Posted by: thebylog | September 11, 2009

Happy, Wealthy Danes

This article by Robert Patterson argues that traditional marriage is the most economically productive family arrangement because of the sharp division of labor which exists between the man and woman: The man works mostly to be productive outside the home and the woman works almost exclusively within it.  This balances the need to produce economically for the good of the family unit with the need to propogate and nurture which will result in future production and economic advantage for the society. 

This in contrast to homosexual arrangements or even many heterosexual unions in which there is no such distinction. 

Makes sense to me, though this seems more theoretical than based upon empirical evidence.  Of course, this theory supports the Biblical ideal.

In the same article, the author cites some statistics about the state of the traditional family in Scandinavia, where, it seems, more than half of births are to unwed mothers.  If the above theory is true, then I would expect such countries to be poor, yet when I look at per capita GDP it seems as if most Scandinavian countries are in the top 10%.
 
It reminds me of another article I read sometime back which refers to the peacefulness and happiness of these Scandinavian countries.  This was unexpected because I have been programmed to view socialism as an unsustainable, unjust societal structure.  Perhaps a level of socialism can in fact produce a functioning, prosperous, and happy society.

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Responses

  1. I’m a German living in England and from my European perspective I don’t find life in Scandinavia very desirable.
    Wealth:
    their per capita GDP might be high but the government won’t leave much of it in people’s pockets.
    Happiness:
    dysfuctional families can’t produce a happy society.Their homicide rates might be low, but they have a lot of other problems. Alcoholism, for example. Fascism is another one (german Neo-Nazi groups buy their flags, symbols etc. often from Danish sellers on the internet; Sweden has also problems with such groups). Finland has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. The governments are very intrusive, you can’t homeschool (I’m not sure if that is so in Norway). I heard an interview with the wife of the German ambassador in Sweden.She said that the Swedish women she met were horrified that she stayed at home with her youg children instead of working and putting them into day-care… …
    I couldn’t be happy in a society that leaves so little freedom for the individual.

  2. Fascinating perspective. Thanks for the input. Do you find a similar infringement on personal freedom in England and Germany?

  3. One reason for moving to England was homeschooling (it’s illegal in Germany).Infringement of personal freedom is definitely an issue in Germany. The English cherish and defend their freedom much more, but I’m concerned about the increasing influence of European Union regulations on British law.

  4. My boss (from Germany) says that apprentices from rural areas have better results in employment tests than apprentices from urban areas. In her opinion the reason is that in cities mothers have jobs and don`t have much time to look after their children. People living in the country are more conservative.

  5. As a Mennonite, I’m surprised that a fellow Mennonite (you) was “programmed to view socialism as an unsustainable, unjust societal structure”. What is the essence of Christianity, after all, but to love God and love our neighbor? And what is “socialism” but a desire to value and care for others? What is a church but a place that cares for others no matter their means, expecting those with more means to share more? Isn’t that “socialism”? Sure, the socialist systems that fallible humans have put in place have their failures and weaknesses (and those of capitalism, fascism, monarchism, etc. don’t?), but my faith still turns me more toward socialism (valuing fellow humans) than other “isms” (valuing money, power, etc.).

    On a side note, as a Mennonite from Corvallis who has lived in central PA (and gone to church with Jim Rosenberger), it was neat to find your blog today!

  6. Hi Dave,

    Dr. Rosenberger is a fine man and a wonderful mentor. I am blessed to have him in my life.

    I guess I come from a more “conservative” brand of Mennonite, in which the overwhelming opinion is in favor of capitalism and against socialism, which is viewed as a governmental attack on personal freedom (and in league with the secular left whose agenda largely militates against traditional values and Biblical morality).

    There is certainly Scriptural precedent for a socialistic structure within the church. But to extend that to an entire country, to force everyone that has more to share with those who have less? This doesn’t seem at all like a no-brainer to me.

    In fact, it reminds me of a mistake that I think the religious right makes: Attempting to change the country from the top down. They have their particular view of the world and Christianity, and they would like to force mass external acceptance of Christian principles.

    I would advocate changing the world from the grass roots, not via government.

    I will admit that I don’t feel as if my thinking here is completely settled; there are loose ends.

  7. Dave, “socialism” works within the church where most people are controlled by the spirit of Christ, but not in a worldwide system where most are not.


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