17 June 2007

Just another ideologically motivated assumption

Belabouring, for once, an earlier point.

Chris Dillow seems to think that increasing affluence is a principal cause of rising divorce rates.

... economic growth raises people's aspirations - it encourages the belief that you can have more, "because you're worth it." This in turn creates dissatisfaction, with the result that a wife with a mediocre spouse is less likely to stand by her man.
And, judging by the comments to my earlier post, James and Jeremy both seem to agree with him.

But where is the evidence, please?

1907 middle class: (a) fairly wealthy (servants, handmade furniture, private carriage), (b) attitude to divorce: conservative, (c) low divorce rate.

2007 middle class: (a) fairly wealthy (no servants, fancy holidays, two cars), (b) attitude to divorce: liberal, (c) high divorce rate.

Now this 'data' is not meant to prove anything. But to give some basis to the idea of a wealth-and-family-breakdown link you would have to show a correlation between affluence and divorce, having somehow stripped out the factor of changing social attitudes. Could I have a link to such research please? Because without it, this is just an opinion. And opinions, according to Chris, are "just worthless".