Saturday, December 8, 2007

Materials Economy and Monogamy.

Many of the people that speak with me often or read my work, know how I feel about monogamy.

In my view monogamy is one of the most atrocious civil systems ever devised. And I'm on a passive crusade to eliminate it. Now, I don't go around spotting couples and yelling at them, or try to break up marriages.

I go with the flow. I try to make people realize just what it is they are signing up for and the damage it can do. I try to empower both men and women so that they can be happy with each other as equals, and thus fail to need state and corporate reassurance that their mate actually loves them.

Single people working as close friends, are the political and economic equivalent of a polyamorist society. So basically my approach is to discourage people from joining relationships. This does not mean the life of a monk, it merely means life without regard for what the state the church or the government has to say about the status of your intimate relationships, and a whole sale rejection of the idea that in order that one be valuable, he or she must have a single 'mate'. This does not mean do not have children, it just means that there is nothing wrong with being a single parent with a lot of friends.

I seek to empower people.

Monogamy at its core is the idea that a relationship between one human and another must be regulated and sanctioned by both the state and the corporation, and neither of these groups will ever sanction third party or more family units. Now, the state's involvement is pretty obvious, they issue marriage licenses, they issue tax breaks, they handle divorce proceedings and impose limits on when and how a person can get married, always to only one person.

But it doesn’t come close to ending there. The corporation gets in on the action by using the media to tell everyone things like “if your husband loved you he’d buy a diamond” or “if your girlfriend loved you, she’d cook with Kraft cheese”. And they are getting ever more invasive. Think of the insidious nature of “choosy moms choose Jiff” the implication being that if you buy Skippy, you’re a lousy mother.

What does this have to do with monogamy and the materials economy? Well, all of these advertisements have background. Very rarely is a commercial these days merely a notice of product on a plain background. Typically they present the product in some sort of context, and as any student of logic knows, context alters meaning. The context most commonly chosen to hock a product, is the nuclear family context. Because that is the most profitable for outside parties.

Now, I ask you, if you were a corporation, a non human immortal entity with no ability to feel pain or compassion, and the function of your existence was to take money, and you had the ability to control how Americans perceive what a family is, would you? The smart answer is another question. Does the structure of family have an impact on how much money I will spend? Yes, yes it does. And here we get into the meat of this post. The most profitable type of family unit, is a monogamous one. I’ll bet you had never even considered other types. That’s not surprising. Corporations, government, and religion have conspired for centuries to convince you of one simple idea, monogamy is the only way. But the fact is, many cultures enjoy extended families, and do so for economic reasons as well as emotional and cultural ones.

The economic reasons are the focus of this essay. A corporation wants to sell as many products per person as they can. So I ask you, which group would buy more toasters, 10 people living together, or ten people living in units of two? I lived with 6 people once, and we only had the one toaster. It worked out fine. Why? Because we shared it. Also, when it came time to buy new appliances we could have all chipped in, and ended up with the best of the best. This is bad for corporations as they do best selling tons of cheap fragile products, compared to selling one durable product.

This is why the corporations want monogamy around. Because so long as we pair off, we’ll buy more, buy cheaply, and complain less. Pooling resources means more power. Corporations have known this since birth. In fact a company is based on this idea. The simple non-zero sum game where by two people working together produce more than three people working separately, is the very foundation of tribalism. It is a the human expression of a fundamental fact of nature, so much so that multi cellular life is the result. Two cells working together produce more than three working apart.

They want us separate, they want us alone, so that they can exploit us, and continue to exploit the planet.

And their chief tool is monogamy.


bean said...

i think that monogamy and the "traditional" small family unit consisting of two parents and their offspring is older than corporations or the church, and yes while both of those institutions may try to benefit from the drive that some people have to pursue that life, it's not as if they invented it or have to brainwash people to sustain it. Just look to the animal kingdom for proof that the monogamous lifestyle is not a sinister invention of evil men; while the whole of the animal kingdom is sparse on species that practice it, it is there...and as far as the state or corporations trying to exploit it; that's what they do. they seize on anything that is percieved to bring happiness and a sense of well being to further their goals. Yes, there probably are many more benefits to living in a commune, but i don't think that means that monogamy is evil, a means to slavery, or should be abolished. It's merely another lifestyle choice out of how many quirks and subcultures we have as the human race, we got in this mongamous society because it works for people, not all people, granted, but most of us do want to share our lives and our selves with one person on a more intimate level than a large family group can sustain. I guess all I'm saying is, it's not as evil as you think it is...yeah it's been exploited, yes ads and churches try to cash in on it, but only because it's THE biggest demographic on the planet. In closing, monogamy is not a perfect system, with plenty of downsides for sure, but from my perspective it's not an ultimate evil that needs to be done away with.

Innomen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Innomen said...

My reply…

Sorry about the previous post, still getting used to this interface.

My reply is detailed and divergent enough to warrant a separate post.


My photo

I'm a politically and culturally subversive author with obsessive tendencies and a lot of free time. I feel a sense of personal responsibility for the fate of my species. My writing is the result.

My primary blog is at but this G+ profile is a far more active representation of my viewpoint.

Generally I feel the answer to society's ills are technological in nature not political or cultural.

Having said that, I do have political positions of course and I strongly feel that we need to embrace nuclear power and deploy a universal basic income.