Re: Social Problems (was Social Problems--Part A)

Charles Cairns (
Mon, 23 Feb 1998 20:02:53 -0500

On Monday, February 23, 1998 10:24 AM Chuck Vandergraaf wrote re polyandry:

>Interesting observation, "polyandry would certainly offer an interesting
>solution." Presumably, in the "olden days," polygamy was an expression
>of wealth as only the rich could afford this type of arrangement (e.g.
>Solomon). Would polyandry eventually become an expressing of poverty
>(i.e. low sperm count)?

I would guess that if polygyny and polyandry could exist in the same
community (I don't think they can), that there would be an observable
stratification in which at one end polygyny was practiced by the wealthy,
and at the other end polyandry was practiced by the poor, a necessity forced
upon them by their poverty (ie, two working males to support one family).
(As an aside, it would appear that polygamy in Paul's day was not confined
to the rich, since it was common enough in the early Church for him to
comment on it.)

My sperm count idea was offered as a modest distraction, since I doubt,
except in the few cases observed by Glenn, that the possessive nature of
healthy males in a healthy society would permit it. However, assuming male
sperm counts decreased across the population to the point that only a very
small percentage of men could reliably produce children, we might witness a
matriarchal society with male concubines.

Just thinking out loud.