The economic theory of love:
Before we start I need to dispel a myth and that myths name is true love, we live in a global community of over six billion people 3 billion of whom we would choose to cohabit with. This equates to odd of three billion to one against of you ever finding your singular true love and yet when we look around we see couples all proclaiming true love or love.
Once we dismiss predestination, when considering the concept of love, we are left with something more splendid and that is rationality, often, slanderously referred to cold and harsh rationality but I wish to argue not only is it prudent to choose a partner based on a rational economic approach but that we do without thinking.
Unit of economy:
If we choose to see a relationship as a rational trading relationship (trading as it exists between two parties) we must ask what it they are trading is. Of course in the real economy we know it is labour value but what of the social economic sphere.
Well there to my mind seem to be two; there is a sexual element (one are society has always placed a fiscal value upon… old profession and all) and a more invisible unit of value that of the need for company or fear of loneliness.
Take for example a person who values sex highly but loneliness lowly; they would be free to pursue sex at all cost and on every occasion, as they would not care if this pursuit left them occasionally alone. Opposed to this person would be someone who values the fear loneliness highly; they would willing cohabit with someone who either is unwilling or unable to provide them with sex merely not to die alone (think about the elderly marrying).
Talk for yourself bub:
Thankful most people seek both – they seek sexual value and company return from their relationships. Mad, you say, not me, I am some secular Saint. I seek nothing from my relationships but the joy of my partner, who I pertain to love above and beyond myself. Really? Well then you are foolish. You are providing another with utility without return, which is unsustainable and eventually emotionally crippling. Think on this, if you sought no return on your trading relationships, you would be very unlikely to enter into one or emotionally bankrupt yourself.
No the model described below is not a one sides expression of selfish self-interest but the core of all human interaction; enlightened self-interested behaviour that creates a social good. We all seek certain returns from these relationships and are partners expect an equal return.
So we are face with a new conception of relationships, we are not lost, rudderless on a sea of “love” but empowered traders with something to trade in return for social commodities we ourselves have chosen to seek and glory to God that this is the way it is.
Given that all people seek the two essential commodities we must ask why aren’t all people attracted to each other, beyond and unequal valuing of sex and loneliness? Well the answer is simple; in the love market place not everyone is worth the same. In the human world the housebound, rude, unemployed person have a lower value from the stunning, socially adapt business person.
How much am I worth?
We all have a social worth and this of course differs from place to place, the ill-behaved business owner may be lauded in their own organisation but will never be wanted (though may attend) the diner party held by their peers. That is because though the business owners business skills make them tolerable in the one setting they are of less value to their fellow dinners.
Thus it is true in the economics of love; beauty is not an absolute value (as there lack a global market value) but a value derived by the local market. Thus western person attractiveness is derived by their fellows and by the media. In poor countries corpulence is valued and in wealthy nations thinness is valued. We should not be surprised by this. For it is a universal truth; that which is scares is valued and so it is with beauty that which is scares is beautiful and that which is common not so. So each participant to the market of love is assigned a “beauty” value a value which is wholly derived by geographical location.
Beauty makes up just part of our personal value; there are multiple factors which form the “personal” value; for example wealth is another important aspect. We all want accesses to resources, to possess to the latest doo-dad and ideally we’d not have to strive to do so. So it is to expect that the lonely business person would trade his economic value to another; who not only gains a direct commodity return from there trading relation but sex and loneliness relief.
Another and very important factor is social standing; via a trading partner one partner of low birth (who may be wealthy) you gain the status of their high birth (but poorer) partner. Indeed the aristocracy has partially sustained there position by trading there social status for wealth. There is, however another aspect of social standing. Historically it was seen as unnatural or sad to live along and you were expected to marry. Indeed to be accepted into certain social circles or obtain certain social standing marriage was required.
Thus people off set there loneliness value twice over (one offset by their partner and one offset by acceptance into a wider social circle). Indeed when we see the phenomena of homosexuals entering marriage. Obviously these trading relationships cannot fulfil their sexual need but did resolve there need for company and ensure there social standing. This relationship is not an equal one for either partner and it is of no surprise then that we see them dying out when the social stigma of homosexuality diminishes and a similar decrease in life long partnership as there social value equally diminishes.
There is a final and probably core aspect of a person’s value, that of an ability to care or conceive offspring. It is a fact that most humans seek to create offspring, it is part of are animal inheritance thus it should not be considered strange that someone able to easily conceive and willing and able to bring up and sustain children would be valued more than some on who is unable and unwilling to care for children. I sadly know of many women (and I believe it is mainly women) forced into unequal trading partners simply to fulfil their need for children (which is just another form of loneliness offsetting) and to assuage their biological needs. Again we should not be surprised at perfectly equal trading partnerships which are liquidated after this need to bear and raise children has been fulfilled as it suddenly devalues one of the parties and thus become unequal.
Individuality and your value:
Unlike labour value there is no real market place for love as I said at the start the idea anyone will ever find a perfect trading arrangement stands at odds of 3 billion to one against. Even given this the actual value we have at an individual level differs from person to person. At a top level the four aspects of personal value; looks, money, social standing and child rearing are held at the same level, however one person may care more for money then social standing or even hold reverse social standing (the trader who seeks the criminal). So that actual value are partner holds us in is solely determined by them and dose like all values alter over time.
The point is that we hold a value to our partner and this value is the deciding factor in a successful relationship. Thus the beautiful, social adept, fertile businessman will not marry the penniless, disfigured barren social reject even if (and I doubt this greatly) they had the same loneliness value. They would not forge a relationship because it would be unequal, the first partner would realise very quickly that others valued them greatly and would provide them more in return then there current partner.
It is also unlikely because there loneliness value would be unlikely to be the same the beautiful bui98sness person is attractive to a larger market share then the disfigured popper; thus all thing being equal would find it far easier to find a mate and thus value there loneliness or likelihood of prolonged periods lower than the disfigured pooper. In this way the four core aspect of personal value feed back into the two economic units.
So the ideal relationship
Well that is simple two people of near enough equal personal value (preferable who are poor in two aspect but rich in the two, the other partner is lacking)and who value sex and loneliness at a similar rate; for no relationship can last if one partner could do far better or on is more invested in it then another or one seeks more sex then the other, it will lead to partner whose need are not fulfilled to seek them elsewhere.
In the ideal relationship people need for companionship is fulfilled by trading there equal focus on loneliness and sex for company and sex and neither could easily or quickly find a better match. Both may perform different roles and bring different thing to the table but in the end the equate each other . No other form of trading relationship can survive and even when formed is not stable as I have said each of these values alter over time and so must be actively maintained by each partner.
If we act like self-interested parties before we formed relationships it seems clear to me we will make better, stronger and more reliant relationship. We should not be ashamed or censored for are unwillingness to trade a substantial part of life for pitiful or lesser resources then we invest, no business would ever remain in this position and no rational person either.
The key is before we enter the trading relation, unfortunately we far too often rush into these relationship and then only once inside the trading relation discover that the ideal of love is scant compensation for a fulfilling equal trading relationship and divorce or break up soon follow; So dear reader think before you leap and for the sake of yourself and other think hard before you enter into any type of relationship contract.