Monday, August 17, 2015

Men Adrift (1)

Last month, the Economist published an interesting article called Men Adrift.

Technology and trade mean that rich countries have less use than they once did for workers who mainly offer muscle. A mechanical digger can replace dozens of men with spades. A chinse steel worker is cheaper than an America. Men still dominate risky occupations such as roofers and taxi-driver, and jobs that require long stints away from home, such as trucker and oil-rig worker. And other things being equal, dirty, dangerous and inconvenient jobs pay better than safe, clean ones. But the real money is in brain work, and here many men are lagging behind. Women outnumber them on university campuses in every region bar South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
In “The End of Men”, a good book with a somewhat excessive title, Hanna Rosin notes that of the 30 occupations expected to grow fasted in America in the coming years, women dominate 20, including nursing, accounting, child care and food preparation. “The list of working-class jobs predicted to grow is heavy on nurturing professions, in which women, ironically, seem to benefit from old stereotypes”.
And poorly educated men are often much worse at things such as showing up on time and being pleasant to customers (even if they don’t feel like) than their female peers are. For the working class the economy has become more amenable to women than to men.
The world’s most dysfunctional people are nearly all male. Men have always been more violent than women, even if they are less violent now than they used be. In America today they commit 90% of the murders and make up 93% of the prison population. There are also four times more likely to kill themselves than women are.
The ability to defer children is one of the reasons why 23% of married American women with children now out-earn their husbands, up from 4% in 1960. Few women in rich countries now need a man’s support to raise a family. (They might want it, but they don’t need it.)
The difference is in part because unskilled men have less to offer than once they did. In America pay for men with only a high school diploma fell 21% in real terms between 1979 and 2013; for those who dropped out of high school it fell by a staggering 34%. Women did better. Female high school graduates gained 3%; high-school dropouts lost 12%.
Second, many men do not work at all. In America, the share of men of prime working age who have a job has fallen from a peak of nearly 95% in the mid-1960s to only 84% in 2010.

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