[FoRK] Three Billion New [ANGRY] Capitalists: The Great Shift
of Wealth and Power to the East.
Mon Jul 4 19:15:38 PDT 2005
Ian Andrew Bell (FoRK) wrote:
> On 2-Jul-05, at 2:07 PM, Adam L Beberg wrote:
>> By HENRY BLODGET
>> This, he contends, will
>> lead to the gutting of our economy, with well-paid skilled jobs
>> replaced by low-paid menial ones, and an America in hock to the
>> world's next economic leaders.
> And, thanks to China's one-child-only policy and the "Gendercide" of
> girls by abortion (and worse), you will have a generation of more than
> 50 million pissed-off, sexually-frustrated Chinese males ready to rock
> when it comes time to collect on that debt.
FWIW, there's evidence that not all of the gender imbalance in Asia
(and especially China) is due to societial sex-bias. Much may be
caused by disease, specifically hepatitis B. See:
The Search for 100 Million Missing Women
An economics detective story.
# *the dismal science*
# The Search for 100 Million Missing Women
# An economics detective story.
# By Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt
# Posted Tuesday, May 24, 2005, at 3:42 AM PT
# What is economics, anyway? It's not so much a subject matter as a sort
# of tool kit--one that, when set loose on a thicket of information, can
# determine the effect of any given factor. "The economy" is the thicket
# that concerns jobs and real estate and banking and investment. But the
# economist's tool kit can just as easily be put to more creative use.
# Consider, for instance, an incendiary argument made by the economist
# Amartya Sen in 1990. In an essay
# <http://ucatlas.ucsc.edu/gender/Sen100M.html> in the /New York Review of
# Books, /Sen claimed that there were some 100 million "missing women" in
# Asia. While the ratio of men to women in the West was nearly even, in
# countries like China, India, and Pakistan, there were far more men than
# women. Sen charged these cultures with gravely mistreating their young
# girls--perhaps by starving their daughters at the expense of their sons
# or not taking the girls to doctors when they should have. Although Sen
# didn't say so, there were other sinister possibilities. Were the missing
# women a result of selective abortions? Female infanticide? A forced
# export of prostitutes?
# Sen had used the measurement tools of economics to uncover a jarring
# mystery and to accuse a culprit--misogyny. But now another economist has
# reached a startlingly different conclusion. Emily Oster is an economics
# graduate student at Harvard who started running regression analyses when
# she was 10 (both her parents are economists) and is particularly
# interested in studying disease. She first learned of the "missing women"
# theory while she was an undergraduate. Then one day last summer, while
# doing some poolside reading in Las Vegas--the book was Baruch Blumberg's
# /Hepatitis B: The Hunt for a Killer Virus/--she discovered a strange
# fact. In a series of small-scale medical studies in Greece, Greenland,
# and elsewhere, researchers had found that a pregnant woman with
# hepatitis B is far more likely to have a baby boy than a baby girl. It
# wasn't clear why--it may be that a female fetus is more likely to be
# miscarried when exposed to the virus.
# Oster was suitably intrigued. She set out first to see if she could use
# data to confirm Blumberg's thesis. A vaccine for hepatitis B, she
# learned, had been available since the late 1970s. She found good data on
# a U.S. government vaccination program in Alaska. Before the vaccinations
# began, Alaskan natives had a historically high incidence of hepatitis B
# as well as a high birth ratio of boys to girls. White Alaskans,
# meanwhile, had a low incidence of hepatitis B and gave birth to the
# standard ratio of boys to girls. But after a universal vaccination
# program was carried out in Alaska, the Native Alaskans' boy-girl ratio
# fell almost immediately to the normal range, while the white Alaskans'
# ratio was unchanged. A vaccination program in Taiwan revealed similar
# Convinced now of the relationship between hepatitis B and birth gender,
# Oster set out on a vast data mission to determine the magnitude of that
# relationship. She measured the incidence of hepatitis B in the
# populations of China, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Bangladesh, and other
# countries where mothers gave birth to an unnaturally high number of
# boys. Sure enough, the regions with the most hepatitis B were the
# regions with the most "missing" women. Except the women weren't really
# missing at all, for they had never been born.
# If you believe Oster's numbers--and as they are presented in a
# soon-to-be-published paper
# <http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~eoster/hepb.pdf>, they are extremely
# compelling--then her detective work has established the fate of roughly
# 50 million of Amartya Sen's missing women. Her discovery hardly means
# that Sen was wrong to cry misogyny, at least in some parts of the world:
# While Oster found, for instance, that Hepatitis B can account for
# roughly 75 percent of the missing women in China, it can account for
# less than 20 percent of the boy-girl gap in Sen's native India. The
# culprits behind the disappearance of the 50 million women whom Oster did
# not find are likely the horrible ones that Sen and others have
# suggested. But Oster's analysis does show that economics is particularly
# useful for challenging a received wisdom--in this case, one that was
# originally put forth by another economist.
# The key to Oster's research was the availability of large and reliable
# sets of data. This is an advantage in economics that is not always
# conferred on the other social sciences. Consider now a different piece
# of groundbreaking research in developmental psychology.
# In the early 1980s, a group of psychologists and linguists banded
# together to write /Narratives From the Crib/,/ /a study of how children
# acquire linguistic skills. /Narratives /was built around the speech
# patterns of one child, a 2-year-old girl. Her parents had noticed that
# she often talked to herself in the crib after they said good night and
# left her room. They were curious to know what she was saying, so they
# began to record her chatter. They turned on the tape recorder while they
# were tucking her in and then left it running. Eventually they gave the
# tapes to a psychologist friend, who shared it with her colleagues. The
# big surprise to these experts was that the girl's speech was far more
# sophisticated when she was alone than when she was speaking with her
# parents. This finding, as Malcolm Gladwell would later write in /The
# Tipping Point/,/ /"was critical in changing the views of many child
# The 2-year-old girl in question was referred to as Baby Emily. Her full
# name? Emily Oster. In retrospect, it would appear that /Narratives From
# the Crib /suffers what researchers call an "n of 1" problem, with "n"
# representing the size of the sample set--a problem that is gravely
# exacerbated when the one subject turns out to be $-1?? well, a good bit
# brighter than average. Studying how children learn to talk by observing
# Baby Emily may be a bit like studying how children learn to play golf by
# studying Tiger Woods. Now that she's an economist, Emily Oster has at
# least assured herself that she will never contribute to another "n of 1"
# problem. The challenge in her field--and so far she has met it well--is
# quite the opposite: to take a mass of disparate numbers and somehow
# wring from it one thing that is true.
# /Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner are the authors of
# /Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
# Article URL: http://slate.msn.com/id/2119402/
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