Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Another Chinese Riddle

Poly sent me this story from the Sydney Morning Herald which warns of the coming wave of "40 million Chinese bachelors" and what a society of such skewed sexual demographics may expect of their affect.

"Such serious gender disproportion poses a major threat to the healthy, harmonious and sustainable growth of the nation's population and would trigger such crimes and social problems as mercenary marriage, abduction of women and prostitution."

Well, it's not just that. Chinese culture finds itself in a quandary like that of the Yanomamo. The latter's ecological conditions are different, to be sure, and there is a chicken and egg factor to consider in the comparison, but regardless the result is a self-perpetuating male-chauvinist society. Warfare takes care of the excess male population of the Yanomamo; god help us all if Chinese culture provides the same answer to the same structural problem. But I think I see the likely solution, which is indeed hinted at in the quote: slave labour prisons. Such an answer would take care of two cultural needs, removing excess volatile young males from the general populace, and also utilising still another pool of availiable cheap labour with which the culture can further "industrialise."

In other words, the material conditions are perfect for the perpetuation of the authoritarian regime which rules China.

But the "Christian" alternative is equally hopeless if not having the special virtue of being utterly moronic: no birth control or family planning.

So, easier said than done, I admit, but the only thing to do is to destroy the old Confucian preference for the male-passed "family name," the cause, at least in the Chinese zeitgeist, of the male dominated heirarchy. Through this, strict family planning will still be practiced, as it must, but parents will be satisfied with a girl or boy. Fat chance.

Maybe the one worthy gift Global Capitalism and Western Culture can give the Chinese is its utter indifference to "family" names or surnames. Our names are increasingly meaningless, and though this is sad and unnecessary in our culture, to the Chinese such indifference could be a godsend.