dropped by the Allies in favor of Tito,nin a bid to mollify Stalin and ensure an”stable” Balkans. American credits andnaid keep pouring into Yugoslavia, severalnbillion dollars per annum, regardlessnof widespread arrests, intimidation,nand persecution of all Yugoslavs notneager to toe the party line.nTo Yugoslavs, grown cynical afternYalta and the 40 years of their “differentnCommunism,” what is happeningn(or not happening, in the case of thenWest) smacks suspiciously of the winksnand smiles of a new internationalnagreement (even if tacit) that nothingnwill be permitted to change in theirncondition, regardless of what they do.nWestern democracies, in their policyntoward Yugoslavia, are missing an opportunitynto effect a historic change —nthe first-time-ever rollback of a Communistndictatorship in a crucial strategicnarea. (MS)nWall Street dominates the headlines,nbut the nation’s long-term economicnfuture may depend not on the DownJones Index but on the marriage rate.nForget Black Monday. More farsightednanalysts now worry about all of thengray Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays,nwhen wedding bells are silent butndivorce courts echo to the falling gavel.nSince 1970, the American marriagenrate has dropped 30 percent while thendivorce rate has climbed 50 percent.nThe illegitimacy rate has doublednwhile more than one million Americannchildren now witness their parents’ndivorce each year.nAdmittedly, economists haven’t paidnmuch attention to the state of matrimonynin the past. But a study recentlynconducted at Cornell University andnthe University of Utah shows whynthey’re starting to. Writing in ThenJournal of Consumer Affairs, researchersnnoted that female-headed householdsnrespond far less effectively tonmarket events than do husband-wifenhouseholds. “As the proportion ofnfemale-headed households rises in thisncountry,” they warn, “there should bena general decline in the demand fornhousehold assets.”nThe country could suffer other seriousneconomic dislocations because ofnthe national retreat from marriage. AdvertisingnAge recently fretted aboutnhow markets will soon dwindle fornmany industries because of fallingnbirthrates. Military leaders confront andifferent but related problem: holdingndown recruitment costs as the numbernof available young men declines. Demographersngenerally trace the “birthndearth” in America and Europe tonfewer and less-stable marriages. Stanfordnsociologist Kingsley Davis hasneven suggested that further erosion ofnmarriage may mean that “industrialnsocieties will not survive.”nOver 10 million children—the victimsnof America’s turn againstnmarriage — now live in one-parentnhomes, and more than one third ofnthem live below the official povertynline; many more live perilously close.nCompared to children from intact families,nchildren of one-parent householdsnare more likely to fail in school,nto be involved in crime (as both victimsnand perpetrators), and to depend uponnwelfare as adults. Because childrennraised in one-parent homes typicallyndo not form successful marriages, thendismal pattern reproduces itselfnEconomic perils of another sortnloom ahead as a declining number ofnyouthful workers must pay for thenhealth benefits for a growing numbernof unmarried elderly. Numerous studiesnhave shown that — compared tonmarried people — unmarried peoplensuffer from worse health and requirenlonger hospitalization for the same diseases.nBut how to reverse the trend awaynfrom marriage? Government leadersncannot legislate cultural attitudes, butnthey can rethink a number of thenantimarital policies adopted in recentndecades. Simply to decide that encouragingnmarriage is a national prioritynwould reshape public discussion ofnmany issues.nTax policy provides an excellentnexample. Largely because of groundlessnfears about a “population bomb”nduring the 1960’s and 1970’s, taxnburdens once borne by the single andnchildless were deliberately shifted ontonmarried couples with children. ThenTax Reform Act of 1986 only pardynnncorrected this injustice. In order tonhelp marriages with children, policymakersncould double the personal exemptionnto $4,000 for dependent children,nstill leaving the exemption wellnbelow its inflation-adjusted 1948 value.nCurrent debates over welfare reformnmight also be put onto a different tracknif marriage-formation were identifiednas an objective. Social historian MarisnVinovskis of the University of Michigannhas even proposed subsidizingnteen marriage as a way of stopping thenwelfare-illegitimacy cycle. While thenproposal does raise questions aboutngovernment entanglement in privatenlife, the idea may have merit, particularlynif linked to some kind of “affirmativenaction” program for young fathers.nFinally, despite contrary politicalnpressures, it may be necessary to confrontnthe antimarital consequencesnof the government’s experiments innsex-role engineering over the pastntwo decades. Whatever the benefits fornindividual women, the legal warnagainst “sexism” has probably hurtnmarriage, since most sociologists agreenthat while traditional sex roles facilitatenmarriage, aggressively equalized onesndo not. Indeed, raising the depressednmarriage rate within the black communitynmay require programs specificallyndesigned to help black men assumentraditional breadwinning roles. (BC)nIn the forthcoming issue ofnChronicles:nHomage to T.S, Eliotn”Poetry returns to epic. As in all epic, thenpoem tells a story transfigured by myth.nFurthermore, it’s an epic that includes thenpresent age; which is why it is also a film,na news report, a chronicle. . . .nSymbolism had expelled history from thenpoem; with The Waste Land the poemnreturns to historic and concrete time.nTime: man as the incarnation of time andnthe conscience of history.”n— from “Ceremonies in thenCatacombs”nby Octavio PaznMARCH 1988 / 5n