Academic journal article Mankind Quarterly

Gender Roles, Traditions & Generations to Come: The Staffing of Social and Political Institutions

Academic journal article Mankind Quarterly

Gender Roles, Traditions & Generations to Come: The Staffing of Social and Political Institutions

Article excerpt

Whatever else a social or political institution may require, ongoing staffing is a necessary, if not sufficient requirement for its continuing existence. People are the sine qua non of any community or organization. If any community cannot generate a populace, then the organizations within that community lose their viability. It is suggested that a sea-change in reproductive dynamics occurred during the 1960's which lent greater survivability to some cultural formulae and lent lesser survivability to alternative cultural formulae. Cross-national data are presented which suggest that a community organized around gender complementarity has a competitive advantage, across generations, over a community organized around gender egalitarianism.

Key Words: Cultural evolution, gender roles, parent-child relations, gender complementarity, women's education, fertility.

Every child born this day is guaranteed to have a very long line of lineal ancestors. The length of the line depends upon whether the measurer is using Homo, hominid, mammal, vertebrate, or biota as the frame of reference. As a matter of contrast, no child born this day is guaranteed to have grandchildren: descendants. Not all children survive to puberty. Not all post-pubescents will have offspring. Not all of those offspring will have offspring. On the other hand, each person who is alive in 2200 A.D. will be able to trace his or her lineage back to ancestors who were alive in the year 2000 A.D. Alternative citizens of the year 2000 A.D. will have no lineal descendants to represent them in the year 2200 A.D.

This article argues that some cultural formulae bias the chances for their adherents being represented two centuries hence and that alternative cultural formulae bias the chances against their adherents being represented two centuries hence. Framed differently, some (sub)groups will behave in such a way as to generate a positive and promising long-term trajectory for themselves and their cultural formulae; while alternative (sub)groups will behave in such a way as to generate a problematic trajectory for themselves and their cultural formulae.

Furthermore, it is a reasonable inference that the land masses of the planet will not be devoid of inhabitants, but will be teeming with various versions of Homo sapiens in all those places which can sustain life throughout the year. This article addresses (i) who those people may be and (ii) how they get there. The article is - at base - educed from one essay and one correlation.

The Essay: Hardin's "Tragedy of the Commons"

In his seminal article "The Tragedy of the Commons", Hardin (1968) cleanly and cogently parsed out the problems inherent in the tenuous balance between individual freedom and the viability of the commonweal. That is, there are times when individual freedom must be curtailed for the overall society to function efficiently and competitively - in a very competitive world. One of Hardin's primary examples was 14 pollution". That is, if everyone were allowed to "pollute" ad libitum, then the commonweal would be threatened with a non-- sustaining environment. A second example is "homicide". If everyone would be allowed to murder any and all who annoyed him or her, then anarchy and mayhem would fragment the society. The automobile serves as a final example. If driving or parking were totally unsupervised, then traffic would be impossibly gridlocked, and transportation would grind to a halt. To prevent societal disintegration, society has devised laws and taboos and expectations which limit individual freedom for the good of the group. Consequently, "murder", "polluting", and creative parking are all curtailed and erased from the individual's palette of personal liberties.

The Correlation

Across nations, the relationship between rates of natural increase (birth rates minus death rates) and the percentage of women (rather than men ) in institutions of tertiary education is significant and negative (r^sub p^ = - . …

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