I take this is essay in Foreign Policy, via, on the imminent “death of macho,” as mostly another set-up to establish the ever-present victimization of the most persecuted sub-species in the history of the world as seen through the prism of the last 2000 months: the white male. If it can be established to a reasonable doubt that the era of patriarchal hegemony is over, then the ground work can begin to rehabilitate, if not re-establish, its dominance.
Most titans of finance, captains of industry, even ‘fishers of men’ have sought to identify with the working man. Our bizarre allergy to elitism itself originated in what is perceived, from above, as the upward insecurities of the blue collar man, even though this phenomena resembles more a refusal to demean one’s position and accept certain peers, than any contempt for learning or the finer things. Still, the shift from an industrial- to an information-economy, while I might cheer the re-kindled emphasis on the mining of words, does appear to be a leveler from both directions, as the unwanted skills one group disdained and the other couldn’t afford begin to pile toward the center of the plate as the new source of growth and progress.
For several years now it has been an established fact that, as behavioral finance economists Brad Barber and Terrance Odean memorably demonstrated in 2001, of all the factors that might correlate with overconfident investment in financial markets—age, marital status, and the like—the most obvious culprit was having a Y chromosome. And now it turns out that not only did the macho men of the heavily male-dominated global finance sector create the conditions for global economic collapse, but they were aided and abetted by their mostly male counterparts in government whose policies, whether consciously or not, acted to artificially prop up macho.
Fine. I’m not going to disturb children fighting dragons with paper swords. But these kinds of built-environments, where fields of straw men bleed seamlessly into subdivided new attacks on old resentments, are sprinkled with acknowledgements of collapse and economic re-alignment. And there, we should welcome the cover fire, even if it is just a sound effect-mimic from the mouths of babes.
How will we shift the labor force, from the chairman’s suite to the break-truck, from burning things to making things? What does that even mean? It’s not just green, of course, but a whole slew of implications about all the things we’ve built society on that we’ve got to stop doing. And yet, people will still need jobs – more to the point, people will need education, healthcare and the raft of other social services that we have always needed but which been downgraded on the payscale and prestige-o-meter to the point where we ignored them and THAT became as much of an explanation for our deplorable state of waste and natural illiteracy as much as the machinations of a single gender.
So, godspeed the death of macho, if that’s going help facilitate the shift. But I would fear, from the straw sticking out of his sad, thread-bare Zegna, that reports of its death are indeed an exaggeration.