Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Men Adrift (2)

Last month, the Economist published an interesting article called Men Adrift. This is having a devasting affect on family life.

There is no sugar-coating this: many blue-collar men no longer have the sort of earning or prospect that will make women want to marry them A recent Pew Poll found that 78% of never-married American women say it is “very important” that a potential spouse should have a steady job. (Only 46% of never-married men said the same.)
For poor people, especially, it makes sense. Two pairs of hands can juggle work and kids more easily. Spouses can support each other through sickness or might school. But this works only if both believe that the commitment is long term. It is pointless to make plans with someone you fear will sponge of you for a while and then vanish.
Means tested benefits make it easier of get by without a spouse, and sometimes penalise marriage. In America, a single mother with two children who earns $15,000 a year would typically receive $5,200 in food stamps, which would fall to zero if she were to marry a father who earned the same, and this just one of 80 or so means-tested benefits.
In most rich countries, the supply of eligible blue-collar men does not match demand… When men with jobs are in short supply, as they are in poor neighbourhoods through the rich world, any presentable male can get sex, but few women will trust him to stick around or behave decently. Two sociologists asked a sample of inner-city women of all races why they broke up with their most recent partner. Four in ten blamed his chronic, flagrant infidelity: half complained that he was violent. Such experiences make working class women distrust men in general. They still have babies with men, but they seldom marry them.

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