Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ruining Marriage

In amongst the Prop8 ruling in California, we get this about the decline of marriage rates from Paul Krugman.

Krugman goes onto explain that what really may be going on here is the decline of earned income (he has a graph too).

Should we really be surprised that young men, confronting the reality that they won’t earn anything near as much in real terms as their fathers did — and that they will be even further from having what society sees as an adequate income, because even Adam Smith acknowledged the importance of social norms in defining prosperity — don’t marry and raise families the way the previous generation did?

So what's really ruining marriage in America, teh evil icky gay or perhaps terrible economic policies?

I'd have to go with that latter. Over the years, we've had policies that have hindered men and women from committing to a relationship because they lack the "adequate income" to start and raise a family. It's a tough decision, one that I personally went through and one I don't wish on others. We shouldn't have wages on the decline in 2012, just like we shouldn't be voting on whether two people in-love can marry.

I am Frank Chow and I approved this message


Paddy K said...

More commentary and tons of links on this topic here: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2012/02/from-whence-comes-this-sudden-wave-of-economic-determinism.html

Cowen links to Krugman, Frum, and others. It's a fascinating topic all tangled up in economics, religion, etc.

Asian-American Pundit said...

I think Cowen brushes aside a huge chunk of the social aspect. And the paragraph he quotes does the same, it may be statistically more expensive to be single, but that's not how people address marriage. It's not a transaction in most cases.

As Krugman says, it does seem to come from a determination to fill the role of husband in a socially accepted fashion. At the current hourly rate, it's hard enough to get to and from work.

Krugman followed up with this:

So we’ve created a society in which many young people see no chance of ever achieving middle-class status; then we look at their failure to adhere to middle-class values, and declare that there must be some mysterious force corroding our morality.

Fascinating, yes. More to discuss in person!