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The Sciences

Globalization has losers & winners

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanApril 7, 2009 8:23 AM


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Interesting article about the difficulties of Indian bachelors who reside in the United States finding wives in India, Ineligible Bachelors: Indian Men Living in U.S. Strike Out Brides and Parents Back Home Get Picky as Economy Makes America Look Risky. Much of the article is about plain economics:

Indian parents used to think it a plus to marry off their daughters to Indian men living in wealthier countries, including the U.S. and Britain. But as India has grown more affluent in recent years, the demand for overseas Indian grooms has been fading. While India's economy is also slowing down, it is still growing, and layoffs aren't as widespread as in the West.

Most immigrants come to American to be rich (relative to what they were), not breathe free. As the difference, especially taking into PPP, diminishes then the flow of labor will decrease. See Marginal Revolution on how this will effect the United States' immigration flows. In any case the more interesting aspect of the piece are the windows into cultural & individual values:

Some brides simply see India as more livable these days. As salaries have gone up there, Indian married couples are able to afford houses, and young women with jobs have money of their own. In contrast, in the U.S., "people have to even clean their own toilets," says Hasit Dave, 55, who runs the Klassic Match Marriage Bureau in Ahmedabad, a city in the western Indian state of Gujarat. ... Ms. Seth says that if she were to move to the U.S. or to another developed country, she might not get a job quickly and would have to be dependent on her husband for a while. While she's open to the idea of giving up her independence, she worries that given the state of the U.S. economy, a groom based in America might not be earning enough to support her. For instance, Ms. Seth says she likes nice clothes and would like to have a flat-screen TV. "Is he really prepared to provide the kind of lifestyle that I have right now?" She expects a husband to earn more than she does. ... A recent ad listed under the heading Nonresident Indians read: Brahmin boy, very handsome, 27 years old and 178 centimeters tall (5 feet 10 inches), who has done his MBA and a bachelor's in computer science, working in New York, on an H-1B work visa, seeks a professionally qualified, very beautiful, tall girl.

1) Middle class in other nations is not always equivalent to middle class in the United States in very qualitative ways. Household help is a luxury of the upper middle to upper classes (depending on where you live) in the United States, but has been the norm for even the relatively modest in South Asia. The reason is the pyramid shaped socioeconomic profile of Third World nations, where massive lower classes sit below the small middle classes. While goods may be more expensive or more difficult to obtain in Third World nations, many low skilled services are plentiful. 2) Social norms may exhibit latencies in relation to economic shifts. The current recession in the United States is hitting males especially hard, so a wife being the breadwinner is probably common enough at this point to be beneath notice. 3) The poor economic situation in South Asia meant that before men who settled in the United States could have their "pick." There might be a latency in terms of these expectations coming back down to the earth over the next few years.

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