Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Low Birthrate and Monetary Values

The domestic work of a homemaker has recently been given a monetary value. Society does not  consider a women's work in the home a career. For insurance purposes and accidents, women's work in the home is not recognized nor when it comes to inheritance, division of property, pension inheritance, or inherited status; this is still a work in process. What can be said is that the making of meals, cleaning and washing is very cheap labor when we give it a market value. A sociology professor in a  column in the Peace Weekly follows this with some of her reasons for the low birthrate in Korea.

Today even the birth and the raising of children is given a market value. This was not the original intention but developed over time. No longer is a human being considered as capital an awkward use of the word. The cost efficiency of the investment in education within a project is seen with the future return. We have those who are in the  humanities who transfer to the school of business. In the past there would be resistance to such a move, this is no longer the case.

Marriage is now a marketable item. When the writer was in college, a doctor's wife took pride in her position even more so than being a doctor herself, which is no longer the case. Today the women no longer vicariously take pride in the work of their husbands, but want the status for themselves. When  women are asked will it be marriage or a career the women answer more than the men that they want a career. At present this reality has slowed down somewhat because of the difficulty in finding a place in society, and movement towards marriage is seen.

When it comes to marriage they give a value to all their assets: education, family status, income, and the like, considering anything that will give themselves a higher grade. They don't want to underestimate their value when they go to the matchmaking companies. They have become a market commodity.

Does not this mentality make it easy to understand the low birth rate? A mother's love for her child even if it required her life was never regretted in the world's folklore, but we  see the woman being dragged into a patriarchal way of thinking. If we give a monetary value to giving birth and raising children, no government is able to have policies that will compensate the sacrifice required. Calculations have to give way to an interior value system.

We need to go beyond the market values and start reflecting on the value of life itself, and its meaning, and as a gift of the creator. We have to see the birth of children with a larger all comprehensive understanding of life.The columnist is a 'baby boomer' and was born during the Korean War. Her parents during this sterile time in our history opted to have a child. The respect that these parents had for life has to be recovered if we want to  see an end to the low birthrate.

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