Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Produce of Polygyny

What does polygyny produce? Is it bare branches or is it low-hanging fruit?

Jonathan Rauch writing in Reason, "One Man, Many Wives, Big Problems: The social consequences of polygamy are bigger than you think", puts himself in the shoes of the man who can't find a wife because some men have several wives. That man is classified as a bare branch: no fruit of his loins.

Rauch even suggests, darkly, that polygyny produces bitter lonelyboys who ripen into Jihadists. Perhaps. Perhaps he should wonder what he is implying about the rage of black women in the U.S. whose most likelies are behind bars.

As we have posted on before, Tim Harford (Undercover Economist) takes a look at polygyny from the perspective of the woman. When one guy can marry several Anna Nicole Smiths, that leaves lots of marriageable guys for the remaining women. Looked at through the lens of supply and demand, polygyny is good for the disstaff side.

Can what is good for half of humankind be bad for society as a whole? I suggest Rauch at least give this some thought.

Probably what polygynous societies do produce on the male side is the same thing single gender prisons produce. Seed that falls on fallow ground.

Via: Fark, of course.

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6 Comments:

Blogger secretdubai said...

What a dearth of brides usually leads to is delinquency among young working class males and increases in rape and sexual assault.

And in India, where the imbalance is more due to female foeticide than polygny (among Hindus of course) it is leading to a resurgence of polyandry in rural areas where there are virtually no women left to go around.

10:22 PM  
Blogger secretdubai said...

And this:

The women whose potential partners have had their ranks thinned by prison are less likely to marry, and when they do marry, are likely to marry a man less educated than they are. Meanwhile, the remaining men, finding a surfeit of marriage partners, suddenly seem in no hurry to marry. And why would they?

is surely more pertinent for the fact that either black american women are more educated generally than their male counterparts, or educated black males are going to prison.

Which is it and why?

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anomolous said...

Anyone know if these sex ratios listed for the UAE are real, or if there must be some sort of statistical mistake leading to such an excess number of adult men. (or maybe it is caused by imported laborers, or somesuch?).

12:18 AM  
Blogger John B. Chilton said...

The age pyramid in the UAE is one of the most imbalanced, if not the most, in the world because over 75% of the population is ex pat, the vast majority on work visas (or family members of) and many of those workers elect to come without family, or if they are low income are not permitted to bring family when they _choose_ to come to the UAE. And most of those workers are men, hence the gender imbalance.

Which goes to SD's observation but opposite - those most likely to rape someone of the opposite gender do not happen to been ex pats. Of course ex pats are subject to much higher penalties for rape with deportation tacked on the end. Equal treatment under the law? - Not.

7:36 AM  
Anonymous Anomolous said...

But temporary workers probably wouldn't explain the discrepency of 2.69 men for every woman at the 65+ age bracket, would it?

7:20 PM  
Blogger John B. Chilton said...

Factors that could explain greater number of men than women in over 65 bracket:

1. In some job categories ex pats can and do work beyond 65. Those are virtually all males. Often divorced or living separately from family back home as with younger workers as well.

2. Some ex pats are allowed to stay in the country during their golden years because they've been around since the 60s and 70s and essentially been made honorary citizens for long service to the sheiks. The family attachments of these men a like those in group 2.

3. In the cohort of national women of that age it is common to have many children. That means that cohort has a disproportionate share of women that did not survive the childbearing years. Probably giving birth at home was not uncommon in that cohort; an addtional risk factor.

5:04 AM  

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