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How modern families increase social inequality | The Economist

How modern families increase social inequality | The Economist


The family has always been a central building block of society But families have changed dramatically in the rich world… …over the past 50 years You may kiss your wonderful life partner and your wife… He knows he has a donor He knows that we’re both his parents He knows he doesn’t have a dad and all of that… …and it’s just normal Changes to society mean that the old model of a breadwinning husband… …and a stay-at-home wife has all but collapsed A single mum supporting my own children is the normal nowadays And the different ways rich and poor families raise their children… …are increasing social inequality We are basically paying for pre-school what I paid for college 50 years ago, families didn’t look like this We’re so gay We work together We live together… …and love it Today, gay families like Maggie and Joelle’s… …are widely accepted in the rich world There are so many gay families in San Francisco It’s amazing It is becoming increasingly normalised Who is in this photo? A generation ago, it was almost unthinkable… …that same-sex couples would get married Look at this one This one’s really pretty… …I like this one You’re pretty But now most people in rich countries think gay marriage is fine I really, really wanted our families to accept our marriage as a marriage… …and not just like a girlfriend and I think until that time… …I swear, I think my family just thought I was in a phase for 15 years You were right, the wedding definitely had that effect on our families They’re in it with us now Fears that gay marriages would undermine heterosexual ones… …have proven unfounded And this is one reason why marriage equality has spread… …so extraordinarily fast Before 2001 gay marriage was not legal anywhere in the world Since then, it’s been legalised in nearly all rich countries… …and developing nations are starting to follow suit In California the right to get married was on and off… …but I think two months before our wedding was… …when it became permitted So that was the big part of our ceremony It’s a far cry from the 1960s, when families typically consisted… …of a dad who went to work… …a stay-at-home mum and three or more kids Better access for women to contraception… …education and jobs has changed this traditional family portrait Across the globe, families are shrinking Nowhere more so than in South Korea Here a growing number of women… …are rejecting marriage and having children altogether… …like Go Lee, who is 26 It’s Thursday night and I’m with my friends Like many South Korean women, Go and her friends are well educated We’re going to have Mexican food which is my favourite… …and maybe go to karaoke after this She says traditional employers make it hard to combine a career… …with marriage and motherhood I decided not to get married because… …first, career-wise when I had my first job… …there was a senior colleague whom I respected a lot She was devoted to work initially Suddenly she switched focus to her family… …and I saw her having a career break and her career stalled Go works in IT, but is also a vlogger on YouTube, where she urges… …South Korean women to be more assertive The problem is that the way you hold yourself is gender specific Women tend to be more passive and confined in the way they stand She believes South Korean men are part of the problem Many expect their wives to do all the housework… …and childcare, even if they have a job The old patriarchal society in South Korea is the fundamental reason… …why many South Korean women in their 20s and 30s… …like me, are choosing not to get married Men view women as an “assistant” At home, women need to be the homemaker and feed the family There is a huge mismatch of expectations around marriage in South Korea Most men want a 1950s-style relationship… …whereas women want something more modern and equal The result is they often end up not marrying or having kids at all… …and that’s left South Korea with a problem Its population is in free fall In 1960 the average South Korean woman had six children In 2018 that figure shrank to less than one A fertility rate of one means each generation… …is half as big as the previous one… …and in South Korea this means there are fewer workers… …to support the country’s ageing population In rural areas, men are viewed as poor prospects by South Korean women So the government is helping these men… …to find brides from poorer countries State-funded assimilation centres like this, teach immigrant… …brides how to cook Korean food… …how to speak Korean… …and even how to deal with Korean mothers-in-law Say it with me Like most of her classmates studying here today… …19-year-old Nguyen Thi Cam Thuy is from Vietnam She recently married a South Korean man… …40-year-old Kim Dae Hyun… …who found her through a matchmaking website I saw my wife’s picture around September… …and knew that she was the one I contacted the agency and went to Vietnam Over a fifth of married South Korean farmers and fishermen… …have tied the knot with a foreigner We got married last October on the 30th… …and we are enjoying married life in South Korea We don’t have any children yet But cross-cultural unions can be difficult… …and around a fifth of marriages between South Korean men… …and foreign women end in divorce within four years This video of a man beating his foreign wife caused widespread outrage 50 years ago in most rich countries… …domestic violence was considered normal Now, it is universally condemned and rates have fallen sharply… …by three-quarters in America alone, since the mid-1990s Today, other factors are more likely to affect the stability of families… …and these are contributing to a growing gulf between… …middle-class and working-class families In most rich countries, if you don’t go to university… …you are more likely to have kids outside of marriage And women who don’t finish high school are more likely to end up… …as single mothers than women who have a degree I’m a single mum because at 20-weeks pregnant… …Dad decided that he didn’t want to be around no more So, I let him walk It was easier to let him walk then than it was for him… …to actually build an attachment with the kids and then walk In Jamie’s hometown of Hartlepool… …in north-east England, 70% of babies are born outside marriage… …like her twins, Sean and Liam I am the sole earner of the household—without my income… …and my kids interrupting me Oh get him, fetching me cucumbers because they’re awesome It can be a financial struggle In Hartlepool in the 1960s… …men did heavy work in shipyards and factories… …which was much better paid than any job their wives could find So the women stayed at home with the kids But as technology advances… …manual work has dried up and uneducated men… …have struggled to find good jobs Everything industrial here in Hartlepool is gone There’s nothing left What comes with industrial decline? Poverty, depression, anxiety Family break-ups, marriages separating, suicide There’s all sorts that come… …because people feel they can’t provide for their family If the only men available lack steady jobs… …and don’t help around the home… …some women feel they are better off alone It can be hard to be a man I presume it would be hard you know having to step back a little bit… …and realise that you might not be the breadwinner and that you are… …actually having to rely on a woman… …to feed the family and keep the roof over their head So yeah, it can be hard for a man Middle-class families have remained solid in rich countries …over the past 50 years… …while working-class families have grown much less stable Women with a university degree… …are more likely than women who do not finish high school… …to be married and raise children with their husband as a team And this is contributing to a growing social divide… …a divide that’s increasingly apparent in the very different ways… …middle- and working-class families are raising their children Although American fathers from all backgrounds… …do much more child care than the previous generation… …today wealthier fathers spend much more time… …with their kids than their poorer counterparts do Most of the weekdays, for example, my wife takes care of them… …taking them to school, picking them up and then when I come from work… …I feed them, I play with them a little bit and give them a bath… …and put them to sleep… …and during the weekends we switch a little bit My husband always comes back home and takes care of dinner… …sometimes or breakfast during the weekend So, it’s very like 50/50 I would say Harvard-educated Gerardo shares the child-care duties… …with his wife Perla, who also studied there The couple are investing time and money… …in stimulating their children intellectually We do take her to, for example, like abacus classes after school… …where she’s like starting to learn how to do additions and subtractions… …and sometimes we come home and do a little bit of extra work By the age of three, the children of professional families… …have heard 30m more words… …than children from poorer backgrounds From zero to five, it’s very important that you spend time with your kids From there, it’s like you feel they already have the values ingrained A child’s early years are the most important for cognitive development… …so children of professionals have a head start long before they start school The pushy middle-class style of raising kids… …is sometimes called intensive parenting So intensive parenting is the idea that parents are investing… …an enormous amount of time and energy in their… …children’s development early on Sean Reardon is a professor of poverty and equality in education… …at Stanford University… …and has studied the influence of class on parenting… …and how well kids do in school It’s as if you thought of your child as an orchid… …a delicate flower that needs daily attention… …as opposed to thinking of your child in the way that parents used to… …think of their children as a tree or a bush We don’t water the trees or the bushes… …it’s in their nature to grow… …and barring any sort of catastrophe, they’ll do just fine Middle-class parents not only talk more to their children… …and take them to ballet, chess and extra maths classes… …they also compete to get them into the best schools Actually her school is less than a mile from here It’s a bilingual school They have teachers full-time Mandarin and full-time English All of them have master’s degrees and very high level education Gerardo and Perla’s daughter, Elizabeth, is learning five languages… …including Mandarin I think going to the school she’s gonna be more open to… …learning and talking with people like turning around… …and speaking Mandarin and turning around and speaking Spanish Elizabeth, how do you sing happy birthday in Chinese? But all this education doesn’t come cheap Elizabeth’s pre-school costs $31,000 a year Definitely costs of day care and pre-school… …have been way more than we expected originally We are basically paying for pre-school what I paid for college So, in the richest communities in the United States the average… …student scores three to four grade levels above the national average… …and in the poorest communities, the average student… …scores maybe two to three grade levels below the national average So, the difference in performance is a result of differences in opportunities A gulf is growing between wealthy families… …that stick together and raise high-achieving kids… …and blue-collar families that struggle to do either This gap is about much more than money Well-educated men are more likely than in the past… …to marry highly educated women The children of these clever parents are more likely to be clever… …and the children of stable families, are more likely to raise stable… …and high-achieving families of their own As you get a society that’s more divided… …economically and educationally… …you increasingly run the risk of having a society… …that doesn’t have empathy for other parts of itself The risk is you end up with a kind of more socially and economically… …polarised society as a result of this Well-educated families have become success factories… …passing on their advantages to their kids By contrast, many poorer children grow up… …with no first-hand experience of what a stable family looks like As men and women have grown more equal over the past 50 years… …families have grown much less so

100 comments on “How modern families increase social inequality | The Economist

  1. The Economist talking about a model of family from the 1950s…News flash, The Economist: that kind of family collapsed over 30 years ago…

  2. MY FOLKS HAD NO CHOICE. THEY BOTH WORKED OUT OF NECESSITY. DAD EARNED UNION SCALE AND MOM WORKED AT BELL TELEPHONE. WE EVENTUALLY COULD AFFORD A SECOND CAR, SO DAD NO LONGER HAD TO PASS UP OVERTIME. WE ARE STILL POOR, BECAUSE ALL OUR WEALTH WENT TO CHINA THESE LAST 4 DECADES WITHOUT THE TRUE COST OF LIVING INDEXED FOR INFLATION. DO THE MATH AND SEE IF THE AVERAGE PERSON IS ACTUALLY ANY BETTER OFF NOW THAN THEIR PARENTS WERE IN SAY, 1952?

  3. Being highly educated with a partner who is equally highly educated this system suits me fine. Too bad so many of the commenters here are so ignorant that they willingly shoot themselves in the foot and think this is all some kind of propaganda.

  4. Those Korean "women" don't look like women at all to me. None of them have female features and I could easily mistake them for beta men on the street.

  5. MEN NEED EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE, see what women need, help out with dishes, shopping, raising kids and your wives will give you kids,

  6. Beautiful video and beautiful examination of concepts , thank you so much , I came beleive these are for free , thank you so much .

  7. Harvard educated parents practically forcing their not even 5 year old children to learn 5 languages (and they pay $ 31 000 a year for this) – how about you just leave the kids to enjoy their childhoods – there is enough time for them to win their Pulitzers and Nobel Prizes ONCE they grow up

  8. falling birth rates r a big problem all over the oced nations gotta fix them somehow or every nation would wipe itself out of existense very soon

  9. 8:26 yeah I'm going to have to call BS on that. Beating your wife has always been a bad thing and has never been acceptable. At least in Western Europe and the United States.

  10. Half the wealth owned by 1% and your blaming inequality on the middle class? Someone doesnt understand wealth distribution

  11. Something no one talks about is that college educated women marry only college educated men or men with similar status or higher. This breeds wealth inequality in the long run. On the other hand men marry almost anyone. Remember heterosexual families are more than 90% so they're the norm data from CDC.

  12. The Economist labels people spending $31,000 for a single child to attend an elite preschool as “middle class”. Great journalism there!

  13. “All but collapsed”

    Seriously? I still think it’s going to be the prevailing trend that most family units will consist of heterosexual couples simply by sheer virtue of statistics. Unless of course, the chemicals multinational orgs keep polluting our air with affect our endocrine system to the point where heterosexual inclinations becomes more difficult to come by.

  14. If north korea wants to rule over korean peninsula it doesn't need to invade the south just wait till 2080 By then population of south korea would be 1/4th followed by colapse of the nation.
    South korea needs to open its borders to repopulate the countries.

  15. On the one side people who are dying because of lack of clean water, on the other there are people who invest 31,000$ in a child per a year.

  16. Very interesting👍- Thank You for the point to think about… – i don't think it is as simple as that: do have high education/do not have high education…- I think it much more depends on economic situation and perspectives of economic development in the particular COUNTRY(!) – I believe it is much more about conditions of the environment then personal… 'status'…/-high education&single mom😉🌟✌/

  17. This video can be summarised in this statement "Rich families pass their advantages to their kids while poor families pass their obstacles to their kids "

  18. Brilliant story but only half the story has been told
    You seem to make an association between increase equality to the down fall of nuclear family, but it’s economics that are driving this inequality. The gap has always been here, just made worse by growing economic inequality

  19. No evidence just a load of anecdotes. You seriously think poor women weren’t out working in the 50s? There was never a golden age of stable families. Seriously lazy journalism.

  20. A funny example with the Harvard educated couple where they realize they cannot bond with their kids unless they are exceptionally smart and talented.

  21. I don't really understand what this has to do with modern families causing social inequality , you basically just talked about economic inequality while talking about families that had really nothing to do with it, they're examples of economic inequality but their family structures aren't generating more social inequality. I kept looking up the timer on the video wondering when you guys were gonna draw the connection, and end in the last 30 seconds is the 1st time you mention social inequality and act like it had anything to do with anything you previously said, this video Was really well made with interesting things about those families but it entirely missed the goal and point you are trying to make.

  22. Not going to bother watching this because it is guaranteed to be more anti-white male hate propaganda. Guaranteed. Anyone that has actually watched this, am I wrong ? I say enough of this constant war against the white male.

  23. Government is not helping rural Korean men to marry foreign women. Government is only helping foreign women to adjust in South Korea.

  24. "As men and women have grown more equal over the years families have grown much less so" this confuses me… Families have not grown? Not grown equal? Equal to what?

  25. i like that blonde chick with the veggie garden she seems so chilled, you can have a proper conversation with someone like that

  26. This video is trying to frame social issues as the main contributor to childlessness. They're significant for sure, but what about the sheer cost of having kids? It would seem to me that you either need save up an unfeasible about of money during your most fertile years to have a baby later in life, when you're increasingly likely to give risk it's health, or to almost certainly go into debt.

  27. Americans think* they are smart. In fact they think they are the only one in this world who is smart. There are hundred other countries in the world who have a reputation* of raising kids and families and they don't seem to have the problems of equalities. Take it easy when you form a family. Families are meant to promote bonds in a relationship. Americans have poor attitude toward a family. Counselling can help but you need more than that to fix your attitude towads a family. There are many billion instances of families around the world and they clearly outnumber those in US who love to see inequalities in a family. We promote equality too. In fact we promote equality more than most. Promote willingness, sacrifice, bond … kind of values which are essential in a society. In fact they are as important as ensuring equalities.

  28. In the UK a single mother that doesnt work will earn more in welfare than she would working a full time job at minimum wage. A single man on minimum wage has no welfare entitlements. A family with a stay at home parent and one working minimum wage will only be slightly better off than a single mother not working.Results are formed by incentives in systems. Change the incentives you'll change the results.

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