Thursday, January 16, 2014

Twitter Talk -- Marriage and Other Matters

This Twitter conversation is worth keeping. 

Noah Smith ‏@Noahpinion17h
Almost none of the discussions I see about the decline of marriage bother to ask the question of *why people get married*...

@Noahpinion really? I thought it was widely accepted that female economic parity with men, and welfare, reduced marriage incentives.

@oddblots But @Noahpinion mentioned an example that runs counter that---Japan has lower marriage rates and definitely not parity.

@adamgurri @Noahpinion   Japan is always a special case... Is there a good writeup of why that is, besides the "hikkomori" phenomenon?

@oddblots @Noahpinion No clue. That a similar phenomena is occurring, though, does make one question received wisdom on this subject.

@oddblots @Noahpinion My pet theory is that a lot of it can be explained by simply the transition away from agriculture.

@adamgurri @oddblots @Noahpinion Europe is post-agriculture, but non-marrieds still live together. Why the decline in -families-?

@Celt_Englishman @oddblots @Noahpinion They live together but don't get married or have kids. Not sure if comparable.

@adamgurri @oddblots @Noahpinion Even those having kids aren't getting married. EU has family formation without marriage; US neither. Why?

@Celt_Englishman @oddblots @Noahpinion Good question.

@Celt_Englishman @oddblots @Noahpinion gets at Noah's initial question---why do people get married at all?

@adamgurri @Celt_Englishman @oddblots Related question: Why don't people marry their best (platonic) friends?

@DrPhilofEconomi @adamgurri @Celt_Englishman @oddblots In other words, why do we bundle romance, cohabitation, and child-rearing?

.@Noahpinion @adamgurri @Celt_Englishman @oddblots Conformity. But the non-glib answer should be sought when institutions were still new.

@DrPhilofEconomi @adamgurri @Celt_Englishman @oddblots Saving marriage would seem to require a deep rethink of human relationships.

.@Noahpinion @adamgurri @Celt_Englishman @oddblots "Rethink" implies Cartesian rationality. idk if I'm ready to swallow that pill.

@DrPhilofEconomi @adamgurri @Celt_Englishman @oddblots I'm the Cartesian Demon himself, so it's a cinch for me.

@Noahpinion @DrPhilofEconomi @Celt_Englishman @oddblots burn the witch!

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