2014 December 30 Tuesday
Heartiste On The Decline Of The Beta Male

Heartiste on The Era of the Apex Alpha.

Mid-century America — circa 1940-1970 — was the time of the “Great Compression”. Economic and social equality were high among whites; the American Beta Male was in the primacy of his rule. All that equality is a turn-off for women; it’s bad business for female desire. There must have been a craving among young women during that time period for a big cheese, a kingpin, an aristocrat, a head honcho, a cult leader, a proto-Obama… a man who stood shoulders above other men. A…. rock star.

I think the growth of mass media played a large role in the decline of marriage. Women can see much higher status males on TV (including the "Mr. President" which Marilyn Monroe sang to). Greater physical mobility has had the same effect. This made them much less satisfied with the guys nearby.

Next came the decline of unionized well paying manual labor jobs while women went into more occupations which were previously male-only. So in the middle and lower classes many men experienced declining salaries while their potential mates experienced rising career opportunities. The men can't offer as much to a prospective bride. An increasing fraction of men have given up trying and withdrawn from the labor force.

At the same time, some women have higher paying careers. The highest status women have a hard time finding a man with higher status who will marry them. The lowest status women find the welfare state a more appealing mate. Welfare programs serve as replacements for the male bread winner. The impact has been most heavily felt in black families where illegitimacy rates have skyrocketed.

The numbers are very close to last year’s: 72.3 percent of non-Hispanic blacks are now born out-of-wedlock; 66.2 percent of American Indians/Alaska Natives; 53.3 percent of Hispanics; 29.1 percent of non-Hispanic whites; and 17.2 percent of Asians/Pacific Islanders. That’s 40.7 percent overall: a disaster.

Kids growing up without dad grow up at greater risk of abuse from mom's boyfriends (genetic dads are far less likely to abuse their kids than stepfathers or boyfriends). The kids lack the dad role model. The neighborhood lacks the fathers who could keep the young males in line.

A vicious cycle has set in. The male chidren of single moms are much less likely to work.

To this long and growing list Autor and Wasserman add another intriguing possibility: Absentee dads.

Sifting through Census data, they find a significant share of this shift in employment outcomes is largely occurring in one group: men born into single-parent households, most of which are headed by women. As a group, these boys are significantly less likely to graduate from high school or go to college than other children, they found.

Boys are harder hit from being raised by single moms.

More men are giving up.

Automation and immigration are both contributing to this state of affairs. So is computer technology via the allure of video games and an internet social life.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2014 December 30 10:08 PM 

Nick said at December 31, 2014 8:47 AM:

American women are less and less worth the effort. Its been written about in the "manosphere" but you still don't hear much about men who've left America to find better women in Europe, Asia and South America. The Media and their acolytes don't want men to realize that they can have something much better just a plane flight away. I don't consider California a viable place to raise a family anymore. If I get married and have children, it'll be here in Poland where I live now. There are certainly economic and lifestyle tradeoffs, but living in a healthier culture and feminine women is more than worth it.

Jon said at December 31, 2014 9:45 AM:

out-of-wedlock != out-of-cohabitation. the obvious strategy: don't assign any paternity and extract the maximum $ from the state.

Tom said at December 31, 2014 12:26 PM:

"The impact has been most heavily felt in black families where illegitimacy rates have skyrocketed."

Not necessarily, because you have to adjust for population differences in behavioral patterns. Out-of-wedlock, non-monogamous relations have traditionally been much more common and the norm traditionally among black populations. While more monogamous behavior patterns have been much more common among non-black populations traditionally.

Randall Parker said at December 31, 2014 4:29 PM:


Traditionally? In 1960 the black illegitimacy rate was 23%. It was below 20% in 1940 (I find claims of 19% and 14% in articles on the web). So what changed to put it up over 70%?

Boys especially behave better and do better in life if their dad is present while they are growing up.

Tom said at December 31, 2014 6:31 PM:

Mid and early 20th century America doesn't reflect the traditional behavior patterns and social structures of black population groups.

Wolf-Dog said at December 31, 2014 9:08 PM:

Here is a Swedish article about the situation of children in cohabiting parents: the article seems to imply that the level of education of the parents matters a lot. If parents are well educated, the children seem to be less affected by the fact that the parents chose to live together instead of officially getting married.


Traditions, rules, etc, are always made to be broken so that the society can make progress. It seems to me that it is not the higher rates of divorce, but the lack of decent education for the lower 50 % of the society and the rising economic inequality that are causing most of the trouble. [In this context video games and media gossip about Hollywood celebrities does not count as significant cultural progress.]

In a truly evolved society, it would be possible to bypass the official institution of marriage and still raise children very successfully. The official rules of marriage used to keep average people in line so that they take care of their children according to the norms of the society, and this as especially true for half the population.

Rev. Right said at January 2, 2015 5:41 PM:

Marriage offers a lot less to men today while at the same time presenting more risk. In the past a decent man who worked steadily could be reasonably expect a relatively stable family life. The changes over the last half century in the laws regarding marriage and divorce have taken most of the control of his family and his assets out of his hands. Now he can be thrown out of his house and kept from his children at the whim of his wife. Many men rightfully avoid entering into such a one-sided contract.

Jim said at January 3, 2015 8:36 AM:

What happens when the welfare system collapses?

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