by Clyde Verner
Distribution of Progeny
There was a time when the reality of economic dependence rewarded women who behaved submissively. Those times are fading with the rising economic independence of women.
The moral corruption of both men and women is not due to evil males and seductive females, but to a power system that rewards both parties for certain behaviors. This sort of bartering for favors goes on wherever someone has something that another wants. The success of the system depends on both sides having something with which to barter.
Man was once the financial provider for his family. Woman enjoyed these benefits, and provided for the man's needs. A woman had nothing to gain from a man who had no desire for sex or progeny. Anything that enhanced his desire enhanced the value of her goods. If pornography actually stimulated demand, it might even be seen as something which empowers women.
Instead, masturbating to pornography simply drains a man of energy he might otherwise expend chasing a mate. The harsh realities of sexual economics may contribute to the discomfort many women feel when viewing pornography. It is cheap sex, and it competes with what she has to offer. Competition always drives prices down.
Anything that took resources away from the sexual barter system was branded by the system as an unnatural perversion. Other sex objects (ones such as same sex, child, beast, or even the owner's hand) were taboo because they reduced the value of the woman's goods. Of course, these competing sexual sources all failed to offer men progeny.
Now another set of perversions has come along to disrupt traditional sexual economics: Both mandated child-support and the freedom to take jobs make women financially independent. Like pornography and masturbation, these offer competition to the barter system's goods. Modern society now competes with the male by offering women an alternate source of financial support.
A woman who doesn't need a man for money must look at what else he has to offer (sex, progeny). Companionship and sex don't require an opposite-sex partner, so that just leaves progeny. The same can be said for men's need of women.
Anyone who takes a look at what is happening with men's issues right now can see that the bulk of the discussion is not about women and sex, it is about progeny. Once you take away the financial side of the exchange mechanism, and once the system allows other sexual outlets to coexist, all that is left is progeny.
There is still a demand for progeny, as the current men's-issue furor demonstrates. But it doesn't take an economist to see the lack of economic utility in the new situation: You can't have a barter system where there is only one commodity. If progeny is the only desired commodity, who will provide it?
In this dilemma lies both the beauty and the fragility of the new system. We can only have our mutually desired commodity through cooperation. The old barter system has been undermined by a new social order which is providing women with a parallel source of money. No longer needing a man to support her, a woman can live, and live well, without men.
Men meanwhile have found that the new system provides ample parallel sources of sex. Men can live, and live well, without women. At last, we are all free of our need for each other! Is it heaven, or is it hell?
Both men and women still have a desire for progeny. They can work together to produce it. So far so good. But whose is it once it's been made?
We can talk all day about how children are not property and should not be treated as such, but the fact is the current system treats children as property to be "placed" with a parental unit. Property or not, it is the commodity we both wanted and worked so hard for. So when it is time to divide things up, who gets the progeny, the male or the female parent?
Both sides may claim to have invested the most in this co-produced commodity. Either side may claim to be best suited to receive it. Either may claim to be best able to care for it. The men's-issues groups now are for the most part engaged in demanding fair treatment for men as care providers for their progeny.
Motivated, self-disciplined partners can often share commodities without damaging them. Adversarial ex-partners almost never can.
Same-sex couples and the intentional single parent family provide an alternative to the traditional power structure which gave either males or females priority in custody decisions. We can all become sperm donors and surrogate mothers without forming real partnerships. We can still create our own children by engaging the temporary services of someone of the opposite sex. Of course the legal system hasn't yet caught up with this new fashion. Once this minor glitch is removed from the system, we will all be closer to having our financial and reproductive independence.
So is it heaven, or is it hell? But then, that's what we've always asked ourselves about marriage. Either way, I suppose there will always be a few old fashioned folks who still feel the two sexes have a need for each other, and children a need for two genders of parents.
Copyright © 1996, with edits in 1997, 2008, 2012
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