The largest single factor in US economics, as well as the economics of the developed world in the past 50 years has been hands down the migration of women into the labor force.
No argument about it. Cannot be debated. Cannot be questioned. Just go and look at the data yourself.
It shouldn’t be surprising since allowing the better half of society to enter college, work, establish careers, etc., effectively doubles your labor force, doubles your intellectual capital, and therefore doubles your ability to produce wealth. Therefore the majority, or at least the plurality of increases in standards of living in the past 50 years can be contributed to women working.
It may also go a long way in explaining why Islamic countries or just countries in general that have their women subservient to men suffer such low standards of living, since they effectively bar half their potential labor force from working, severely handicapping their country’s ability to produce wealth.
Regardless, for all the economic benefits to women entering the labor force there are some drawbacks.
Notably with women out of the house, the responsibility of child rearing has not been outsourced to the father (oh, no, we’re too proud for that), but rather outsourced to the state. It is no coincidence that spending on public education has not only exploded, but expanded to cover things like feeding kids (lunch boxes are antiques now with taxpayer-financed breakfast and lunch served to the students), pre-school, after school programs, tutoring, counseling, teenage pregnancy programs, sex education, etc., as more and more women have entered the labor force, effectively turning the Department of Education to the Department of Baby Sitting and Child Rearing.
Also, the explosion in the use of day care facilities. A fact that I particularly detest for, again, it would seem to me that if you had the child and loved the child, you would want to spend those precious few moments with them in childhood. Alas, I must be too damn idealistic or old school for it seems to me children are now no different than an SUV, a huge diamond ring, a flat panel TV etc., ie- a “status” symbol, an “item” to have that goes well with the drapes, and sadly something that is no more loved than one’s granite kitchen counter tops. Ergo, it’s like a dog, you can leave “it” at the kennel. I can think of no other explanation why somebody would use day care.
An additional drawback to women’s entrance into the labor market, though I have not scientific evidence for it, is that I would speculate a lot of the “social” problems children have where they’re walking into schools, shooting their peers, doing drugs, putting “bodily fluids” in cafeteria salad dressing, waving gang signs at each and just in general acting like immature, disrespectful feral youth comes from the fact there is not a stable traditional “nuclear” family around. And as these kids age and become “adults” no doubt the crime rate will increase as these “Lord of the Flies” adults enter society, as it has.
Now fingers are typically pointed to the “women’s liberation movement” as the main culprit for women’s migration to the labor force and therefore these social costs (and the rarely mentioned economic benefits). However, I had an epiphany recently that points to a different culprit/hero (depending on your take).
It was Fall and I was too busy to rake my own yard. Ye, the city of Minneapolis demands that it be raked so, despite it hurting my blue collar soul, I actually decided to drop the money on having somebody else rake my yard for me.
There was an element of lost pride there as I always fathomed myself raking my own yard for “such a thing would never be beneath me.”
But with 90-100 hour work weeks it had to be.
Fortunately I had a female friend of mine rake my yard for the low low price of dinner. This permitted me, in the classical Adam Smith’s Division of Labor way, to work up more money than I would have had to pay for dinner, benefiting not just me, but my female friend as well.
But the interesting thing was my female friend is an accountant and by no means has a lot of free time on her hands either. She’s just a very charitable person and was only working 50 hours a week. But I thought, she could have just as well outsourced the job to some neighborhood kid, paid him $10 and got a $40 out of me.
And then the epiphany hit.
Raking is a chore. Cleaning is a chore. Preparing food is a chore.
All of which we outsource because it is more efficient to do so.
Child rearing is also a chore.
Child rearing is also being outsourced.
And thus my theory was born. It is not so much because of the women’s liberation movement that women entered the work force as much as it may be just the natural progression of economics and a further specialization of labor.
One cannot argue that this isn’t effectively is happening anyway. We are effectively outsourcing the upbringing of our children to third parties, either be it nannies, the government, or day care facilities. And the reason I surmise isn’t so much because women swallowed whole the ideology of the women’s liberation movement about “being independent” and “having a career just as a guy,” but rather because it makes complete economic sense.
In outsourcing your child to be reared by somebody else not only do you free up your own time to go and pursue a career, but (in most cases) you make more money. Both husband and wife can pull down $50,000 each, cumulatively $100,000 together, pay the schools $10,000 a year per pupil to take care of their children, netting them $90,000 in income (assuming one kid). Whereas if a wife (or husband) has to stay at home and rear the child, $50,000 of income is lost and the family must do with $50,000. It only makes ECONOMIC sense to then farm out your kids to child-farms (read, day care centers).
Of course the quality of the rearing may be called into question. The utter deteriorating in decorum, respect, civility and so forth demonstrated by today’s youth and even Gen X’ers my age show the social costs we now get to deal with.
Instead of gossip about Sophia Loren and Cary Grant being an item, we gossip about whether Britney Spears has panties on.
Instead of men singing eloquies about the beauty of women such as Frank Sintara we have a bevy of degenerates singing about pimps and hoes and how women are meat.
Chivalry is shot. So are women that like upstanding men. If you want to keep a girl now, you just treat her like crap. Dare you show any chivalry or Cary Grantedness or (as a policy I’ve recently discontinued) buy your date a corsage, you are a stalker, or at least at minimum, weird.
No, now we have SENIORS IN HIGH SCHOOL putting their semen into salad dressing.
Throwing the fabric of society down the toilet because it’s more efficient to outsource the upbringing of our children.
I’m sure there’s no longer term consequences for this.