- Series: Belfer Center Studies in International Security
- Hardcover: 344 pages
- Publisher: The MIT Press (May 7, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0262083256
- ISBN-13: 978-0262083256
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,754,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Bare Branches: The Security Implications of Asia's Surplus Male Population (Belfer Center Studies in International Security)
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"...[A] well-documented study..." Susan H. Greenberg MSNBC
"...an impressive and comprehensive account of sex ratios..." James Q. Wilson The Wall Street Journal
"...Bare Branches has become a flashpoint for a debate about the link between sex ratios and security." Felicia R. Lee New York Times
"...connects the dots of a huge demographic trend that carries international implications." The Christian Science Monitor
"Exciting, innovative, refreshing...marks an important contribution at the nexus of the already burgeoning literatures addressingenvironmental and human security." Brendan Taylor Survival
" Bare Branches is a tour de force. It represents a groundbreaking contribution to the literature on gender and security studies. Hudson and den Boer call attention to the ticking time bomb of sex ratio imbalances, especially in East and South Asia, and its impact on the likelihood of domestic instability and inter-state war. All who address these issues in the future will need to contend seriously with the persuasive arguments made in this book." Rose McDermott, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of California, Santa Barbara
" Bare Branches is an excellent book that represents a new approach to thinking about political stability and international politics. Hudson and den Boer draw from the life sciences to reveal historical patterns that other scholars have missed. They present comprehensive data on sex ratios and fascinating historical studies of social instability brought on by excess young males." Francis Fukuyama, Dean of Faculty and Bernard Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy, The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
" Bare Branches reveals a largely overlooked but important variable correlated with war and peace: high ratios of males to females. Through both historical and contemporary analyses, Hudson and den Boer show that in societies where women have low status, peaceful democracies are far less likely to take hold. All those who hope to understand the causes of war—in academe as well as in government—will have to be aware of these findings. A brilliant contribution to the literature on contemporary world affairs." Jessica Stern, Lecturer in Public Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
"*Bare Branches* is a tour de force. It represents a groundbreaking contribution to the literature on gender and security studies. Hudson and den Boer call attention to the ticking time bomb of sex ratio imbalances, especially in East and South Asia, and its impact on the likelihood of domestic instability and inter-state war. All who address these issues in the future will need to contend seriously with the persuasive arguments made in this book."--Rose McDermott, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of California, Santa Barbara
"*Bare Branches* reveals a largely overlooked but important variable correlated with war and peace: high ratios of males to females. Through both historical and contemporary analyses, Hudson and den Boer show that in societies where women have low status, peaceful democracies are far less likely to take hold. All those who hope to understand the causes of war -- in academe as well as in government -- will have to be aware of these findings. A brilliant contribution to the literature on contemporary world affairs."--Jessica Stern, Lecturer in Public Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
About the Author
Valerie M. Hudson is Professor of Political Science and faculty affiliate at the David M. Kennedy School for International and Area Studies at Brigham Young University. She is the author of the books Culture and Foreign Policy and Artificial Intelligence and International Politics and coeditor of The Limits of State Autonomy: Societal Groups and Foreign Policy Formulation and Political Psychology and Foreign Policy.
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A very important book and perspective, however.
Shortly afterwards in the distinguished periodical, "International Security", their article explored the "violent dynamics of ...high sex ratio populations", clearly identifying the potential security dangers for our planet which have resulted from the rapidly growing populations of the past hundred years and the bias favoring male children over females in key Asian nations.
"Normal birth sex ratios range between 105-107 males per 100 female births". Their data for 7 Asian countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Taiwan) shows "from 66 to 86 million of the missing females in Asia are attributed to the above", but two of them, "China and India together contribute to between 61 and 68 million." Many now feel the number is higher, perhaps 100 million. And the ratio in recent years has increased rapidly in both. For example, In Punjab, the sex ratio of children from zero to 6 years of age is now 126 males to every 100 females.
While "sex selection" is illegal in both India and China, the "director of the Demography Institute at Beijing University freely admits that there exists `the loss of female births due to illegal prenatal sex determination and sex-selective abortion, creating an unbalanced population sex structure .....resulting in potentially serious social problems'."Remember, "China and India alone comprise over 38% of the world's population".
Well, after September 11th, we should all understand and care about this condition. Let these experts explain why. This and other recent studies have shown that where what the authors call surplus young adult males (what I have dubbed "rogue males") predominate, instability is often rife. And as we know now, this surplus of "rogue males" can lead to "rogue" governments which harbor and abet terrorists as in Afghanistan and elsewhere all over the Middle East.
This book goes to treat this subject in China, where these surplus males, are called, "guang gun-er" or "bare sticks or bare branches", as these will never marry (bear fruit!), "because no marriage partner might be found for them."
By 2020, these authors predict there will be 40 million "bare sticks" for China alone! These are not your Western type bachelors. Indeed, "single men in the West are not surplus males; they can and often do form .....attachments to women and produce children in that context." These "bare sticks" don't have that chance; often they come from the lowest socio-economic class, are un- or under-employed, live a nomadic lifestyle with few ties to the communities in which they are working, generally living and socializing with other "bare sticks"'. Thus, their behavior "follows a broadly predictable pattern", prone to seek satisfaction through "vice and violence".
In China, these "bare sticks" cause "the overwhelming percentage of violent crime". One scholar has shown that "an unmarried man between 24 and 35 is about 3 times as likely to murder another male as is a married man of the same age." Also to rob, rape and, yes, join others in proving to his kind his manliness! The worst among them is to them the best! These men have "nothing to lose but their reputations for violence". They are juicy pluckings for Osama Bin Ladin types. Marriage tames testosterone which the authors feel may explain low levels of criminality among married men.
A 17th Century observer put it, "Heretical teachings start by inciting, deluding and gathering people, but end by planning rebellion."
Governments with these ratios face "vexing policy dilemmas". Their governance must be more authoritarian, "must cultivate a political style crafted to retain the allegiance and respect of its bare branches." China has a "floating population" of 150 million, many of them are young surplus adult males (i.s. "bare branches"). Beijing Review reports that 80% of its crime comes from "migrants"--these floaters!
The authors note that "much the same analysis can be made" for India. Many of its legislators are criminals. Kidnaping in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar "is a way of life". Thus, what we see happening today, a continuing and probably escalating war between India and Pakistan is in some ways a logical policy option for these governments with too many "rouge males. What to do? Send them to war probably is better than killing them outright or putting too many in jail. These weak governments are often strongly influenced by street demonstrations, riots, and other bloody assaults. These authors of this sex ratio study have confidently and, in my view, correctly predicted a continuing and increasingly dangerous war over Kashmir between India and Pakistan, both with these dangerous high sex ratios.
And what has happened in America since our immigration laws were changed in 1965? The "open border" policies of our major parties have allowed at least 8 million illegal aliens to remain here, many even after deportation orders are issued against them. And Congress just adjourned without passing a Visa Control Bill, which among other things would have strengthened foreign student tracking and instituted machine readable biometric IDs on visas and some passports.
American policies for dealing with this looming rogue male issue must include 1. A staunch refusal to allow ourselves to be overrun with rogue males or any large foreign contingent who can't be readily absorbed into our nation's culture and values, 2. Enlargement of foreign assistance, especially better controlled and directed toward providing family planning services, and 3. A better understanding of the governance problems in places such as China and India. These governments are not living in Kansas, Dorothy, but in a real world often close to anarchy.
Why bleat about human rights to governments just trying to survive in a jungle? These fragile governments need our patience, our understanding and our carefully directed economic aid, not the US imperical militarium which has dominated of our failed foreign policies for decades.
About the Author: Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, has traveled extensively in developing nations for over 40 years.
Sex ratio is the ratio of men to women. The average sex ratio worldwide is 105 (105 men for every 100 women). China and India have higher than average sex ratios that have lead to a large surplus of males on the order of millions in both societies.
The high sex ratio in China is driven by a long history of preference for sons over daughters to preserve the family name, provide agricultural labor and care for parents in their old age. The preference for sons is intensified by the one child policy that limits the number of children to one per family.
These cultural forces have resulted to sex selective abortions, infanticide and infant abandonment. Further they have resulted in bare branches - unmarried males with a propensity for substance abuse, gambling and violent crime. Typically these males are unemployed or underemployed, did not graduate from high school and lack a permanent residence. They tend to congregate in migrant bachelor subcultures.
Future implications are frightening. One possibility is a government unable to control large and violent bachelor subcultures. Another possibility is an increased recruitment into the military or police force - with attendant propensities for violence that may be directed internally or towards neighboring countries.
In this reviewer's opinion, of the several policies that could help the gender imbalance, these seem to have the highest probability of success.
· the repeal of the one child policy
· government care of abandoned girls to adulthood
· government safety nets for the elderly to decrease financial reliance on sons
· policies that elevate the value of women
There seems to be a weakness however, in the ability of "policy" to affect "values". Policy usually translates into propaganda. And propaganda has had limited success in changing thousands of years of cultural values.
Hundreds of thousands of infants are abandoned annually in China. The majority of these infants are girls. In 1997, the total number of Chinese infants adopted by American citizen was 3314. Clearly, adoption by foreign nationals is not a complete solution to the problem. What else can we do to influence the situation without offending the great nation of China? If you have ideas, please let me know.
I thank Valerie Hudson and Andrea den Boer for and for giving us an understanding of the importance of gender issues in China and India.