I learned today one does not have a 50/50 chance of having a boy. Instead, one has a 105/100 chance. In fairness, I do not know if this equation has held true throughout all of human history, but I would be unsurprised to know that it did. Of course, one can change this equation, but that’s when very bad things begin to happen. Jonathan Last covers some of these in his review of Unnatural Selection:
[I]n India there are 112 boys born for every 100 girls. In China, the number is 121—though plenty of Chinese towns are over the 150 mark. China’s and India’s populations are mammoth enough that their outlying sex ratios have skewed the global average to a biologically impossible 107. But the imbalance is not only in Asia. Azerbaijan stands at 115, Georgia at 118 and Armenia at 120.
What is causing the skewed ratio: abortion. If the male number in the sex ratio is above 106, it means that couples are having abortions when they find out the mother is carrying a girl. By Ms. Hvistendahl’s counting, there have been so many sex-selective abortions in the past three decades that 163 million girls, who by biological averages should have been born, are missing from the world. Moral horror aside, this is likely to be of very large consequence.
Despite what many would encourage us to believe, men need women and women need men. When there are not enough women to go around, the society shows it:
There is indeed compelling evidence of a link between sex ratios and violence. High sex ratios mean that a society is going to have “surplus men”—that is, men with no hope of marrying because there are not enough women. Such men accumulate in the lower classes, where risks of violence are already elevated. And unmarried men with limited incomes tend to make trouble. In Chinese provinces where the sex ratio has spiked, a crime wave has followed. Today in India, the best predictor of violence and crime for any given area is not income but sex ratio.
I think you will find that in most cultures, attached men are engaged in less risky behavior (including various crimes) than unattached men. The reasons for this reality may be the substance of a sociologist’s doctoral dissertation, but it comes down to what happens when one avoids the natural order of things.
Choices always have consequences, don’t they?
Go and read the entire review.