The family as an economic unit

The Power of the Family


"The structure of family relationships influences economic behavior and attitudes. We define our measure of family ties using individual responses from the World Value Survey regarding the role of the family and the love and respect that children need to have for their parents for over 70 countries. We show that strong family ties imply more reliance on the family as an economic unit which provides goods and services and less on the market and on the government for social insurance. With strong family ties home production is higher, labor force participation of women and youngsters, and geographical mobility, lower. Families are larger (higher fertility and higher family size) with strong family ties, which is consistent with the idea of the family as an important economic unit. We present evidence on cross country regressions. To assess causality we look at the behavior of second generation immigrants in the US and we employ a variable based on the grammatical rule of pronoun drop as an instrument for family ties. Our results overall indicate a significant influence of the strength of family ties on economic outcomes"

The report  does not contain much by way of new revelations.Look at the Indian family system which speaks of the economic advantages of sticking together as a family unit .In India you still find joint families with a patriarchal head and the individual brothers and their families living together and doing business together.The family ties are very strong and besides the obvious economic advantages the family also takes care of the weaklings and the people who have retired and can no longer contribute to the income.The family system also takes care of unforeseen contingencies like death ,sickness, incapacitation etc.The most important use of the family is the pooling of skills that takes place in the family business.This is more applicable in the case of the Marwari bania families where a younger brother who is skilled in production automatically takes care of production while a brother who is better in liaison work and public relations takes up that work , the whole thing being an example of division of labour .

I can’t figure out what they mean by the grammatical rule of pronoun drop used to gauge the depth of the family ties.

Marriage is not good for health;grazing goats is better

Marriage is not good for health;grazing goats is better
Arguing too much is injurious to health,now or later.

The 116 years old goatherd from Ukraine says :

“People that were
not married like me live longer. People who get married just argue all
the time, and that’s not good for your health.

“I believe that’s why I have lived so long, that and the fact I have never been curious.

“People who know too much always come to a nasty end. Better to stay stupid and not wonder too much about anything.””

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There is something in us which makes us believe that we belong to a particular class of people.This is ingrained within us probably because we have this habit of classifying things and unless we know we belong to a particular class we do not feel secure enough. By classifying ourselves we become predictable and our behavior assumes lack of rough edges and absence of those wonderfully delicious angularities arising out of not belonging. You know in my transactions with people I always look for the people lumped together by way of congenital classes or societal divisions behaving as though they belonged together. I do not know why, while I deal with two women I believe that both of them are together in this thing and that is, a secret bond exists between them which is apart from me and away from me. These are a secret society and a common fate binds them together excluding me from that circle. When I see two economically less privileged people dealing with me I suspect there is something between them which binds them together and I become their common foe. When I see my gardener talking to my driver outside of my transactions I begin to feel they are actually conspiring against a common enemy ,that is me. That is ridiculous and anybody who listens to this will say I am a dirty capitalist pig who is imagining things out of a class hatred borne out of an insecurity that their belongingness is supposed to evoke in me.Actually that is not the real thing .In point of fact I want those guys to stick together and my uneasiness about them is their not sticking together .I expect them to belong to the class in which my mind has slotted them in the background of their own social or intellectual class.I know that the script is already written and precious little will evolve out of the transactions apart from the most banal events in the whole drama . But the burden is so much on the mind and why the hell am I responsible for this -is a certain doubt that wracks my mind.Actually I want my microcosm to exist the way I have designed it, not the way it will evolve through several unconnected events . That means the problem lies essentially with me , my microcosm or the reflection of the world within me. I want everything to fall into place and it suits me to have these guys to belong together in a strange silky bond of friendship

Coming back to the need to belong , it bothers me no end not to belong but at the same time it bothers me equally to belong where everybody belongs. I want everything to fall into a category purely for ontology purposes because if I come across a strange thing which does not fall into a class I feel my comprehension challenged.

Why do entire cilvilisations lie buried under tons of the earth?

An interesting doubt which has always arisen in me whenever I hear of archaeological excavations like Mohenjodaro  is why  these  civilisations always lie buried under 10 to 20 feet deep  earth levels. I am pleasantly surprised to see this question being addressed by Cecil Adams in Straight Dope. Of course one major reason for this stuff remaining buried is the fact of its actually having been buried under a landslide or a flood or an earthquake or some other natural disaster.Shifting desert sand could be an example like the great Egyptian temple at Abu Simbel or the Sphinx. More important is the nature of the human settlement . The settlement usually takes place near the source of water or some other facilitatory factor and the place gets deserted as soon as such a factor disappears.Or may be , due to war or pestilence. Shoddy construction could be one of the reasons for the entire settlement to disappear as people find it convenient to leave the collapsed construction and go elsewhere.

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Dieing for nothing

A blogger(Howard Park in ‘Stumble Upon’) has made  the following comment ,very apt, on the American misadventure in Iraq

"The sad truth is that the first, the last, and all of the soldiers killed in Iraq have died for nothing. "Nothing" is the only word that adequately describes the amount of realistic thought that went into the invasion. "Nothing" is what our country will get out of this colossal waste of blood and treasure. Actually, "less than nothing" is more accurate: our enemies have been strengthened beyond their wildest dreams, our allies (or should I say our former allies) have been weakened and angered to the point that they no longer want to cooperate with us, and the general mayhem and distraction have allowed Osama bin Laden and Kim Jong-Il to go on giving us the middle finger with impunity for the last four years. The only Americans who have gained from all of this are the "defense" contractors who were shrewd enough to cultivate such close personal and financial relationships with Bush and Cheney. For them, the occupation of Iraq is like a giant funnel leading directly from the pockets of the American taxpayers into their own. Perhaps that’s why Bush is so dead-set on staying in Iraq."

  • It is a chilling truth that for a handful of silver the lives of so many have been considered as expendable.The Americans have proved themselves to be utterly incompetent in protecting the lives of their own people.They have been mute spectators to the ghastly tragedy and all that they did was to laugh at the oddities of Bush and went on parading one after the excuse for the continued foolhardiness in Iraq even when the body bags were arriving.Do we now come to the conclusion that the  signs of decadence of America have started setting in ?

It is not the Li’s that wear most pants in China

In China it is not the Li’s and Tong’s that wear most pants
The Wangs are more in number, both in uncles and aunts.

(A new study has debunked the notion that Li is China’s most popular surname.

A 2006 survey of 296 million people in 1,100 counties and cities by
the Chinese Academy of Sciences found that Li led the ranks of family
names with about 7.4 per cent of the population.

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The rate of taxation should be higher depending upon the girth of the stomachs

“MPs who attend too many long lunches are being targeted by a planned fat tax in Romania. But only those who put on 50kg – nearly eight stone – during their time in office would have to pay up.Opposition Greater Romania Party MP Corneliu Bichinet put forward the plan after seeing colleagues pile on the pounds with endless free lunches.His proposal involves all politicians being weighed at the start and end of their tenure.Any that have put on more than 50kg would be judged guilty of cashing in on their position and would have to pay fines.”