Monday, July 27, 2009

Criticism from an academic

At last. Some criticism about the content of my paper. It comes from feminist writer, Dr Anne Else, BA Hons, PhD, NZ Order of Merit.
Business Roundtable discovers new contraceptive

I see the Business Roundtable is at it again. They've commissioned a report from one Lindsay Mitchell, who is well known for being a virulent opponent of 'welfare' in general and the DPB in particular. The best way to stop young women - especially young Maori women - getting pregnant is to axe the DPB, she says.

Now I just happen to have been looking up teenage pregnancy statistics recently. Births to teenage women (aged under 20) climbed from 5,315 in 1962 to a high of 9,150 in 1972. That's an increase of 72 percent.

The DPB wasn't introduced until 1973. That was the year teenage births started to fall. By 1982, they had more than halved, to less than 4,500 - well below the 1962 number.

Of course, the number of births is related to the number of teenagers. So let's look at this another way. In the early 1970s, before the DPB, 70 out of every 1,000 female teenagers were having a child. By the mid-1980s, this was down to 30 per 1,000. It stayed between 30 and 35 until the late 1990s, then it trended down again. By 2002, the rate was at its lowest in our recorded history, at 25.6 per 1,000 female teenagers.

That's still high compared with all other developed countries except for the USA and UK. But there's no way you can argue that the DPB is responsible - or that axing it would lower the rate.

Business Roundtable members head up major companies. If this report represents what they consider to be inteligent analysis, it's a bit of a worry, eh.

First, Else's statistics are correct although she could have gone further and looked up the latest figures to find out the teenage birth rate is now back up to 32.9 per 1000. She points out that in the early seventies 70 out of every 1000 female teenagers was having a child. Then she describes how the rate trended down to our lowest rate in recorded history at 25.6 per female in 2002.

A majority of teenage births in the early seventies occurred within a marriage albeit many were shotgun marriages. There were 9,150 teenage births in 1971, 55 percent within marriage. Many ex-nuptial teenage births resulted in adoption which peaked at around this time.

The contraceptive pill became available in the 1960s and abortion in the 70s. Thereafter teenagers with an interest in controlling their fertility were better able to do so. There was every likelihood the teenage birthrate would decrease, as did the general fertility rate, dramatically. This doesn't mean the DPB availability wasn't having any influence.

Looking at the general teenage birth rate alone obscures a great deal. It doesn't tell us about the tenfold likelihood that teenage births will be in the poorest communities when compared to the richest. For unqualified and unskilled girls in poor communities the DPB is an incentive because it pays more than any wage they could hope to command. MSD figures show the average all-up benefit for a sole parent in 2006 was $21,580. It's incentive appeal obviously lessens through the rising deciles as young women's alternatives to the DPB improve. In 2006;

* 65.8 girls per 1000 aged 15-19 gave birth in the most economically deprived areas, classified as decile 10.

* 6.92 per 1000 gave birth in the most affluent areas, or decile one.

Looking at the general teenage birth rate tells us nothing about ethnic differences. In 2000-02 the Maori rate was still up at 70 per 1000 - the same as the general rate in the early 70s. The Pacific rate was 48 and the European rate 22.

As demonstrated, teenage births in the early seventies frequently occurred inside a marriage. Being a feminist Else is opposed to shot-gun marriages. She would prefer the state intervened. Many other teenage births ended up in adoption. Something Else is also strongly opposed to (at least the 'closed' variety). Perhaps she would prefer children stayed with their biological mothers at any cost.

When one considers the indicators for a range of social problems, for example, landing in the Youth Court, coming from an adoptive home is not up there with other factors like being fatherless (top of Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft's list), being born to an adolescent mother, or being moved from one foster home to the next as a result.

I cannot know if stopping lifestyle welfare (what we have now) will reduce the teenage birthrate, particularly that of Maori. The US experience was a decline in African American and Hispanic teenage birth rates from 1990 until 2006 with rises since.

But even if the rate didn't drop, taking babies into the wider family, adoption or whangai, or channelling young mothers into jobs or training where they can combine their parenting responsibilities with work, would be preferable to what we do now.


Norrie said...

When are these PhDs in toilet cleaning including the likes of Dr. (toilet cleaning) Anne Else going to wake up that they have been living a lie in thinking that their qualifications are something worth to boast about, where in fact, theirs are no more than glorified toilet cleaning qualifications. I really mean this, because these areas of academics, one doesn't require a brain to gain a PhD qualification in those areas.

Dr. Anne Else should just stick to what she is good at, and that is toilet cleaning. Leave the research type stuff to those who are involved in it and Lindsey is one of those.

My suggestion to Dr. Bullshit Else, just start producing for the society, something like running a business and stop thinking that you're entitle to the taxpayers pockets. Work for your own and stop advocating for losers of the society to keep sucking off the state's tits welfare. And BTW, Dr. Else, if your qualified ares is a PhD in sociology, anthropology, etc,... then I suggest you remove the Dr, because you know that doing PhDs in these areas don't need a brain. If you have a PhD in science, economics, law, medicine, architecture, etc,..., then it is worth attaching Dr to your name, otherwise, just drop the Dr.

Norrie said...

typo, the comment, it should read:

if your qualified area

Oswald Bastable said...

Barry Crump wrote a wonderful piece of academics in his book 'Bastards I have met'

A book well worth a look for just that piece!

Bryan Spondre said...

"MSD figures show the average all-up benefit for a sole parent with one child is $20,000."

Does this include accommodation e.g. a state flat or would this be in addition to the $20k ? This makes it roughly equivalent to earning minimum wage and paying tax. No doubt a good career option for a teenage girl with no prospects.

Lindsay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lindsay said...

Bryan, I understand it to be the average all inclusive payment - basic benefit, family support (now re-named), accommodation supplement or state house rent and any other allowance. It's about equal to working for the minimum wage full-time. Unlike working for wages, if you have more children, you get a 'pay' rise.

I went back and checked the last official published figure. It was actually $415 weekly in 2006 or $21,580 pa.

Bryan Spondre said...

Thanks Lindsay. So how does that compare to a single mother working for minimum wage age and receiving the Working For Families benefit?

Anonymous said...

Is that the same Anne Else (Miss) who once had a new theory about the brontosaurus?

brian_smaller said...

OK she did some academic criticism of Lindsay's report but she is totally guilty of dismissing it out of hand by the way she wrote "I see the Business Roundtable is at it again. They've commissioned a report from one Lindsay Mitchell, who is well known for being a virulent opponent of 'welfare' in general and the DPB in particular. "

That is her dispassionate academic rigour on display folks.

Lindsay said...

Difficult to say given people's circumstances vary so much; where they live; how many children are dependent and their ages; how much child support they are receiving; the age of the children and what kind of care is required; etc.

Using the IRD calculator, a single mother with one child, receiving the minimum child support, working 37.5 hours at $12 per hour, would receive about $27,700 pa with the WFF tax credits included. But don't quote me on that. A childcare subsidy of $181.50 is available which might or might not cover that expense. The costs of working - transport and clothing, could easily chew up the difference.

The last government tried hard to make work pay and the philosophy was no-one should be worse off when working. But it still didn't see a significant reduction in DPB numbers (which have now risen again to 104,400).

Bryan Spondre said...

"The last government tried hard to make work pay and the philosophy was no-one should be worse off when working."

They clearly didn't try hard enough. Perhaps tax cuts funded by benefit cuts might have been a better idea ?

KG said...

What Norrie and Oswald said. Exactly.
If that's what passes for academic criticism thank God we have people like Lindsay who are interested in the truth and not some ideological pseudo-science.
It's reached the point now where the sisterhood are in a position to simply award PhDs to fellow feminazis regardless of real academic ability--and it shows.

AMV said...

I would be curious to know how many of the critics of Anne Else opinion on the Maori and Welfare report actually read the report before defending it.

Sometimes, people just get too worked up over issues, which leads to poor dialogue and a poor exploration of the facts.