6/CHRONICLESnAmerican GNP grew by about 3 percentnor less in 1986 according to currentnestimates. Almost everyone wouldnlike to see figures slightly higher—sayn4 percent or 5 percent. But manynanalysts feel reasonably comfortablenwith 1986’s lackluster yet apparentlynsolid growth. Unfortunately, much ofnthe growth in our GNP in recent yearsnhas been illusory—as artificial as walnutnveneer on pasteboard. HonestnGNP figures would show a far bleakerneconomic picture.nThe problem is that we are nownmeasuring as GNP “growth” the onetimeneffect of the movement of womenninto the workplace. Services—ncooking, child care, sewing, cleaningn—that women used to provide “free”nfor their families are now bought andnpaid for. As a result, they are countednfor the first time in our GNP. In 1986,nthe GNP included approximately $5nbillion paid to the nation’s 1.6 millionnehild-eare workers. Just a decade ago,nthe amount spent on child care wasnalmost negligible, though there werenactually more children being eared fornin American homes. Similarly, then1984 GNP included $124 billion innrestaurant meals, up dramatically fromnjust $44 billion in 1974, with fast-foodnsales making up most of the increase.nBut are we really a wealthier nationnbecause we now eat at McDonald’sninstead of at home and pay to have ournchildren cared for?nAnalysts admit that America’sn”smokestack” industries have declinednsteeply in recent years. In 1982, for thenfirst time, more Americans were employednin service industries than innmanufacturing. In its 1986 survey ofnU.S. industry. Business Week worriednabout “the decline in overall manufacturingnactivity.” “Are we going to retainna manufacturing base?” wonderednCULTURAL REVOLUTIONSnone business executive interviewed bynBW editors. Nearly two million Americannmanufacturing jobs have disappearednsince 1979, and in many formerlynprosperous steel-mill towns,nhundreds line up to get jobs deliveringnmail or selling groceries.nBut some economists argue that thenrapid growth of America’s “service industries”nhas more than made up fornthe slide in heavy industry. After all,nthe GNP is still going up, isn’t it?nSyndicated columnist Donald Lambronparticularly hails the movement ofnwomen entrepreneurs into the “fastestgrowingnsector” of our economy. Butnthe replacement of blue-collar jobsnwith pink-collar positions is changingnour economy in troubling ways. Fornone thing, the female-headed entrepreneurialnfirms described by Lambrontypically provide services or consumernluxuries — nanny services, for instance,nor “home-style” pies and cookiesnor clever toys — that we wouldnprobably do without during an economicndownturn.nAnd the most recent figures fromnthe U.S. Department of Commercensuggest that most women are not upand-comingnentrepreneurs. Instead,nthe occupations dominated by womenn— secretarial, nursing, child care,nsales, and elementary education—arenmostly service-oriented and usuallynpoorly paid. As the female fraction ofnthe nation’s workforce climbed fromn35 percent in 1960 to 44 percent inn1985, the services component of ournGNP made a remarkably parallel jumpnof 38 percent to 49 percent.nSome observers are also beginningnto worry about the long-term economicneflFeets of a birthrate that has fallennwell below the Zero PopulationnGrowth (ZPG) level as more and morenwomen have left the home. A GNPnnnthat rises off the chart may provide nonstaying power for a nation that mustnimport not only its steel but also itsnbabies.nWriting recently in the WashingtonnPost, the University of Maryland economistnFrank Levy argued that “for thenpast decade and longer, Americansnhave been living an illusion of increasingnprosperity.” Levy believes that wenhave maintained that illusion throughnunprecedented social realignments:n”more women working; postponementnof marriage among the young; lownbirthrates; and a great willingness . . .nto take on debt.” Now, says Levy,n”most of the choices are exhausted,”nand we have created a debt-laden serviceneconomy in which “normal productivityngrowth is difiicult.”nAmerican women can only makenone massive movement out of thenhome into the workplace. Within thennext few years, that movement will benvirtually complete. After that, the athomenmeal and the at-home preschoolernwill be rarities, and it will benimpossible to pump up our GNP anynmore by building more fast-food restaurantsnand day-care centers. Thentraditional functions of the home willnlargely have been replaced by servicenindustries. When the structural weaknessesnin our economy start pokingnthrough, we will no longer be able tonhide the problem by putting morenhousewives to work.n—Bryce ChristensennAt-hrge representation has become anmajor civil rights issue in recent years,none that is not likely to go away. Onlyndays after a U.S. District Gourt rulednSpringfield, Illinois, in violation of thenFederal Voting Rights Act, civil rightsnactivists in Danville (IL) filed suit. Atn