deservedly proud of an ancient and sophisticated culture, and each anxious to right historical wrongs and humiliations. And now each of them facing the problem of a future mass of angry, frustrated, horny young men with lots of surplus energy. This is not too promising.

 

There are only a few scenarios to consider:

 

1)     Mass popularity of male homosexuality;

2)     Mass sharing of available females via prostitution;

3)     Mass conscription of the surplus males into standing armies.

 

Number 1 has little historical resonance in either culture. But modernity has been known to change values on a mass scale. Number 2 does, unfortunately, have historical precedent. Even more unfortunately, so does number 3.

 

Discerning readers may notice a common source of all these problems: a readiness to employ birth control, most especially abortion. One doesn't need to believe in the concept of karma to understand that there is a price to be paid for violating the sanctity of life.

Demography is, as the saying goes, destiny. China faces a time bomb. Official population policy, which forces families to abort or prevent pregnancies beyond the state—imposed limit of one, combined with the Confucian preference for boys over girls, has resulted in a grave mismatching of males and females in its population structure. Forced to choose, families opt for live births for boys, and, thanks to the ability to use ultrasound screening of fetuses, kill their unborn girls in large numbers. In 2000, there were about 117 births of boys for each 100 girls nationally, with the ratio soaring to 130 boys in the richer southern provinces of Hainan and Guangdong. Thirty percent more males than females!

 

By the year 2020, there will be thirty to forty million young adult males unable to find women to marry in China.

 

Anyone who has ever dealt with numbers of horny young adult males understands the gravity of this problem. A permanently frustrated and angry mass of young men is a potential source of revolutionary street mobs, or, alternatively, of testosterone—powered soldiers. China's leadership, ever anxious to cling to power, is all but certain to choose the latter option.

 

Western Europe and Japan face their own demographic crisis. A massive collapse in their populations looms over the next several decades. Their young women are choosing to have fewer babies, either preventing or terminating their pregnancies, spurring immigration, magnifying the proportion of the elderly in the population structure, straining social welfare systems to the breaking point, and painting a picture of continuously shrinking domestic markets for local producers of goods and services.

 

Meanwhile, China's neighbor and population peer India faces a similar problem with its population structure. Although not constrained to one child by government policy, Indian parents also have a strong preference for boys over girls, and ready access to ultrasound machines and abortions. In Hindu culture, a girl child requires a large dowry at marriage time. Hence, for parents, a girl baby represents a major financial liability compared to a boy baby. Thus, India's population structure is deforming itself into an imbalance of males and females, too.

 

Two regional rivals, each of a billion or so population, each economically resurgent, each deservedly proud of an ancient and sophisticated culture, and each anxious to right historical wrongs and humiliations. And now each of them facing the problem of a future mass of angry, frustrated, horny young men with lots of surplus energy. This is not too promising.

 

There are only a few scenarios to consider:

 

1)     Mass popularity of male homosexuality;

2)     Mass sharing of available females via prostitution;

3)     Mass conscription of the surplus males into standing armies.

 

Number 1 has little historical resonance in either culture. But modernity has been known to change values on a mass scale. Number 2 does, unfortunately, have historical precedent. Even more unfortunately, so does number 3.

 

Discerning readers may notice a common source of all these problems: a readiness to employ birth control, most especially abortion. One doesn't need to believe in the concept of karma to understand that there is a price to be paid for violating the sanctity of life.