It should have been obvious that polygamy reduced women to the status of commodities, but it wasn’t obvious to Shoshana Grossbard. Give her credit for acknowledging it now. “Polygamy’s many wives don’t capture ‘market value,'” by Daphne Bramham for Postmedia News, December 8 (thanks to Benedict):
VANCOUVER – Economist Shoshana Grossbard admits she was naive when she did her doctoral thesis on polygamy more than 30 years ago at the University of Chicago.
Then, she believed that a simple supply-and-demand analysis would explain the economics of polygamous societies.
Besides, she says, “I thought it was cool to say that polygamy might be advantageous to women and repeat what Gary Becker (her thesis adviser and Nobel laureate) has said.”
Now, having written several books on the economics of marriage, Grossbard says, “I know better.”
If the most basic economic rule is applied, she says women in polygamous societies would have power and value because virtually all polygamous societies are polygynous – meaning that it’s men who have multiple spouses.
Women of marriage age are a rare and highly desirable commodity and should have “increased market value” in economics speak. In practice, they should have their pick of marriage partners.
But they don’t.
Over her years of study, Grossbard has found that far from women having increased value, invariably the male leaders in polygamous societies have institutionalized women into subservience….
No kidding, really?