Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Is Marriage Worth 'Your' Time?

Look at it this way: consider marriage in logical terms, free of the emotional baggage ('Oh my God!  I'm so in love with you!') and romantic illusions ('I must do the right thing') that stupify men and deprive them of their thinking, their critical faculties.  Critical thought destroys delusions and images and allows you to see things as they really are, to percieve truth.  So with that in mind, consider the following marriage proposal in terms of a 'business proposal':

You are a farmer, one in the latest of a long line of farmers.  Your forefathers have spent their time and effort breeding the finest quality of pear trees.  You are now in your mid twenties and want to leave the home farm and strike out on your own.  Your father has given you a bushel of seeds from his pears for you to sow, the only thing you need now is farmland to sow your crops on.

After searching around for farmland in the local newspaper one afternoon, you go to the pub for lunch.  While you are their a woman approaches you and you strike up conversation.  After a while the conversation turns to your plans for a new farm.  You say you have the seeds and knowhow, but no land.  She says she has the land but no one to work it.  She suggests that the you and her should enter into business.  The idea interests you, and you ask her what the terms of the business deal would be.  She tells you that you would be responsible for the following:

Pay for the set-up costs (the equivalent of a wedding and associated legal costs)
Pay for the equipment (the equivalent of the house, car, furniture etc)
Pay for the daily, monthly and annual farm overheads (the equivalent of the shopping bill, utilities bill etc)
Pay for the crop maintenance (the equivalent of the child rearing costs)

And on top of this she demands that she be able to terminate the contract at any time, without any reason, and without warning.  She also says that once the contract has been terminated, everything that you invested into the business is hers and hers alone.  Finally she says that if the contract is terminated, you are expected to continue to pay for the farms overheads, and if you do not comply with any of these demands then you will be imprisoned for an indefinite period.

Now, even after those demands, would you agree to enter into a business deal with her?  Probably not.  But say for the sake of this hypothetical argument that you did.  Say that you were unfortunately caught up in the emotion of it, the romance of it, and signed the contract.

It's now five years later, and your pear trees have been in the field and are growing fairly well.  But they bother you, there's something not quite right about them: they don't look like pear trees should look like.  They look more like another type of fruit tree.  But you know that you can't raise any complaints against your business partner (the equivalent of questionning her fidelity) because then she might cancel the business contract ('no-fault divorce' you) and then you'd been bankrupt.  So you just put the doubts to the back of your mind and hope for the best.

Ten years have now passed, and your suspect looking pear trees are going to bloom and bear fruit for the first time.  You get up one morning, go into the orchard, and then it all goes wrong.  Figs.  Not pears, but figs.  They're not your seeds, they're not your families seeds.  They are not even from the same genus as you(the equivalent of being cuckolded).  This woman has cheated you and generations of your family out of hardwork.  You've been ripped off.  But knowing this, what can you do?  What options do you have?  You have nothing.  She's holding all the cards.  She can cancel the contract any time she wants (the equivalent of divorcing you), and for no reason at all.  After which you would have to pay for plants and seeds that aren't even yours.  That's a heavier burden than Income Tax, which is effectively what it is: giving money to people you don't know because 'it's the right thing to do'.

So you can see that if marriage were scrutinized in a dispassionate, critical manner, and appraised for it's true worth, and then compared to a business deal, then most businessmen and people would not touch it with a barge pole.  Could you imagine one of the businessmen from 'Dragons Den' agreeing to the proposal?  Could you imagine your local bank manager loaning you the money for the business proposal?  No, probably not.  Marriage, as it stands in the modern world, is not worthy of your time, your effort.  Should the marriage laws be revised (or scrapped altogether if you're an anarchist) then it may be worth a second glance.  But as it stands as of 2013, leave this business deal well alone.  Think more, emote less, use your critical faculties.

[On a related note, Free Northerner has written several moneterty appraisals of sex, sexonomics, here: Financial analysis of sex relationship vs marriage, Economic analysis of children, Economic analysis of casual sex prostitution vs game, An economic analysis of marriage part 1: the cost of the risk of material loss in divorce.]


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