Presentation on theme: "The Family: Human Capital Implications and It ’ s Cost to Society Dr. Maria Sophia Aguirre Department of Business and Economics The Catholic University."— Presentation transcript:
The Family: Human Capital Implications and It ’ s Cost to Society Dr. Maria Sophia Aguirre Department of Business and Economics The Catholic University of America World Congress of Families ~ New York City May 3-4, 2002
The themes and language of overpopulation and human rights – particularly women’s and children’s rights when referring to the family – have been part of mainstream conversation and international and national discussion for nearly four decades.
Does the Family Have a Place in Economic Development? How you answer this question depends greatly on whether or not one sees population and the natural family as a problem. Some would argue that population and the family are a problem: -The earth is limited -- the more we are, the poorer we will be. The family is a hostile place for woman and children. Therefore it has to be monitored and regulated by international laws and institutions. Others argue NO. Numbers in themselves do not equal poverty; rather, poorly structured families and societies as well as economies foster poverty.
How people define family and its rights is critical because: International and national legislative policies are formulated, and local medical plans and sex education classes are designed. ‘Soft laws’—non-binding international documents— are in fact, treated by interested actors as if they were hard laws. In this manner, interest groups are using UN documents to interpret and shape domestic law. Soft law is the preferred tool for those who want to change norms because of its ambiguity. Thus, it is equally critical that people ensure these definitions are grounded, not in rhetoric and emotions, but in established scientific and empirical data.
I Would Like to Argue The focus on family and population is not necessarily incorrect, but both the population control policies used and the approach of UN documents to the family in the past twenty some years are mistaken. This is so because: It hampers the growth of a key element of economic development - human capital - and thus renders development unsustainable. Healthy families are essential for the development of human and social capital, and the shape that this legislation has taken is threatening this fundamental unit of society.
On this point, I have good company Nobel Laureate, 1992 “No discussion of human capital can omit the influence of families on the knowledge, skills, values, and habits of their children” and therefore on their present and future productivity. Becker (1991) “I would start out with some obvious things that are still some times forgotten: the most successful companies and the most successful countries will be those that manage human capital in the most effective and efficient fashion…provide a good learning environment, and yes, include social capital as well as skills and training.” Becker (2001)
Nobel Laureate, 1998 “The human development approach must tale full note of the robust role of the human capital, while at the same time retaining clarity about what the ends and means respectively are. What needs to be avoided is to see human beings as merely means of production and material prosperity.” Sen (1994)
Players and Perspectives in the Debate 1.The Population Control Perspectives 2.The Women's Rights Perspective 3.The Children's Rights Perspectives 4.Sexual and Reproductive Rights Perspective 5.The Gender Perspective
1. The Population Control Perspectives First, rapid growth in population means the spread of poverty and aggravates conditions as poor health, malnutrition, illiteracy, and unemployment. (Bucharest, 1974) Second, population threatens government stability in developing countries, and encourage the confrontation between developed and developing countries. Third, it pushes future generations to scarcity, and an unsustainable environment carrying capacity. (Rio, 1992) Fourth, it sees population growth to be symptomatic of the larger problem of women's oppression—the more children a woman has, the less opportunity she has for her own self-actualization and development. (Cairo, 1994)
2. The Women's Rights Perspectives Family is seen as a factor that oppresses and subordinates women socially because children curtails the mother ’ s development. Access to 'reproductive information and services' frees women from this situation, since ignorance makes women have more children than they desire. Women have the right to be women, whether they work in the home or outside of it. Motherhood and the family do not oppress women, but rather offer women fuller expression. Women become a policy tool, by reducing them to their reproductive and sexual traits or capacities, they fail to recognize the fullest dimensions of women
3. The Children's Rights Perspectives Normal perspective: holds children as the recipients of parental protection and guidance. Parents held their rights in their stead until they grew out of minority status. Recent perspective: wishes to endow children with greater autonomy, regardless of age, and argues that these autonomous children hold certain rights over and against their parents. Both views are present in the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Recent perspective: seriously challenges the parental rights recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights drives a wedge in the parent-child relationship by setting parent and child on equal footing neglects any understanding of an organic relationship of parents and children.
4. Arguments for Sexual and Reproductive Rights Reproductive Health An individual Good Population Stabilization A Common Good
A. Reproductive Health: An Individual Good It is an end in its own right and a ‘foundation stone’ to achieve women’s empowerment, education and health. Thus education and its promotion is for the individual good. Reproductive health and universal access to contraception are integral to achieve equality between men and women Therefore, it is the responsibility of the government to ensure the universal exercise of this human right
B. Reproductive Health: A Common Good It is a foundation stone of prosperity and better quality of life for all people. They are essential to achieve ‘sustainable development.’ The global and national needs are sustainable development and environmental preservation, and people are the most important threat. ‘Accordingly, global and national needs coincide with personal rights and interests’ (UNFPA’98) The assumption underlying this argument is the Malthusian Theory of population and resources.
Therefore, the sexual and reproductive rights perspective Ties together the population control perspective and the women's rights perspective, and increasingly, also children's rights. Argues that if information is made available, women will use these services and will have fewer children. This, in turn, will free women from home and enable their personal development. It will also curbs population growth. Is supported by the UN Conferences of the past twenty-five years, Is based, on the false premises that all women want fewer children, motherhood is an oppressive institution, and population growth is a negative occurrence. It also ignores the problems of an aging population.
1.They argue that the traditional binary understanding of gender as male and female restricts personal sexual expression. 2.The gay-lesbian lobby, radical women's rights groups, and population control groups such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), are the main supporters of an understanding of gender that allows for bisexual, transsexual, homosexual, etc. 3.The population control perspective is supportive of alternative gender language insofar as non-heterosexual couples imply fewer children, while the gay-lesbian lobby and radical women’s groups want greater sexual ‘freedom of expression.’ 5. The Gender Perspective
Source: Compiled from Comprehensive Statistical Data on Operational Activities for Development, years 1990-1997.
From an economic point of view, the family is very important: –The break down of the family is a symptom of a sick and weak society. –Children develop in the best way within a family that is functional, i.e., with his biological parents in a stable marriage. –The academic performance of a child is very closely related to the structure of the family in which he lives and this is important for the quality of the human and social capital –Every man and woman belongs to a family and clearly, from a point of view of economic development, its stability is necessary for the development to be sustainable Socioeconomic Effects
Divorce There is a 43% likelihood of a new marriage ending in divorce 50% of new marriages end in divorce Of the 69% of children born to married parents it is estimated that 45% will see their parents divorce by the time they are 18 years old There is considerable scientific evidence of the psychological damage done by voluntary breakup of the family U.S. Census Bureau,National Center for Health Statistics, 1998-2000
Cohabitation 45-85% of people between 20-25 years are cohabiting in Northern European countries. In the US this number is 14%. We know: –Child abuse is six times higher than in families with two parents –Cohabitation is more unstable than marriage. –Marriages after cohabitation are less stable than marriages without cohabitation previous to marriage. Popenoe and Whitehead (1997, 2000), Wu(1998), Hoen(1997)
Figure 1 Source: National Statistics on Population.
Figure 2 Source: Poverty in the U.S.: 2000, US Census Bureau, September 2001, Table A-4.
Figure 3 Source: National Center for Children in Poverty, A Statistical Profile, March 2002.
Facts of Working Women Women in 1997 owned 8.5 million small businesses in the United States, employed more than 23.8 million people and generated receipts of $3.1 trillion in sales. Data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth show that among people ages 27-33 who have never had a child, women’s earnings approach 98 percent of men’s earnings. Between 1960 and 1994, women’s earnings grew ten times as fast as men’s wages. The number of corporate boards with women rose from 11% in 1973 to 72% in 1998.
Housework time ranges from 20-30 hours in addition to a full time job. Problem with supervision of children Problem with retention of valuable women There is a link between female earnings and divorce and extramarital childbearing Women contribute at least 45% of the family income 15% of women would like to work full time. 33% would work part-time, and 31 % would prefer not to work outside their home
Figure 4 Source: International Labor Organization
Figure 5 United States UK Sweden Japan Australia France Netherlands Italy Germany Source: International Labor Organization.
Domestic Violence Towards Women CLAIM: “Domestic violence affects many women and girls and it happens within the family setting” REAL FACTS: Estimates range from 960,000 (0.5% of population and 3 women every 15 seconds) incidents of violence against a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend of which approximately 500,000 (0.25% of population) involve rapes or other sexual assaults 21 percent of the violent crimes against women are caused by intimates-- husbands, former husbands, boyfriends or former boyfriends. Also, the rate of intimate-offender attacks on women separated from their husbands was about 25 times higher than that of married women. 4 million (2%) women are the victims of ALL types of violent crimes ( U.S. Department of Justice, March, 1998) Family violence costs the nation from $5 to $10 billion annually in medical expenses, police and court costs, shelters and foster care, sick leave, absenteeism, and non-productivity. — Medical News, American Medical Association, January, 1992.
Children Facts Decline in academic performance Lack of parental support, involvement, and the breakdown of the family have been found to be important factors Children from broken families or single parents are worse off Tend to have more social, psychological, health and academic problems 40% of children under 3 years old live with one parent 50% of women with children under 1 year old work outside their home and childcare is not a solution. Non-maternal care increases children’s aggressive and violent behavior
Children and adolescents suffer pressure to become sexually active through the media and sex-education programs which often foment “safe sex” and homosexuality in stead of abstinence Birth to mothers under 18 is 29% of nonmarital births and STD cases have increased among teenagers. US is the highest of developed countries (49/1000 birth) followed by Europe (10/1000) and Japan (4/1000) This has taken place in spite of an increase in the use of contraceptives (78%)
Access to family planning increases underage sexual activity (Kaiser (2000) and Paton (2002)) The number of children reporting the use of condom has raised from 46% to 58% between 1992 and 1999 In 1999, 72% of children define “safe sex” as using condoms and contraceptives or other means. 28% define it as “abstinence.” There is evidence that sexual activity at this age had detrimental psychological, health, behavioral and academic effects on them. 66% of public schools report the main message of Sex Education programs to be comprehensive vs. only 34% reporting to be abstinence.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND CHILD ABUSE Child abuse is 15 times more likely to occur in irregular family settings. Men who have witnessed their parents' domestic violence are three times more likely to abuse their own wives than children Children who witness violence at home display emotional and behavioral disturbances as diverse as withdrawal, low self-esteem, nightmares, self-blame and aggression against peers, family members and property. A comparison of delinquent and non-delinquent youth found that a history of family violence or abuse is the most significant difference between the two groups. Sources: www.Children and Domestic Violence.org
The family faces serious health and poverty problems, especially in the developing world The main health risks and causes of death for man and woman are: Isachaemic Heart and Cerbrovascular diseases (14.4 million) Acute lower respiratory infections (kills 4 million per year) Malaria ( 300-500 million new cases per year and kills 2.8 million) Tuberculosis (8 million new cases per year and kills 3 million people per year.) Diarrheal Diseases (kills 2.2 million per year) Perinatal conditions (kills 2.1 million) These diseases are rare and treatment is accessible in developed countries and their cost is remarkably low. AIDS (5 million new cases per year and 3 million deaths ) These figures are significantly lower than the two above mentioned major leading causes of death in developing countries. WHO, World Health Report, 1999 and UNAIDS 2001.
The cost of treatment for AIDS is very high. The US spending on HIV/AIDS patient care (FY 2000) was $10.8 billion It spent $1,359 for health care expenditures for an HIV/AIDS per month. No developing country can afford such expenditures for any treatment.
Solutions by International Organizations Spread of the use of condoms as a means of managing the crisis because it is believed that this leads to "safe sex". Although condoms give the “best” protection against HIV, the risk of infection is reduced to 87% for men, the risk reduction for women is not as high because of physical differences and because they are the recipient during the sexual intercourse. (Davis and Weller,1999) In a 1996 study conducted in four countries, the Conjunct Program of the United Nations on HIV/AIDS found that the use of condoms increased the risk of contracting AIDS because most contraceptives use a chemical substance, nonoxinol-9, which tends to have an irritating effect that causes lesions increasing the risk of contracting HIV. (UNAIDS 1996 and NACHHD 1999)
Statistics of HIV/AIDS per Region, 2001 RegionsBegin-ningPersons Infected with HIV New persons Infected with HIV Rate of Adults infected with HIV Rate of women infected with HIV Modes of Transmission Sub-Sahara AfricaEnd 70s28.1 million3.4 million8.4%55%Hetero Northern Africa and Middle East End 80s440,00080,0000.2%40%Hetero, IDU South AsiaEnd 80s6.1 million800,0000.6%35%Hetero East and Pacific Asia End 80s1 million2700000.1%20%IDU,Hetero, MSM Latin-AmericaEnd 70s1.4 million130,0000.5%30%MSM, IDU, Hetero CaribbeanEnd 70s420,00060,0002.2%50%Hetero, MSM Central Asia and Europe Begin. 90s1 million250,0000.50%20%IDU Western EuropeEnd 70s560,00030,0000.3%25%MSM, IDU North AmericaEnd 70s94000045,0000.60%20%MSM, IDU, Hetero Australia and New Zeeland End 70s15,0005000.1%10%MSM Total40 Million5 million1.2%48%
Low Cost Effective Interventions (annual cost per capita) TreatmentCostsEffectiveness Chemotherapy for TB (6 months )$20.00 ($0.60) 95% Contraceptives (HIV)$14.00 ($1.90) 99% (85%-95%) Hydration salts for Diarrhea$0.33 ($1.60) 95% Pneumonia Antibiotics (5 days antibiotics)$0.27High Measles (1 douses of vaccination)$0.26 ($0.50) 98% Malaria$10 ($0.05) Sources: WHO NA
In all cases, AIDS is a matter of behavior and, thus, it can be corrected. Furthermore, without addressing that behavior, the response to prevention strategies will always be limited and funding for AIDS will need to continue, preventing funding for the development of these countries Reproductive and sexual health as have been defined does not help the cause
The statistics indicate what few officials are willing to admit, that the AIDS epidemic is a crisis of shattered mores, where sexuality is no longer guided by traditional norms but promiscuity. The "safe sex" message does not solve the problem but it increases it since it encourages more promiscuity.
The message is clear - the only way to avoid acquiring HIV through sexual contact is abstinence from sexual involvement or restricting sexual activity to a mutually faithful, monogamous, life- long relationship with a similarly uninfected heterosexual partner. In most cultures and for all recorded history, this relationship is known as marriage.
Towards the Protection of the Family An Sound Economic Choice
Figure 6 Source: Official Statistics for the respective Countries.
Figure 7 * * Source: World Development Report 1998
The evidence seems to suggest that from an economic point of view, the family is very important because: The break down of the family is a symptom of a sick and weak society. Children develop in the best way within a family that is functional, i.e., with his biological parents in a stable marriage. The academic performance of a child is very closely related to the structure of the family in which he lives and this is important for human and social capital. Women and men are better off when their working conditions take into consideration their family. The solution for AIDS which is often made the focus of health policy is found in marriage Every man and woman belongs to a family and clearly, from a point of view of economic development, its stability is necessary for the development to be sustainable
There is a bright side Social order, once disrupted, tends to get remade again, and there are many indications that this is happening today: Families and governments are reevaluating the role that family plays in the economy and in society. Working parents are searching for alternatives to make family and work obligations compatible. There is an overall search for moral principles that could establish some common denominator in an ever-diverse multicultural society. Why? Men by nature are social creatures and the family is the most basic and important manifestation of this sociability.
Recent Government Policies: Some Examples Legislation that supports families vis a vis other types of living styles Programs that support and promote healthy marriages and stable families Changes in family subsidies for children Parental leaves Child care and limits to artificial insemination Promotion and protection of the family as a means to eradicate poverty, especially the feminization of poverty
At the Micro level we also find several initiatives Systems of flexible working hours for men and women (women tend to use it more): Equality of opportunity while keeping the role of equity in mind Working from home or at a distance On-site day-care or other childcare support provided by employers Tenure clock stopped due to maternity Consulting groups: flexibility but no benefits. It creates an interesting dynamic Still there is a need to address the working structure in terms of family - not any type of family, but the natural family - and to keep in mind that, many times, this generates long-term profits not short-term
CONCLUSIONS The family is a necessary good for economic development: it should be promoted and protected by international and national legislation and policy. Children develop in the best way within a family that is functional, i.e., with his biological parents in a stable marriage. The breakdown of the family: damages the economy and the society since human and social capital is reduced and social costs increased.
The treatment of the family within the framework of modern human rights, as captured by the treatment of sexual and reproductive rights, women and children, has harmed the family’s stability. The language of human rights understood as isolated rights, fails to address the organic reality of the family unit. To address this failure, rights should be interpreted as rights that have an inherent hierarchy, are interconnected, and see the person in its whole. Sex-education programs and the media play an important role in advancing this agenda: Parents awareness and involvement are key.
Furthermore, there is no empirical evidence that population control policies would promote sustainable development; rather, evidence suggests the contrary. This is witnessed to by the epidemics of serious diseases such as AIDS, the increase in teenage pregnancy, and STDs. These policies coerce less developed countries to make population control the overriding investment and women are involuntarily reduced to vehicles for carrying out government policy. The most potent evidence for the rational observer is the scientific data, which hold that legislation and policy which support the family are most beneficial
Because of the trend in the use of ‘soft laws’ for the development of domestic policy, UN documents have become very important and their language and ratification should be scrutinized. Furthermore, the use of reservations by countries does not shield their sovereignty in policy any longer Some of the resent reevaluations of family policies in developed countries seem to point in the right direction. The private sector needs to respond to these needs as well. Some good initiatives have been implemented.