Missing Men and Women


Australia is suffering from a drought of men - about 100,000 of them, most of whom have gone overseas to travel and work. China has the opposite problem - a shortage of women. Which is the more worrisome problem? Should we be worrying about a "de-population bomb?"

Posted by David Ignatius and Lauren Keane on September 14, 2008 11:40 AM

Readers’ Responses to Our Question (10)

Ann Sontz at EuropaSurvey.org :

Comments about the EU's poplation decline could be clarified and expanded a bit. Europe faces a rising older adult population and a decreasing number of younger and mid-life adults in the labor force. However, discussions about migration, both within and from without the EU are still ongoing. The US, in contrast,has a population increase of over 4 million annually. The greater part of this growth appears to come from natural increase, i.e. those born in the US, and policies which favor legal immigration through a longstanding legislative tradition that favors family reunification. Informal immigration trends, though continuing, have actually been declining.

mohammad allam :

The probelem mentioned in question is worrisome for Australia only,as Australia failing the situation of decline of population in term of expectation .Male is considered as the productive agent of the society in term of population.
while in case of china it is not worrisome problem,as China controlling the population explosion by policy of many methods.the woman which considered the real population growth element,china will get relief in decline of population.In both cases the problme of Australia is worrisome.
The problem of de-population bomb is very much dangerous for those economy which constantly draw man power from internal sources.But it is not so fatal if the critical industrial sectors are dependent on the migrated man power.
But on social front the problem is really a matter of concern.The western society is capable to cope this problem as they couped after the two world wars.In case of china and Australia both represent the two socila class story.China being a Asiatic Society still love the family values.In Rurla china the family norm based on the values of welcom to new born is still stronger as compare to Australia.The decline of family values and a nuclear life style,the western society is out of return path to medieval social norms.The life style of west has not so much stronger appeal towards the welcom to new born.so in one case the situation can bring back again by just relaxing the laws while in another case the problem is hard one to solve.
so in my oinion the nature of depopualtion determine the worseness of sitution not the term of depopulation .

Yousuf Hashmi :

This is a real social problem in many parts of the world

Mass movement of work force is definitely tinkering with the nature and disturbing the balance between sexes.

We should also not forget millions of work force in middle east which are away from their spouses, thousands of Filipino girls working in Japan,and so on.

In east Asia due to conservative culture such problems remained out of sight and never discussed.


Citizen of the post-American world :

Should we be worrying about a "de-population bomb?"

Yes, terribly!

We need not worry, though, about the U.S. economy, given Bush, McCain and US Treasury Secretary Paulson have all made it abundantly clear that "the economic fundamentals are sound". It was indeed reassuring to hear repeated, those same words used by President Hoover and the captains of finance, in the deepening chill of the winter of 1929-1930.

As an aside: when the time comes, may I die a sudden death! I’d hate to know I’m dying.

MikeB :

Okay....problem solved! Let's have China invade and take over Australia. Plenty of Chinese troops to go around for those lonely women. THIS WHOLE TOPIC IS ABSURD. If all of their jobs hadn't been outsourced to China and India, the Australian men wouldn't be forced to leave home to get a job. End the insanity of shipping jobs off, inviting "guest workers" in, and the problem goes away.

D.H :

The real worry is not that there are less men in Australia and less women in China. The world population has grown exponentially during the last century creating numerous and serious problems. The worry of more advanced countries is that their population is decreasing - e.g. Europe - whilst the third world contries' population is increasing, and creating a wave of illegal immigration in their direction. USA's population is increasing by the enormous immigration, particularly the illegal one, but seems to be acceptable because of the cheap labour.
In fact, one should rather worry when the supposedly responsible people managing banks, brokers and insurance, have created one of the worst financial crisis, due to greed and political weak administrations. These responsible people have obtained enormous bonuses during the few years before everybody realized that the profits were made by holding rotten guarantees - subprime mortgages - allowing to borrow short at cheap rates to finance these long term items paying fat rates. One wonders how bankers and financiers could break the golden rule never to borrow short to finance long. Also, how will the people responsible to create this faulty guarantees, rated AAA by the respected rating groups(!!!!), pay for their greed for immediate retribution?

Zoltan :

Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac were nationalised last week, Lehmann Bros went bankrupt yesterday while Merryl Linch was bought for half it's price, US army is attacking Packistan while the Israeli prepare the bombing of Iran, a hurrican swept over Texas while a moose-hunting hockey-mom is running as US vice-president ... so ... yeah, better talk about sex.

So there are more women in Australia, and more men in China. What could I think about that ... dunno. May-be that for my next vacations I'd prefer australia over China. But that's hardly any news.

BTW, Mr Fareed Zakaria, when you next time write in "Comment is Free" from "the Guardian", make sure you investigate the subject more than your poor contribution about Russia (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/sep/15/comment.russia)

BobL-VA :

Rotten-World said it all.

Shiveh :

If we are going to worry, we should worry about over-population, especially in parts of Asia.

I wouldn’t mind if half of the Chinese women leave for Australia while the rest of the Australian men go to China!!

rotten-world :

Australia will be the heaven of all women playing with themselves! And this problem may lead to women will turn into lesbians?
While China will be full with men and that may lead to the outbreak of gaymen?

Sex-related underground businesses in these nations may have more chance to show up???

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PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.