By Brooke McIlvain
A new book by a BYU political science professor is gaining recognition as it sheds light to the security threat China”s male overpopulation presents.
MIT Press, as part of Harvard”s Belfer Center series on international security, published “Bare Branches: The Security Implications of Asia”s Surplus Male Population” by BYU professor Valerie Hudson. A book titled, “Rebels and Revolutionists in north China: 1845-1945″ sparked the author”s interest in China”s social situation and she began researching the problem in 1996.
The problem derives from an increasing gap between the number of boys and girls born in Asian societies, which place a special value on sons. Many studies note the absence of women in Asian countries; however, Hudson”s research is the front-runner on how the scarcity of women has left men turning to alternate sources of fulfillment. “China is not getting better, its getting worse,” Hudson said. “Prostitution is already gunned to increase there and will continue to do so. Populations with the worst male/female ratio also have the development of homosexuality.” Hudson found what happens to the security of Asia will indirectly affect the United States because their security becomes this country”s security. Leaders deal everyday with what to do with more males than society can support. One idea is to put them to work in the army.
“It”s a dangerous policy to keep an army near metropolitan areas because they have enough force to overthrow the government so the response is to oust them in any way,” Hudson said. “The only thing we can do as Americans is to take this variable into account.”
She is adamant that prospects for peace and democracy may be diminished for nations where the status of women is very low and said Americans need to pay attention to foreign policy as well as international security communities.
“You”ve got so many young single men without many prospects for doing well in what life has to offer, so they turn towards ruthlessness and violence to get it,” said Gawain Wells, department chair of psychology. “With the caveat that I can only think like an American male, I”d be saying to myself, ”What is there meaningful for me to do?” The answer, according to some, is if you don”t have those close, committed relationships then you seek the next closest thing in unloving ways through drugs, sex and other ways of seeking for pleasure.”
Wells applied the findings of renowned psychologist, William Glasser, on unhappy people, saying that those of the Chinese male population are facing similar obstacles.
“Because they aren”t able to get along well with people they want to get along with, their needs are not met and they give up on meaningful relationships, then they seek a lifelong destructive search for pleasure,” Wells said.
“What can we do?” said Earl Fry, professor of political science at BYU. “Ask the Chinese to engage in lightened policies and not be so biased against female children. Today”s college-age population is the least likely to turn out at the voter polls yet the greatest to feel the impact of this future burden.”