Like every parent, I want my daughter to be happy. Unlike some folks in Singapore, I think my daughter will grow up with a judgement criteria which would be very different than if I were to have a son. A woman is ultimately less lauded for her financial success, but more on a holistic set of criteria which includes the formation of a happy family.
The agreement with my wife is that we'll let Clio decide what she's good at and pursue it without putting too much pressure on her. I see myself as a parent who will invest a lot less in tuition and enrichment activities. My daughter will have to tell me what she wants to do before I will invest in that activity. No attempt will be made to extrinsically motivate her, she has to demonstrate interest and passion on her own....
...but within limits.
As traditionalists, me and my wife want my only daughter to marry well. This makes the situation challenging because she first has to marry, but she also has to marry a great guy. Another words, I can't choose my daughter, but me and my missus will damn well choose our son-in-law. We'd rather she remain single than to marry a flaky jerk. ( The worse combination possible is a disagreeable guy who is not conscientious - and the world is full of such assholes. They need to be spayed)
Now, my daughter is likely to get into a viciously brutal mating market in about 25 years time. I predict that a lot of guys will then be wired to some virtual sex-fantasy world and only a few would emerge from this virtual reality to settle down with someone. The one place where there's going to be some guys who have been filtered based on conscientiousness and economic power are places of higher learning - local universities or top foreign universities.
Let's face it. Top universities will remain temples of conscientiousness and openness to new experiences. Application for a seat will require years of study and passing will require nights doing tutorials and tuning out distractions like console games, etc....
So our current education system has a secondary role of elevating conscientious guys to be picked up by eligible bachelorettes.
Now, here's the deal.
Statistics also show that the way people mate are changing.
In the past, we expect the best looking women to be paired with the highest earning men. Now, the new numbers point to men and women pairing with each other based on similar educational backgrounds. This is called assortative mating.
So the whole world has decided to become more like a Heather Chua fantasy. University graduates marry graduates. A-Grader marry A-Grader, B-Grader marry B-Grader, etc... Marrying outside your education qualifications will become increasing rarer.
So every parent concerned about their daughter's marriage prospects can no longer ignore her educational prospects. The best bet for me to get an awesome son in law, is to put my daughter in an institution of higher learning, a top university gives her the best chances of success.
So we're back to square one.
Parents will wage against each other to put their kids in the best schools. Yes, even those who do not care for academic performance will have to take it seriously if they want to maximize their children's happiness.
Now what is the combined effect of mating within the same educational background ?
Kids will have a pair of parents of similar qualifications.
In Steven Levitt's Think like a Freak, it was proposed that educational outcomes are determined largely by the home environment rather than the school environment. Kid's academic performance is largely determined by the environment created by the parents. Making matters worse, in my previous post, I proposed that conscientious is genetic. Kids inherit their parent's conscientiousness which determines their grit, determination and ability to delay gratification - traits required for scholastic achievement.
Therefore, it is better parents, and not better schools, that create better academic outcomes for children.
If you accept this conclusion, then social strata will form as better parents generate more genetic and financial advantages for their children. A-grade, B-grade and C-grade families will start to form in Singapore society. We will become a caste system.
This ultimately leads to the title of the article.
If mating trends lead to social stratification, then rightfully it is the choosier gender which is the root cause of this phenomenon. In evolutionary psychology,we know that mammalian women have to be choosier than men as they invest more parental effort in their children. Ergo, Singapore women are the root cause of social stratification !
But my reason for writing this article is not to troll Singapore women ( my daughter will grow up to be one. )
The current political trend in Singapore is to talk about social stratification is being caused by the educational system.
I humbly disagree.
I propose that it's better to look at the root cause and examine the structure of the Singapore family, what happens when undergrads ask each other out on a date, and how couples are being formed in various campuses. Kids spend only 1/3 of their time in school but 2/3 of their time at home. Parents play a a big role in academic outcomes.
This leads to shift I propose in the political discussion. Stop looking at class sizes and teacher qualifications which can hurt the tax payer. Stop talking about dismantling the RI brand ( I got good buddies from RI, they are erudite, not elitist ! ). It's a grave mistake to take out RI, parents will invent a new RI in it's place and if the private sector takes over elite education, we'll have worse inequality !
I propose two ideas which we can refine together :
a) Conduct social events between students of different institutions to meet each other.
Heather Chua would be flabbergasted if the next Mobile Apps Development contest pairs RGS students with ITE guys in pair-programming teams ! Universities and polytechnics and have joint Jam and Hops - bright lights, techno music and alcohol... best way to have more couplings.
b) Inheritance tax for rich families which have less than 3 kids.
I call this the Phantom Child taxation. Beyond $2 million Singapore dollars, inheritance taxation will be 66% if the dead family member has one child, 33% if he has 2 kids, and tax-free if he has at least 3 kids. Rich families can adopt kids from poor families to avoid the Phantom Child Tax. This either forces wealth to be spread across generations and places the burden on breeding to the Elites, which I think is cool because they'll be too busy breast-feeding their babies than to plan their next en-bloc sale.