apr 22

dating is hard

for some reason, thinking about contraceptives as a prisoner's dilemma in which women disproportionately lose (HT @MZHemingway), makes me almost as depressed as experimenting with an iPad as a dude magnet and discovering it doesn't work.

ah well. onward. -- FB


that article is not so well reasoned.

posted by that article at 3:52 PM on April 22, 2010

i am relieved you say so. you mean the iPad one, right? :) every once in a while a political economist tries to explain why it's bad that women's lib ever happened. it succeeds in making us all feel hopeless for a day, but curiously, doesn't stop us from our behavior. which always makes me wonder if we're calculating the incentives in the right way. - your thoughts?

posted by Farrah Bostic at 5:17 PM on April 22, 2010

well, first off: the whole economics must describe the whole world premise is a little iffy. behavioral economic is so faddish right now because regular economics does such a crappy job at predicting human behavior (as opposed analyzing present/past financial data)...

second: my own pet peeve - the golden mean fallacy. the author says is the proponents fault, but that it must also be the catholics' fault too. that's a heavy charge for two sentences worth of description. this sort of thing is all over the paper.

third: she defines nothing. what is "sexist?" the choices people have or the impact those choices have upon everyone at once? does one outweigh the other? for the author, there's no intrinsic value in having a choice so all females are doomed by that choice's impact.

fourth: there's a whole bunch of super conservative folks who don't have sex before marriage. not saying that's right or wrong, but that sort of self-selection removes a whole bunch of guys and girls from the "market" who don't want to be on birth control. that's likely a pretty large contingent of people who would otherwise be harmed by the prisoner's dilemma.

fifth: men face no pressure to have kids, settle down, etc? besides the recent scientific data that says men are just as likely to have unhealthy babies as they age, i'm not sure it's a safe assumption to think of guys as these freewheelin' dudes who would bang regularly forever. there's also societal pressure on guys is what i'm saying. and really, there is "no" social stigma with divorce anymore? c'mon.

six: she assumes pregnant ladies can't have sex for some reason.

seven: "That is, the principle of comparative advantage no longer applies, or at least does not apply with the same force as in the past. This, in turn, means that men and women become, quite simply, less interesting to one another. Sameness begets ennui, which begets divorce." this is pretty disgusting stuff. equality leads to boredom leads to divorce. makes sense to me.... especially because "Sandra Tsing Loh" said it was true for some atlantic article.

eight: "And it is the woman, not the man, who bears the emotional costs of postabortion guilt and trauma." jesus. ignoring the rightness or wrongness of abortion or contraception (which in my mind are far different), the guilt/trauma thing is a red herring and a huge distraction and is not at all proven by scientific literature. see the reaction to sc justice kennedy's trauma reasoning in the late term abortion case ... there's a lot of not happy people.

nine: "On net, women and children are the big losers in the contraceptive society." why is there no mention of the formerly absent fathers, now willing to care for children? or the formerly destitute children, now able to be supported?

ten: lots of this seems really irrelevant because there's contraception other than birth control??

but like you said, the whole incentives calculation seems a little robotic. if i am going to cheat on my gf, i won't flirt w/ the girl at work thinking "ah yes, i will bang this girl because it will go undetected!" this seems to be lacking in the spontaneity of such a thing, and not addressing any of my issues that led to it happening. in the world of economics, incentives drive everything -- but human behavior is too complex for this sorta thing.


posted by that article at 6:39 PM on April 22, 2010

but all that seems to ignore one huge thing: ladies might actually like sex. they may even want a choice when to have it -- gasp! -- without wanting to have kids, a future with a man, etc.

posted by that article at 6:46 PM on April 22, 2010

wow - i love all the thinking here... and that my little 'this makes me feel gross' elicited such a great response...

as for me, this pretty much sums it up: "but all that seems to ignore one huge thing: ladies might actually like sex."

posted by Farrah Bostic at 9:18 AM on April 23, 2010

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