Wrong Concoction

Historically, technological advancement combined with economics have helped to push civilization towards greater levels of achievements; yet too often, there are times when they are combined in the wrong ways that produces somewhat problematic results for the aggregate society. An example would be the problem of counterfeit products, which is recently featured in The Economist. Interestingly it has extended beyond just luxury goods, luxury consumer electronics to the more sophisticated stuff like cars, computer and machine parts. The chief argument against counterfeits is not so much that they are unsafe. As technology advance, counterfeits that are of low quality would naturally be abandon by the market anyways. The reason for the market’s embrace is a result of their avoidance of taxes and the willingness to accept lower margins, which allows them to price way more competitively.

Another time when technological advancement is combined with skewed human intentions is the gender-based abortion that The Economist is hinting at. The distorted sex ratio have potentially disastrous consequences on society at large. Unfortunately the imbalance is already a fact and will take at least a generation to restore some balance so in the meantime we will probably have to put up with way lower rates of marriages (if rates sustain, it would only be because divorce rates have also been increasing; which implies re-marriages).

Well, more arguments for big governments, or if not, intrusive ones.


  1. Well the thing about the skewed gender ratio is that it could also be said to be the creation of governments – China’s One Child Policy, as we learn in A-level Geography and in the article in The Economist, had a huge influence on the gender ratio in China. Not that I am anti-government, but at least for China’s case the government has been too intrusive. To be fair, there probably was little else the government could do, but it would be necessary to loosen the policy and be less heavy-handed now.

    But certainly, for Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, there needs to be more government intervention to rebalance the gender ratio. One wonders what the government can do though against embedded cultural norms and beliefs that take decades or generations to fade / change.

  2. If you do check out the article about the gender ratio, China’s policy is not the problem. When they restrict kids to one child, most parents are okay with the female one; it is only a problem when you allow a second child because parents who already have a girl first would want a boy even more badly. The gender ratio is the least skewed for the first child in the regions studied as a result of that.

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