The other day I listened to Joe Rogan’s most recent interview with Jordan Peterson while doing some chores. I did not find it overly interesting, but one remark stood out. Peterson claims that the link between women’s liberation and prosperity “seems causal”, i.e. the more a society “liberates” women from their child-bearing duties, the more prosperous a society gets.
Being a social scientist, Peterson can be forgiven for confusing causation with correlations. On that metric alone you can invalidate essentially all of the social sciences, psychology included. Sure, Jordan Peterson can’t offend the mainstream too much. He’s basically controlled opposition. He says a few mildly controversial things, at least that is what you would think if you are a shitlib. If you have a more conservative bent, then Jordan Peterson strikes you as rather left-leaning. View him from this angle, and a lot of his statements make a lot more sense.
So, let’s talk about economic prosperity and women’s liberation, and why it absolutely cannot be causal. This issue is so clear-cut that it is laughable to suggest the opposite. Go back in history and look at the societies that have liberated their women. I’ll give you a hint: the most prosperous societies were first. Thus, women’s liberation happened after prosperity was achieved, not the other way round. At this point, we are already done, but let’s just keep going for a little bit.
In order to claim that women’s liberation causes economic prosperity, you would have to observe countries that become prosperous after liberating their women. Ideally, you should have two sets of countries of comparable economic capabilities: one does not “liberate” their women, while the other does. If the former outpaces the latter, you would have supported your claim.
It would also be misleading to look at GDP indicators and point out to figures of GDP growth after women’s “liberation” because it is quite likely that economic growth would be even higher without forced diversity hiring and gender quotas in industry. I’m tempted to believe that this is indeed the case. Anybody who does work of a quantitative nature should be familiar with that kind of reasoning. If you are not, then you’ve been poorly trained. Also, if you come across work in which people happily postulate causalities without providing convincing proof, feel free to dismiss it outright. You’ll be justified in doing so much more often than not.
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