Economics, Literature and Scepticism

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I am a PhD student in Economics. I am originally from South Africa and plan to return there after my PhD. I completed my M. Comm in Economics and my MA In Creative Writing (Poetry) at the University of Cape Town, where I worked as a lecturer before starting my PhD.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sex/Partner Markets

Posted by Simon Halliday | Wednesday, November 26, 2008 | Category: , |

Two items on the agenda. First, the UK has introduced new legislation preventing 'forced' marriages. One would have thought that marriage in the UK would have had to be voluntary, but supposedly this was not the case - especially for families of Middle Eastern heritage. The question is, will this result in fewer marriages in those groups at which the legislation is targeted? Will it result in more antipathy towards the British Government from targeted groups because of them believing the legislation to be Anti-Islamist? I hope that antipathy doesn't rise as a consequence, but I can't see how it won't. I also don't see it dramatically altering the lives of many in the near future, the reason being that it would require intervention from someone who is a) aware of the rights of the partner but who is not complicit with the agreement which is unlikely, or b) the partner who is being forced into the marriage to be aware of their freedoms in the UK and to elect to abandon family, culture, etc in order to get out of the marriage. I am not convinced that this will happen as much as we might like to think it would.

Lastly, are there unintended consequences? For example, Man1, Man2 and Woman 1. Man 1 marries Woman 1 and it is a freely chosen arrangement, no forcing. Man 2 is jealous because he wanted Woman 1 and now lodges charges of forced marriage against Man 1. Will this, or permutations of this, occur? I hope not, but I am not convinced that it won't.

Note though that my personal stance is that the legislation is necessary to protect women's rights.


Second item on the agenda: supposedly there have been responses by high income individuals the likes of which we might not have considered. Many who have mistresses, or even possibly high paid courtesans, are considering major cutbacks in their spending or abandoning their mistresses entirely. Anyway, what I realised was how this was all from a man's perspective. Do high paid female professionals not seek young virile men and support them with their large paychecks? One, the sample is problematic because there are probably dramatically more men in these high paid jobs because of under-representation of women in those high paid positions, as is still the case in the US. Moreover, and not to diminish the sexuality of women in any way, it would not surprise me if the demand by men, in general, for such services is probably significantly higher than it is for women. Moral of the story? High paid courtesans and mistresses (who are not paid, but who are bought gifts, have their apartments paid for, etc) are luxury goods - a shock to income reduces demand.


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