Friday, September 21, 2012

Comparative advantage and sex roles

BP asks about applying a concept from classical economics to societal sex roles:
Thanks a ton for alphagame.  You've helped met turn a lot of stuff around.  Quick question: Do you think Ricardo's Law of Comparative Advantage supports traditional gender roles in that even if women could be better scientists, that they should still focus in child-rearing etc because that's where they excel?
Given that I am a fairly notorious critic of free trade and David Ricardo's theory - not law - of comparative advantage, I do not believe comparative advantage would be a sound basis for arguing that women should focus on child-rearing instead of science or whatever.  Especially when the argument is completely unnecessary, as we now possess massive quantities of evidence showing that the modern equalitarian system, which encourages women to obtain college degrees and pursue professional careers in lieu of marrying and bearing children, is neither economically beneficial nor demographically self-sustaining.

Of course, most women and equalitarian men will not believe this until they see, with their own eyes, what they once considered to be their society vanishing on every side around them.  That's fine, virtually no one in the Soviet Union was expecting the 1989 collapse of Communist rule either.  The problem is that one can walk through the math and talk all one wants about grade schools in London where no one speaks English, but very few people will believe it can happen in their city or their neighborhood until one day they step out of their house and find themselves surrounded by their successors.


Hubbard said...


Your correspondent is on the same track as Gary Becker, who wrote about this in his book A Treatise on the Family back in 1981 (which helped him win the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1992). Long story short: Becker argued that women entering the workforce would raise the opportunity cost of childcare, and would therefore lower birthrates.

Steve Canyon said...

The whole women in the workforce benefits society arguments strike me as similar to those argued in favor of Keynesian economic policies.

Feh said...

"The whole women in the workforce benefits society arguments strike me as similar to those argued in favor of Keynesian economic policies."

And like the arguments for importing millions of helots because they raise the net GDP or something.

Anonymous said...

One thing is for sure, marrying women with money doesn't seem to make a better relationship, as even feminists are admitting (see heartiste).

Aeoli Pera said...

Ricardo's theory is just fine when the assumptions are met. That means two people (or more) whose individual, net economic contributions are both positive.

Then again, that's asking a lot. (Plus, you know what's more fun? Nation building!)

JCclimber said...

If I ever got married (and I did), I planned on having children (I did). The plan was to homeschool (we are).

What was never set in stone was which spouse would stay home. I was happy to be the stay at home dad, and said so. The caveat was that it would be permanent, not try it out for 2 years and see if she liked it or not.

Funny that I haven't met any women yet who preferred working over staying home and working at home doing more important things.

Anonymous said...

Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up.
The words in your article seem to be running off the
screen in Internet explorer. I'm not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I thought I'd post to let you know.

The style and design look great though! Hope you get the issue resolved soon.

Feel free to visit my webpage - data

Anonymous said...

My programmer is trying to convince me to move to .net from
PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses.
But he's tryiong none the less. I've been using Movable-type on numerous websites for about a year and am anxious
about switching to another platform. I have heard good things about blogengine.
net. Is there a way I can import all my wordpress content into it?
Any kind of help would be greatly
My page > help

Anonymous said...

Hiya! This is the second time visiting now and I personally just wanted
to say I truley fancy reading your web site.
I've decided to bookmark it at with the title: Blogger: Alpha Game and your Website address: I hope this is alright with you, I'm trying to give your wonderful blog a bit more exposure.
Be back soon.

Look into my site :: removal chemical

Anonymous said...

Hey would you mind letting me know which web host you're using? I've
loaded your blog in 3 completely different browsers and I must say
this blog loads a lot quicker then most. Can you suggest a good web
hosting provider at a honest price? Cheers, I appreciate it!

Feel free to surf to my homepage ... ideas

Post a Comment