Saturday, April 04, 2009

The boy trade in China   posted by Razib @ 4/04/2009 10:16:00 AM

Rural China's Hunger for Sons Fuels Traffic in Abducted Boys. As I've mentioned before sex preferences can change, Japan shifted from sons to daughters around 1990, while South Korea has flipped more recently. In the United States heterosexual couples prefer to adopt daughters. In the realm of anecdotes my mother told me how a cousin of mine in Bangladesh was somewhat disappointed when she had a son because the family (her husband & parents) was hoping for a daughter. She is a professional in her mid-30s and assumes this will be her only child. The rationale given was that if you don't have many children then daughters are more likely to be attentive to their elderly parents. From a perspective where you balance offspring's risk vs. rewards one could make the argument that for parents who want to minimize the likelihood of having a "problem child," a daughter is the way to go. The dynamic in China is interesting because I was to understand that because of the presumed biological nature of patrilineality implicit in Confucian thought there was traditionally relatively little adoption in China (or Korea). The utilization of adoption to continue the family line shows the strength of the cultural pressures, and is well attested in many societies (in Adam Bellow's In Praise of Nepotism he makes the claim that the early Church's campaign against the common classical practice of adoption was materially driven by the reality that families without male heirs were a source of wealth through posthumous bequests).