August 14, 2009

Which sex was most responsible for the mortgage meltdown?

Christopher Caldwell, author of Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West has a pretty good essay in Time Magazine called "The Pink Recovery:"

One thing that seems bound to change is the relationship between the sexes. Since the recession began in December 2007, the vast majority of the lost jobs have belonged to men. ...

A lot of people see that as fitting punishment. There weren't any women among the high-profile malefactors in last fall's financial meltdown. Maleness has become a synonym for insufficient attentiveness to risk. ...

In Foreign Policy this summer, journalist Reihan Salam predicted that the "macho men's club called finance capitalism" would not survive the present economic ordeal.... Of course, nobody harped on this research back when housing prices were doubling and people were using their home-equity credit lines to buy third cars. But to paraphrase Richard Nixon's comment about Keynesians, we are all feminists now.

Okay, but, consider that at the base of the financial crash were people, typically couples, taking out home mortgages that they couldn't afford, mostly to either buy homes (generally sold to them by female real estate agents) they couldn't afford or to do home improvements they couldn't afford.

In the typical couple who has defaulted, which sex -- husband or wife -- on average do you think was more ardent for the granite countertop upgrade? Was it husbands or wives who tended to insist most on buying the larger house with the exercise room and enough space for relatives to stay over and the extra big dining room for hosting dinner parties?

Caldwell gently satirizes the conventional wisdom:

Although clich├ęs about the "vulnerability" of women in the economy have been disproved by hard BLS data, we want to believe them. When women lose jobs, the victims are women. When men lose jobs, the victims are, um, women, because they have to make up for that lost male income.

Then, Caldwell goes on to illustrate one reason why he writes for Time Magazine and I don't:

Should we expect men to cede some control over an economy they have so thoroughly messed up? No. We have no examples of that ever having happened. What we have plenty of examples of--you can see variants of it all over the developing world--is economies in which women do all the arduous work while men sit around smoking and pontificating in coffeehouses and barbershops. For decades, policymakers have been attentive to the flaws of a patriarchal, middle-class, single-earner, nuclear-family-oriented model of family economics--and their attention remains fixed on it. Whether or not that model dominated American society as much as its critics claimed, we are now leaving it behind. Maybe there is a humane model that can replace it. We have not found one yet.

Good point.

Still, the reason Caldwell writes for Time and I don't is that if I were to write:

What we have plenty of examples of--you can see variants of it all over the developing world--is economies in which women do all the arduous work while men sit around smoking and pontificating in coffeehouses and barbershops.

Rather than gesture vaguely at "the developing world," I would actually then give an example. In fact, I would pick the best example: i.e., the largest region of the world where men are most inclined to have their womenfolk do most of what work gets done.

Caldwell's way is dull, not very informative, and potentially misleading to the handful of readers who actually stop and wonder what he means: Is he talking about, say, China? China is definitely developing. So, I guess he's talking about China. Do men not work very hard in China? I didn't know that. I guess men must not work very hard in China or it wouldn't say that in Time Magazine. You learn something new every day!

Now, you know and I know what part of the "developing" world Caldwell is primarily talking about here, and why it's relevant to America. (The reference to "barbershops" is a clue.) He's referring to Henry Harpending 101. But Caldwell has the good sense to keep his point misty and abstract-sounding so that few people will have much of an idea what he's talking about. Nicholas Wade, the NYT's genetics reporter, will get it, but Morris Dees of the $PLC hopefully won't.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

44 comments:

Otis the Sweaty said...

I thought it was obvious from the context that Caldwell was, indeed, referring to China.

Anonymous said...

Rather than gesture vaguely at "the developing world," I would actually then give an example.

Ehhh,

I kinda, sorta agree.

On the other hand, I think many non-HBD readers already know "developing" countries is code for "Third Worlders."

Anonymous said...

"A lot of people see that as fitting punishment. There weren't any women among the high-profile malefactors in last fall's financial meltdown."

Well actually, the Chief Financial Officer of Lehman Brothers was an empty skirt named Erin Callan. In addition to Callan, other women have held high roles at major financial firms that have stumbled recently, e.g., Sallie L. Krawcheck, former CFO at Citigroup; Zoe Cruz, former head of Morgan Stanley's trading and risk operations; and Amy Woods Brinkley, chief risk executive at Bank of America.

Anonymous said...

"A lot of people see that as fitting punishment. There weren't any women among the high-profile malefactors in last fall's financial meltdown."

How well represented are women on Wall Street?

Anyone have some statistics?

Anonymous said...

This is from a WSJ article on Erin Callan from May of last year:

Six months into one of investment banking's toughest jobs, the 42-year-old Ms. Callan is emerging as a galvanizing force at Lehman and a finance chief who topples much of the conventional wisdom about CFOs. She also is the highest-ranking woman on Wall Street. Many Lehman insiders consider her among the contenders to become the firm's president someday.

Unlike Lehman's two previous CFOs, Ms. Callan isn't an accountant and had never worked in the finance department.

She embraces television, appearing frequently. She receives a slimmer daily financial summary than her predecessors, relying more on data from the trading-floor contacts built during her 13-year Lehman career.

"We have a lot of great finance people here," she says. "In the CFO seat in this environment, I find it is important to be able to look at the sum total of the information quickly and test conclusions as well as read the reports on my desk."


And this was the caption for the photo of Callan:

"Erin Callan is known for being frank, fashionable."

Anonymous said...

Right, like chicks don't sit around the beauty salon and yak it up.

Anonymous said...

Suzanne researched this.

Udolpho.com said...

women are good at grunt jobs where putting in lots of hours doing something mundane is the key to success, or middle management where pussified corporations require people who can master passive aggression, office gossip, and status displays during meetings

also the current crop of male executives is the product of a few generations of women integrated into (male) workplaces, consequently these business politicians are in control because they are the type of men that white collar women are comfortable having in charge (women will of course never support other women in charge)...do not confuse their behavior with "the way men prefer to work", I'm not sure all of them are really men

most men I know are dissatisfied with the ways their companies are run, do not trust executives at all, and would much prefer the return to macho, offensive, old-style male stewardship of business, ironically the fact that women hate giving other women power maintains the illusion that men are in power when they simply aren't (except by proxy)

if I still had a blog I would write about this in greater depth but time's a-wastin...

testing99 said...

Women are generally far bigger risk takers than men in the most intimate arrangements, i.e. the fathers of their children. Women generally prefer the most aggressive, dangerous, and volatile men as fathers for their kids. That's a huge risk there -- great upside if it pays off, horrific downside if it goes south, and there seems little in-between.

Money is just money -- a kid is forever. Not to mention that violent men tend to be ... violent. So that's also a risk.

A lot feminists and various PC brigades have been cheering the Mancession. Obama was blind-sided by NOW and reworked the stimulus bill after they complained to make sure no money went to "White men" as Robert Reich famously opined, but rather female-dominated social work, and the like.

Ultimately, female jobs of social work, health care, education, and other services, are dependent on the fairly small industrial/agricultural sector. According to the CIA World Factbook the US has Services at 79/2%, Industry at 19.6%, and Agriculture at 1.2% of total GDP (2008 est.)

How well can the US service it's current account deficit, not to mention foreign held debt, not to mention domestically held debt, even with inflation and running the presses, with services?

Argetina's, and Brazil's, and other nations experience in running inflationary policies is not a happy one, particularly for services including government ones which have to fight constant battles and strikes to stay even with inflation.

High inflation + service economy + deficit financing = black market economy, which women are generally ill suited. A total "mancession" continuing to "punish men" for "risk taking" means a gigantic black market for pretty much everything as in Europe, with women having "respectable" jobs that pay nothing and lead to plummeting fertility rates, it's a genteel female poverty.

Reactionary said...

Also, how many men agreed to second mortgages because wifey wanted granite countertops?

I'm in a middle-aged demographic. Most of my male peers are hunkering down. Most of my female peers are still booking overseas travel packages and buying clothes with credit cards.

Anonymous said...

The CEO of YHOO is a female and she botch the sale of her company to MSFT something aweful!

Anonymous said...

The general rule is that men tend to be achievement oriented while women are status oriented. I have also noticed that women tend to want to use it up before they grow old. A mans power will keep growing as he gets older if he keeps accumulating money while women peak somewhere before 35 and then slide through peremenapausal decline.

CJ said...

That list of female financial villians isn't complete without Marion Sandler of Golden West Financial fame.

COPS LACK said...

Re: Anonymous commenting about Yahoo:

Current CEO of Yahoo, Carol Bartz, did not "botch" sale of the company to Microsoft; she didn't sell, period. The person who "botch something aweful" was the formeer CEO, Jerry Yang, who could have sold for more than double the current value.

Your knowledge of basic facts is as bad as your English...

Bill said...

For decades, policymakers have been attentive to the flaws of a patriarchal, middle-class, single-earner, nuclear-family-oriented model of family economics--and their attention remains fixed on it. Whether or not that model dominated American society as much as its critics claimed, we are now leaving it behind. Maybe there is a humane model that can replace it. We have not found one yet.

The policymakers didn't leave it behind; they nuked it.

Now my demographic doesn't have anything left to replace it with.

We'll have to come up with something entirely new to get ourselves out of this mess, and we can only do that if the state takes the boot off our necks for a little while (I'm not counting on it).

Tom Regan said...

That dynamic of men lounging around doing little while the women work hard is not unique to central America. Its actually the far more common structure around the world than is ours where men have traditionally done the lion's share of work.
I use the word lion advisedly, because the dynamic is very similar to those nature docos you see, where the male lion spends all his time in the shade of a tree and the lionesses do the hunting and raising of cubs.
The reason women in most of the world, like the lionesses, put up with this indolence is simple - the threat of physical force. The lionesses know that if they ever complain too much or don't tend to the lion's wishes, the lion has the power to harm the lioness.
In our society, civlity and chivalry combined to remove that threat almost entirely, and we have wound up with equality as a result. I wonder, in a country like the US where for the first time ever women have more jobs than men, whether we're devolving back to the point where men will once again need to rely on that reserve power of physical threat.
Memo to feminists - be careful what you wish for.

Truth(er) said...

Testing99

1) So Craigslist is the world's biggest black market and Ebay is the world's biggest fence?

2) Is there any way to invest using female incompetence as a leading indicator?

IMR said...

testing99 wrote:

"Women generally prefer the most aggressive, dangerous, and volatile men as fathers for their kids."

No they don't.

Melykin said...

"...which sex -- husband or wife -- on average do you think was more ardent for the granite countertop upgrade?"
-------------------------------

Which sex on average do you think was more ardent for the giant home theater system?

Melykin said...

testing99 wrote:
"Women generally prefer the most aggressive, dangerous, and volatile men as fathers for their kids."
-------------------------

Where did you get this weird idea from?

Steve Sailer said...

Few people outside the 90210 zip code have a separate room serving as a home theatre. Most guys wire up their living rooms or dens. During the Housing Bubble, electronics got cheaper. Houses got more expensive.

Anonymous said...

Add Sheryl Weinstein to the list of female malefactors in the Great Recession: she was sleeping with Bernie Madoff, and helped steer charity money his way.

She's so ashamed about it that she wrote a book and made a pile off the advance.

Anonymous said...

Kevin Myers, a superb Irish journalist recently wrote an article for the Irish Independent in which he castigated Africans for being lazy priapic sobs. He also rebuked himself for not mentioning the attitude and behavior of Somali men.

He got terrible stick for but would not back down.

Google Kevin Myers/Africa


BTW his book, 'Watching the door' is a brilliant and terrifying chronicle of Belfast in the 70s.


Richard...London

Anonymous said...

UN studies have concluded that women in 'Sub-Saharan Africa' perform 80% of all work if you add up housework, farm work, paid employment. Two things come to mind a) it's really time for another euphemism for 'Sub-Saharan Africa', since by now everybody knows it means 'Black' b) it's means that things must REALLY be bad in China.

Charlotte said...

"The general rule is that men tend to be achievement oriented while women are status oriented. I have also noticed that women tend to want to use it up before they grow old. A mans power will keep growing as he gets older if he keeps accumulating money while women peak somewhere before 35 and then slide through peremenapausal decline."

Ah Bullshit. Men want status--they just identify it differently and gain it in different ways. And what women are you "noticing?" You don't sound like a type whose word I'd take on that subject.
Are women responsible for the mortgage problem? I think a lot of men here think women cause all the problems simply by existing. Which is true--although mutatis mutundi.
Women want youth and beauty in men. In the story of Joseph (Old Testament) the "daughters (of Israel,one presumes) "ran to and fro on the walls" to get a gag at the good looker, Joe. Joe's beauty was part of why he's still famous 4000 years later. Obviously the sperm of a young man is in better condition--I believe sperm banks' age limit is 35.
Make's a girl think.

Both genders basically want a full house, a royal flush; but the payoffs are just different.
Women are relationship-obssessed until their 40s--generally. Then they realize they are not generally wanted for smarmy purposes and, unexpectedly, don't care much. If they are to make anything of their lives beyond baby-making (not that there's anything wrong with that--it's very needed and good, especially for those with high IQs, pert noses and large breasts), they have to get to work and concentrate. Whether they have reproduced is not the issue, existentially speaking. She's here now, get on with it.
Julia Child is just a famous and dramatic example of what happens in a lot of women. The number of women who "blossomed" after 50 is phenomenal. Some -- I dunno--maybe 27%---do attract men (at least those not trying to attract women) if they don't have one already, and perhaps 5.2% actually get married, though that's a personal survey. When I was 20, I would have thought maybe 1.3% of women over 30 would attract a man under 68, and 0.78% would marry.
Anyway, "coming of age" of women after menopause is a common social fact in many societies, not just ours. One Jewish lady of my acquaintance assured me that prudent parents must lock up their your sons rather than expose them to the well-preserved wiles of aged Moroccan Jewesses.
Meanwhile, the men sat around stroking their beards and subjecting young concubines to occasional bouts of attempted sex. Mark Twain had some hilarous observations on that scenario. Something about candles and candle-stick holders...
Of course not all are happy about that--there are always a significant percentge -- perhaps 22.97% -- of people of both genders who would prefer the young-sexy phase of life. Still, most accept the normal passage.
Now because I know men are having a hard time, I don't want to get all negative, but I had a male English professor at a Community College of course, (the most interesting teachers were always community college ones) who sighted the unheroic ironies of Tenneyson's poem, Ulysses.
The "aging wife" to whom he was "tied", Penelope, had waited for him for 20 years and had promised her persistant suitor marriage when she finished her weaving. Every night she unraveled her work until Ulysses returned.
Well, if Mr. U. had ultimately gone to seek new worlds to conquer, the resourceful Penelope would have put away her loom, knowing she'd done all her waiting, and got down to business. And son Telemachus would have thought--what--of all that?

btw, the ghastly Pelosi and Boxer prove to me that ovaries do not necessarily make them more understanding and wise than men. and visa versa.

jimbo said...

I can't believe no one has posted this commercial yet:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ubsd-tWYmZw

anony-mouse said...

Er, since he mentioned 'coffeeshops' I think the reference is to Europe, the Middle East (and maybe Seattle? US college towns?)

Fred said...

"2) Is there any way to invest using female incompetence as a leading indicator?"

I suggested in a comment a couple of months ago that Steve should set up his own fund to invest driven by his insights. In answer to your question: sure. Look at the boards of directors of publicly traded companies, and see how many unqualified women are on them (i.e., female humanities professors, college presidents, or non-profit presidents who are obviously on the board of a for-profit company just to diversify it).

Veracitor said...

There's another reason that Caldwell gets to write for Time. Look at the key passage again.

"...economies in which women do all the arduous work while men sit around smoking and pontificating in coffeehouses and barbershops. For decades, policymakers have been attentive to the flaws of a patriarchal, middle-class, single-earner, nuclear-family-oriented model of family economics..."

When you first read that, somehow you shake your head twice at the iniquity of men. They're lazy drones and they're squares who think that just because they bring home a paycheck they should boss everyone around. (And besides, isn't everything "nuclear" bad?)

Caldwell's prose helps the 100-115 IQ reader (especially a woman) or the kind of 120-IQ, faggotty if not actually gay leftist who gets an editorial gig at Time nowadays to sneer at American men.

Sure, a very smart reader, or a tolerably smart one who takes care to analyze Caldwell's piece (but who can spare the time?) will realize that Caldwell didn't actually write that American men are so bad.

If questioned, Caldwell can point that out and send his critics away muttering. But he will laugh all the way to the bank, because he can write stuff which Time Magazine's less-than-brilliant editors think makes American men look bad, and they're always ready to print something like that.

Anonymous said...

who buys Time anyway? what a crap mag. stick to writing your great blog Steve, it way surpasses anything the measly MSM can spit out

Rohan Swee said...

A lot of people see that as fitting punishment. There weren't any women among the high-profile malefactors in last fall's financial meltdown. Maleness has become a synonym for insufficient attentiveness to risk.

Oh ffs. As if the men getting the punishment are the ones who showed "insufficient attentiveness to risk". Last I looked, the high-profile malefactors were still living high and raking in the bonuses, while the "fittingly punished" continued filing for unemployment by the hundreds of thousands.

For decades, policymakers have been attentive to the flaws of a patriarchal, middle-class, single-earner, nuclear-family-oriented model of family economics--and their attention remains fixed on it.

Yeah, the "flaw" being that the wealth produced by the nation was distributed in a way that provided for the enjoyment of a decent and humane family life among a vast working/middle class. All those bastards pocketing a few thousands or tens of thousands of dollars per annum that rightfully ought to have been flowing up into the accounts of the top percents, as they do in properly run countries! Well, "policymakers" sure provided the cover of theory for fixing that gross injustice - feminism, immigration, globalisation...while still contriving to blame the resultant decay on the hapless schmuck in the unemployment line!

I guess they'll keep "focussing their attention" until the nirvana of a truly Third World social structure is finally achieved. Because a nation of "pink collar" jobs and a high percentage of gummint employment sure as hell isn't a First World, self-respecting nation.

albertosaurus said...

Few people outside the 90210 zip code have a separate room serving as a home theatre. Most guys wire up their living rooms or dens. During the Housing Bubble, electronics got cheaper. Houses got more expensive.

Yes this is true. The distributions are somewhat different. I built my first home theater in my den (third bedroom). I spent less than $1,000 for everything including seating, light control, projector, and a 5.1 sound system. I bought refurbished electronics off the Web and used speakers and loungers from Craig's List. I painted a wall white to serve as a screen (I had an old can of white paint under the garage). A girl friend sewed some light proof shades for me. I installed all the wiring channels myself. I had no labor expenses.

Everyone who saw it was stunned. Most people are not familiar with a ten foot TV. I seemed to get a lot of use out of it. So I gradually upgraded every component with new and higher performance gear.

OTOH there are annual competitions for best Home Theater in a couple of the magazines. There are categories by cost. The top categories have theaters over a quarter million dollars. Even the bottom categories are over $25,000. Million daollar Home theaters are not unknown.

However most of the expenses of these expensive HTs are archetectural not electronic. If we assume that the lust for electronics is male it is also true that females often are the ones who want architectural additions.

In contrast, at $60 a square foot there is no such thing as a bargain granite countertop. A typical kichen granite upgrade might cost $5,000. But OTOH you can't really spend a hundred thousand dollars on stone counters.

Finally many of the elaborate prize winning Home Theaters you see in the magazines include kitchens and bars - often with granite counter tops.

Anonymous said...

"women hate giving other women power."

Right, you are. I HATE working with other women. I used to work as a diagnostic imaging tech, which is mostly female-dominated, but a few men.
I had the pleasure once of working in a dept with all men. No gossiping. No trying to sidestep your turn to do the next job. No complaints that they can't stay overtime because daycare closes in half an hour and the traffic will be terrible.
Everybody just worked together to get the job done.

In the female-dominated depts where I worked, the ones of us dumb enough to take on the work without complaint got to do the bulk of it. And the lady manager was the whiniest of us all.

Mr. Anon said...

"Tom Regan said...

That dynamic of men lounging around doing little while the women work hard is not unique to central America."

Steve wasn't referring to central America. He was referring to Africa, and to "african" America (or rather Africa in America).

Why do we still use the term "developing world" in connection with Africa anyway? It is "developing" only in the sense that a pustule develops. "Festering World" would be a better term.

Jack said...

Charlotte, I tried to read that but I think there is no sense made anywhere there.

ben tillman said...

On the other hand, I think many non-HBD readers already know "developing" countries is code for 'Third Worlders.'

"Third Worlders" are people who live in countries not aligned with the US government or the (now-defunct) USSR. How in the hell is "developing countries" code for that? Why would anyone *need* a code word to describe that? If either term could be construed as offensive or insensitive, it would be "developing countries".

Fred said...

""Third Worlders" are people who live in countries not aligned with the US government or the (now-defunct) USSR."

False. First World referred to the developed West. Second World referred to Warsaw Pact/Soviet Union. Third World referred to (and still refers to) developing countries, most of which were aligned with either the U.S. or the U.S.S.R. Fourth World referred to (and still refers to) undeveloped, hopeless countries (e.g., Afghanistan, Haiti).

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I wouldn't have thought of China from reading the Caldwell quote. I thought immediately of Morocco, but that's because I've been there and observed the idle men in coffeehouses.

nuskar said...

Charlotte sed:
Women want youth and beauty in men.
That's not enough. I know because I used to fulfill those 2 criteria, but it never attracted the "babes". I agree with testing99 that women, above all, are looking for the alpha male. If he happens to be young and beautiful as well, that's only a bonus, but not a necessity.

Truth(er) said...

What about using women CEO's as an indicator? What about foreign nationals?

Charlotte said...

Charlotte, I tried to read that but I think there is no sense made anywhere there."

yes, Jack, I can see why. Thanks for the critique.
Basically, life gets better with age because all that crap you worry about when you're young is over. Being young and beautiful forever would be exhausting.

Fred S. said...

Udolpho,

You had a blog? If you say so, old boy, but I certainly can't recall it.

How's married life treating you?

David said...

Because black men in Africa are lazy, white men in America deserve to lose their jobs.

Ah, feminist thinking... (Apologies to the non-feminist ladies here)

Donna said...

Well of course it was the female gender. Women are more likely to desire a home even if they are unmarried and unmarried women are less likely to be financially able to sustain a mortgage.