Most countries think supply of labour should drive demand. We forget then (or choose not to admit to ourselves) that it is demand that drives supply in any situation. Not the other way around. It is just not realistic to believe that because we have so many ‘young ones’ here, that there should be jobs out there for them. But we do. The two however are not related in reality. But we ‘force that relationship in our minds’.
When we dug for data over time, to our surprise we were noticing that unlike what the country thought, its population was not declining. Yes, it’s overall population numbers may be dropping to attrition due to deaths (in part speeded up along by HIV/AIDs) and migration. However, its fertility rate on the other hand had been quite high and continues to grow.
So what was causing its fertility rates to increase?
This was in part driven by a few reasons.
The first, and the least inconspicuous of the three was a hidden matriarchal system (the mothers and women here wield more power than it thought). This was fuelled by fears of security they held on to as young women themselves as they watched their husbands leave them for long-term employment in mines in neighbouring countries and had to learn to cope to fend for themselves and their children very quickly. Over time, this evolved to driving their children to produce more children in the belief that the more there are children within one’s own family, the more potential the family had in eventually bringing in income from their lands and the economy. It was a long-term retirement plan for the women. (Need for Security on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs)
Men on the other hand, played a hand in this too, each trying to outdo the other in producing children. The more children he had, the better a man he was going to be in the eyes of the persons around him. It was an immediate gratification or ego trip for the men (Need for Ego / Belonging on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs)
These children in turn grew up over time, seeing a world where they knew who were their friends and who were their enemies and this line was drawn up by who is within their core family and who was outside it (to a point it sometimes included the fathers who bore them). This often meant that as they grew up they were learning not to ‘let go of the families they were born into’ enough to build long-term relationships with their spouses (someone who is ‘outside’ their families) and their in-laws to help build core family systems (husband, wife and their children) for themselves. It was the need for maintaining or finding sense of belonging for the child or security in the familiarity or long-term childhoodness which sometimes perpetuated in older age as girlfriendhood or boyfriendhood syndrome and the need in not having to assume responsibilities for the consequences of one’s actions. (Need for Security on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs)
Hence this meant the demise of the core family system and the growth and existence of the extended family as a support system for the individuals. Today, these numbers are rising up to 70% levels. Less than 30% levels of the population stay married and these numbers continue to decline.
However, when core families do not develop within the system, the system (particularly the males) does not learn a key lesson of life which is “what it takes to hold, build and share perspectives outside its comfort zones needed for a more “collaborative, extended and systemic organizations and industrial relations” and therefore the birth and growth of corporations (by the locals).
This would lead locals themselves particularly as the males to learn to build (not just participate) the economy. For men to do so, it is in part as a result of the type of relation he enjoys with his spouse (but not his mother). The more intimate the couple is emotionally (not just physically), the greater is his sense of resilience and motivation he is able to gain to meet and overcome the challenges he would face in the world of businesses and the economy.
And so, when the economy does not grow, it is unable to create more jobs within the economy (as revenues are declining as much as costs may be rising) and therefore, unemployment continues to exist and worsens in the face of growing population numbers (fertility) which means the family in turn finds more of its people are not participating in the economy and therefore able to bring in resources into it. When this part of a man’s life is not growing, he becomes more conservative and reserved and succumbs to addictions, substance abuses and violence and a general disregard for respect for themselves and others. The signals a death knell for the economy. The organized economy suffers. The subsistence economy takes over.
Gradually, this in turn leads women to bear children outside of marital relations (most children born in this country are born to women who are not married and that trend is rising).
In the mind of the woman, bearing a child to a man (particularly if he has the means to support relative to herself) would ensure a somewhat steady source of income for their family through their children (sometimes to the point of coercing the father of the child to continue to bear expenses for it and the family) or it stops the existing male persons within the extended family to build relations outside his family in order to support the needs of the family (to children and sisters who are not married).
Have we come full circle yet? Do you see the vicious circle?
How would we treat this vicious problem?
Can the government realistically solve this problem?
Do not expect to learn to solve the problem, if one did not create the problem!
- At Father’s Day, what about the men? Are they lost in the fertility story? (fertilitywellnessgroup.com)
- Fees introduced for Family Court disputes (radionz.co.nz)
- How Labour saved 2 million children from poverty (leftfootforward.org)
- Case Study 17: Is unemployment the real problem? (sheilasingapore.com)