Thirty-Million marriageable men. No women. Growing freedoms and disposable income, scattered across the world’s largest nation. Is this the trailer for the summer’s first blockbuster hit movie or the stage for international conflict by 2020?
In a less-than-surprising clip, CNN reported today on the growing gender imbalance taking place in China. According to the report, the Chinese government predicts that by 2020 there will be “30 million more men than women.” For comparison, the US anticipates that just over 69% of our population will be of marriageable age (ages 20-60) by 2020. Thirty-million marriageable-but-unmarried Chinese men would be equivolent to 14.5% of our adult population under 60.
This growing, gender disparity in China—referred to as “an unintended consequence of the one-child policy”—looms darkly on the near-future horizon (less than 13 years). Laying aside common, table manners, let’s ask what we might expect in such an environment. If you believe in God, then you believe God intended man and woman to marry, have sex, conceive, and fill up the earth. If you don’t believe in God, then you believe that sex, like other animal desires, is the “unintended consequence” of an unintelligent natural selection. In either case, men have a powerful drive. Deprived of the ability to engage in sexual activity within normal human institutions—i.e. marriage—desire often breeds compulsion and “social instability.”
Translation: rape, kidnapping, and the buying and selling of human beings for sex. If recent event has proven one thing, it is that—far from attaining an enlightened state of a peace-pursuing race—human beings are inherently broken. Humans will and do kidnap children, rape women (and men), kill, abuse, neglect, and abandon each other. When these offenses occur, we step back with hand to mouth and utter the predictable question, “How could this happen? Why did s/he do it?” The better (and rarely asked) question is, “Under what conditions does a fellow human being resort so such behavior?” The answer to this question involves self-reflection and, likely, the undesired interaction with one’s own needy state.
If cases—like that of Michael Devlin—are not so much freak accidents as they are the expression of a deep seeded brokenness within the human race (myself included), what extrapolations might we expect from 300 marriage-age/sex-deprived men? Invasion of countries with more women: war. Subjugation of other nations for their natural human (flesh) resources: pillage. Forced sex of subjugated women and often children: rape. In this 21st century, I confess that sounds more like a Medieval movie than a future possibility.
This future is likely but not inevitable. What the US does today matters. So, what if a nation—that has too long embraced the violent disposal of her unwanted people—birthed, nurtured, reared, yes even wanted her most vulnerable members; ceased the practices of abortion? What if in the next 13 years, all of the unborn children to be aborted were born (some 51% of them women)? What would it look like for such a nation to extend an outstretched arm to an enemy-at-arms and invite them into relationship: granting single-Chinese men two-year work visas, with the hopes that they might find in that timeframe a woman to love, to woo, to marry, and with whom to have mutually-willing sex? What if these men and their willing wives went back to China and raised a family of any gender and any size, breaking the destructive patterns of sex-selection and infanticide?
I’ll tell you what it would look like: War, rape, pillage and the sex-trade industry would be largely unbeneficial avenues for single men (Chinese or otherwise). The US would become one of the strongest influencers, from within the borders of the world’s largest nation. The result of an influx of forward-thinking, democratic women into a Communists society could put an end to the unfair treatment of other women and children, and bring freedoms untold to a country that has only known governmental subjugation. In due time, second- and third-generation Chinese-Americans in China would radically change the political, economic, and social atmospheres in this Red State.
I am sure that as soon as I write this, someone will start yelling, “He wants to sell American women to China, and use them to prevent war.” Far from it: I don’t expect the use or sale of anyone to effect global change in the human network. Nor would I expect there to be any forced aspect to such a tradeoff. The US would gain economically by employing some of the hardest working, most ambitious men in the world. US women in their own quest for identity may actually find greater attraction of such committed individual—and in a nation like China that prevents large families, women opposed to the idea of being “stay at home” would receive a welcome embrace. Besides, history demonstrates—from the tribes of Africa to the hills of Tennessee, and from the birth of the Nation-State to the end of Colonialism—that when your son marries your enemy’s daughter, this makes your grandchildren and his one in the same.
Here’s what we do know: There has never been a nation in history looking to address the gender imbalance that China—and perhaps India, in the not-too-distant future—now faces. Nations with an imbalance of resource, natural or human, will not self-rectify through internal restructuring alone. At some point, imaginary political borders just aren’t strong enough to resist the building pressure of a vacuum. There really are only two options ahead: War or Peace. In the (slightly altered) words of Winston Churchill, having established that, “Now we’re just dickering about the price.”