Did you know that society’s where men are more unable to marry, whether because polygamy or social forces against female survival, have greater rates of violence? You really don’t want a couple of nations with nuclear arms sitting right next to each other where there are massive numbers of men who cannot get mates, itching to go beat someone up.
What do you know? — we do!
In China, traditional biases against women could end up making it impossible for many men ever to find wives. Because of China’s strict policy limiting family size to one child, many parents abort female fetuses, with the result that there are now 117 boys born in China for every 100 girls. By 2020, China could have between 30 million and 60 million men who cannot find wives. [Coontz, Stephanie. 2005.Marriage: A History. pp. 3-4]
By contrast, estimates for the United States at the same time (c. 2000) were 105 males per 100 females. The European Union sits at 106/100, and South Africa is at 101/100.
Interesting, India has a similar problem with having too many boys. It seems that there parents have also been aborting females. The national average is 108 boys to girls, a number that is rising. But in some districts, the ratio is as high as 125 boy births to 100 girl births!
The article details that this is not a good thing, even though some women may see it as giving them a better bargaining position:
Surveys in Haryana and Punjab have revealed that some women genuinely believed that if their numbers decline, their value would increase because men will not find brides. Instead, men are buying brides from other States for as little as Rs. 5,000 (in Haryana a buffalo costs Rs. 40,000). These women are available to all the men in the family. Instead of being valued, women are now becoming targets of violence in districts with the lowest sex ratios.
Indian journalist Nita J. Kulkarni has an interesting map of sex ratios in India by state on her blog. She also has an interesting tale of what happened after she gave birth to her second daughter.
(As the happy father of a beautiful little girl in a non-polygynous society, all this seems so alien.)
For whatever reason, men want mating opportunities and when denied them, they get violent. Or I should say that there is a strong correlation between them. Perhaps an intervening variable is at work across so many cultures, but I rather doubt it.
Besides the normal concerns for the well-being and rights of fellow humans, there is the distinct worry that these two mighty nations may once again duke it out over the disputed territory. I’ve been fingering China as the most likely aggressor, perhaps after a precipitating event involving North Korea or Pakistan, and have been saying “Chinese land war in five years” for two years. Even if we can dodge the impending problem, we have another one coming up later as these massive male populations with no chances of marriage get organized and violent.