November 26, 2002
A FINE BALANCE:
Delhi's rich adopt gender selection of the poor
: A deep-rooted preference for male offspring is threatening the balance of the sexes (Catherine Philp, November 27, 2002, Times of London)
WHEN Bhanvi Kumri found out that the child she was carrying was a girl, she burst into tears. "I wanted to get rid of it," she said. Her first child had been a girl and when she became pregnant a second time, she prayed that it would be a boy. "A girl is OK, but a boy is a necessity in India."
In the end she had the baby, but she and her wealthy politician husband vowed that next time they would not leave it to chance. Four months ago, in a swanky Bombay fertility clinic, she underwent in vitro fertilisation to weed out female embryos and implant two males, the future heirs to her husband?s business.
Aniruddha Malpani, who treated Bhanvi, is an unapologetic crusader for what he calls "family balancing" although he admits he has yet to treat a patient seeking to have a girl. "People used to kill baby girls," Dr Malpani argues. "This technology means they don't have to do that anymore." [...]
In the past decade, the number of girls under six in Delhi has slipped from 945 per 1,000 boys to 865. Yet areas that include some of the most exclusive neighbourhoods showed as few as 796 girls. [...]
Already villages in Haryana and Punjab, the traditional bastions of female infanticide, are suffering the consequences of two decades of systematic eradication of females, with young men forced to buy in brides from elsewhere or even share a wife with their brothers. Sexual violence is also on the rise amid frustrated single men. It may only be a matter of time until upscale society is struck by its own set of consequences. [...]
The saddest thing, campaigners say, is that it is educated women themselves who are helping to perpetuate the old attitudes.
Also sad is that, because no one is willing to face up to the issue, women's groups here in America crusade for us to send "family planning" funds to such places, where our tax dollars would in effect be used to exterminate women.
Posted by Orrin Judd at November 26, 2002 10:00 PM
This is a spooky trend.
One wonders what will happen when there are hundreds of millions of 18 - 25 year old males in India and China, likely never to marry and knowing it.. expendable if you will. Yeesh.
I also wonder if simple market theory will kick in at some point. Does no supply and demand state that if there are so many fewer women, that will make females inherently more valuable?
The creepy thing is that if you give any credence to the proposition that the Bibilical book of Revelation predicts future events, this is yet another part of the puzzle falling into place for you. Revelation, after all, speaks of an army of 200 million from the lands of the "kings of the east" storming westward across the Euphrates on the way to Armageddon; a lot of people have wondered for a long time just where all the soldiers to man such a gigantic force would come from.
Well, we're lopoking at tens, if not hundreds, of millions of men in India and China who appear likely never to marry - at least, never to find wives in their own countries. What's one of the traditional solutions to large numbers of young men without jobs or prospects of marriage? Stick them in the army, of course.
I wonder if the gender-selecters in India and China, deep down, truly realize just how gigantic a scourge they might conceivably be knotting not just for themselves but for the whole world.
Of course they may reach a point where war between India and China is in each's best interest just to rid themselves of excess young males.
Andrew -- Market theory says an equilibrium will be reached, but doesn't say where -- it could be 800 women per thousand men, but it could be 200. Probably a few generations experience will lead people to bring the ratio much closer to 1:1 . . . but it could get ugly before then.
A market solution requires a market and a market implies, among many other things, that transaction costs are reduced by allowing both buyer and seller to express all their concerns about a transaction in a common medium of exchange. It's hard to see this happenig in the gender market in either China or India. There are, for example, very high transaction costs resulting from the fact that, even if we take a, shall we say, pre-modern view of when a girl becomes nubile, there is a long time and a large investment to make between couples seeing the demand and being able to satisfy it.
Nonetheless, there are mechanisms that will tend to curb demographic silliness; unfortunately, they can be much less pleasant than handing over your money and driving off in a new car. For example, we know perfectly well what young men do when permanently cut off from any supply of women. On the other hand, if "higher" castes and richer couples select for boys while lower casts and poorer couples can't select as efficiently, in ten years you may start to see the breakdown of the caste and class system in India, which is all to the good.
In addition to marriage across caste lines, we may see a reduction in wife burnings.
I think wife burnings ended some time ago.
This is what is meant by a woman's right to choose. I always knew that G-d has a great sense of humor.
Wife burnings continue. There are just about
daily reports in the Indian press.
Perhaps you mean suttee, which was outlawed
by the British. But that was widow burning.
Wife burning is widespread in India now.
You should consider establishing your own web log.
Excuse me please ... I meant you David Cohen. I have no idea where the name "Albert" came from.