Sunday, 10 February 2019

Modern cities - creations of humanity's selfishness


Joel Kotkin writes about the sex recession and, in doing so, provides this striking statistic:
The most extreme cases of libidinous decline are in Asia. In 2005, a third of Japanese single people ages 18 to 34 were virgins; by 2015, this had expanding to 43 percent. A quarter of men over 50 never marry.
Kotkin points to technology and a millennial generation who find personal interaction troubling or stressful ("...a survey of American millennials found 65 percent don’t feel comfortable engaging with someone face-to-face, and 80 percent prefer conversing digitally...").

Some of the outcomes from this de-sexed society are probably a good thing - fewer teenage pregnancies, for example - but it does give us another example of the prurience of modern youth culture, a puritanism embraced with enthusiasm by a generation of helicopter mums and judgemental fussbuckets.

The main reason, however, probably isn't culture change but rather the consequences of economic circumstances. For sure, employers like kidults - university educated millennial sorts who probably aren't going to do anything inconvenient like settling down to have a family - but the circumstance of people's lives also matters - people can't afford the risks of sex (also known as children). Here's Kotkin again:
High property prices and rents associated with dense cities correlate closely with low marriage and fertility rates. The places where child-bearing has plunged towards historic lows, are generally those with the highest house costs — including Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, Boston and San Francisco.
This utilitarian urban culture represents, as I've said before, a dead end for humanity. Cities and the life of dense urban civilisation is anti-child. Such places are designed to entertain young adults (a definition now extending to adults into their 40s) rather than the old-fashioned purpose of our presence on the planet - having a family. The environmental argument about population provides cover for such indulgence - having a family is portrayed as more selfish than living an essentially unattached life in one of civilisation's urban wonderlands.

Perhaps, in thinking about our society, we'll one day wake up and realise that two generations of anti-family public policies did not represent a liberation but, instead, were a period of spectacular selfishness on behalf of humanity.

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1 comment:

The Stigler said...

I don't think so.

The thing is that these have become self-selecting cities. People who don't want to grow up move to London. People who want a family don't. And some people move to London and meet someone, and then typically leave.