Work in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), if it’s available, is almost literally backbreaking. So bleak is economic life in this country, ranked 186th out of 187 in terms of human development, that even college grads can be found earning a meager living selling omelets roadside. Those who can’t walk are reduced to moving about with flip flops, on their hands. Casual alcoholism is the norm in this most collapsed of countries in which life expectancy averages out to 49 years.
There is a "grave ill" supposedly infecting America: the decline of the working male.Unsurprisingly, DRC citizens are desperate to get to Europe for the abundant economic opportunity that exists there; opportunity that spoiled Americans often superciliously dismiss as subpar in op-eds full of fancy words like “Eurosclerosis.” Apparently, Congolese who almost literally have nothing didn’t get the memo about Europe’s destitution.
Closer to the US, Americans are more and more familiar with the tragic stories emanating from increasingly socialist Venezuela. They read about parents who scour garbage cans all day in search of discarded food for their emaciated children. Even closer to the US is Haiti, in which it’s no longer news to report the horrid living that defines the average Haitian’s existence. No doubt most Venezuelans and Haitians view the US as the Promised Land in much the same way that Congolese yearn for the opportunity to improve their lives in Europe.
Born into Success
All of the above brings us to the popular – and very first-world – narrative that is increasingly being passed around within the US commentariat about the “grave ill” supposedly infecting America: the decline of the working male. Most associated with this naïve view is Men Without Work author Nicholas Eberstadt, who writes that the supposed “collapse of work for men” has cast them “into the role of dependents” while “encouraging sloth, idleness, and vices perhaps more insidious.”
The only reasonable conclusion to this ridiculous idea is to rejoice in what a stunningly rich country the US has become such that we can possess the time and carelessness to bemoan what is an illusion: the depressed existence of the American male.
Back in reality, American males are the last people to rate our compassion. Simply look at the rest of the world, and not just devastated countries like the DRC, Venezuela, and Haiti. Indeed, it’s in the most developed non-US countries that the mildly sentient are reminded of just how good Americans of all stripes have it. We know this because the rest of the non-English speaking world is working feverishly to learn – you guessed it – English. They do so because English, not Mandarin, is the global language of commerce. Knowing English is a skill that, when possessed by foreigners, amounts to a fast ticket to good jobs given the premium that global employers place on knowing the language of business.
Of course, American males don’t have to worry about learning English. This is their automatic inheritance that comes with being born in the richest, most opportunity-laden country on earth.
Only in America are Americans an object of pity.To the above, some will perhaps reply that while the US remains the world’s richest country, it’s no longer the land of opportunity; hence “men without work.” It’s an interesting response, but if anyone wants an answer as to the validity of a US without opportunity, they need only contemplate the number of foreign men (hundreds of millions, billions?) who would move here instantaneously in order to work where American men apparently don't.
If the reply is that most would go to China, think again. Per capita income in Shanghai, China's richest city, is $7,000. Meanwhile, per capita income in Aliquippa, PA, one of America's more depressed cities, is over $20,000.
Rest assured that, if legal, many would move to the US in a heartbeat, and sloth wouldn't define their existence. This, of course, ignores the many who risk their lives each year to sneak into the United States, not to mention all those who accept indentured servitude in order to finance their passage to American abundance.
You might also conduct a Google search to find out which country receives the most foreign investment annually (investment being the source of all job creation), or another search of the most valuable non-US companies in the world. With the highest-valued global companies, you’ll find that, more often than not, you’re valuable precisely because they have a big presence in the largest market in the world: the US. Only in America are Americans an object of pity.
And then let’s not forget that it’s not just their inheritance of the English language that so benefits American males, or even their access to abundant federal funding should they want to extend their education beyond high school. While males are an essential part of the procreation process, they don’t, quite unlike females, have to carry the baby, nor do they have any substantial recovery time once the baby is among the living.
In short, males can participate in reproduction without facing any non-voluntary missed time at work; the missed time is a not-insignificant factor in the male/female wage gap according to Sabrina Schaeffer, executive director of the Independent Women’s Forum.
"Neutered" by Modern America? No
Others who should know better claim that men have been neutered in modern America, apparently thanks to feminism that has rendered women less economically dependent on them, college education that supposedly belittles the historical role of the male, and government programs that allegedly create incentives for men to be absent. One pundit observed that “many boys no longer find male affirmation in school or in the labor force.”
If American men can't find a reason to work and live honorably, hundreds of millions of males around the world will gladly trade places with them.The above narrative is informed by supposed societal influencers who sap allegedly prostrate males of their vitality through their persistent assertions “that male success is somehow illegitimate, a product of bias and conspiracy, and that in a gender-neutral environment, women would equal men in all elevated or conventionally male roles.”
Oh, that’s right, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Jeff Bezos, and Derek Jeter curl up into the fetal position each night, whimpering about how societal norms have robbed them of their desire – or reason – to do their best.
By this illogic, American men wouldn’t presently be thriving in professions of all kinds: food, wine, sports, investment banking, venture capital, politics, etc. Somehow the magazines, newspapers, movies, and television shows that regularly chronicle the great achievements of American men missed how "real America" despises them. Were the very male Brady and Jeter dateless before finally finding women to marry, who were willing to look past their flawed pursuit of achievement?
Sorry, but if American men can’t find a reason to work and live honorably in what is the most prosperous and opportunity-filled country in the world, hundreds of millions of males not lucky enough to be here will gladly trade places with them, and will do so even if entrance into the US comes with the ironclad assurance of no access to any kind of safety net. In short, the alleged crisis of American “men without work” quite simply isn’t. This latest malady to afflict the United States is a certain sign that the US is so rich that it must find problems to invent as opposed to solving real ones.
Republished from Forbes.com