Dan Seligson on Polygamy and the Marriage Market

Ayaan speaks with Dan Seligson about polygamy and the marriage market. They explore the question: does polygamy breed poverty or does poverty breed polygamy? Dan also explains where polygamy still exists, the chronic scarcity it creates, and the commodification of women.

Dan received his PhD in physics from Berkeley. From 1984 until 2001, he worked at Intel Corp. in Santa Clara and Jerusalem where he focused on manufacturing technology and machine learning. He has been an investor in, advisor to, and board member and founder of several genomics-related companies. He has been awarded 9 US patents.

In 2015, he became interested in the social consequences of polygamy, or more generally, “What are the roles of nature and culture in economic history and development economics?”

Follow Dan on Twitter @DanSeligson.

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Published in: Marriage

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  1. Michael Powell Inactive
    Michael Powell
    @Michael Powell

    Not to rationalize it but we had a president here in the United States, Barack Obama, who was a product of a man with a polygamous mindset. He had Obama while he was in the United States and he returned to Kenya, where he had an entirely different set of children. If this breeds poverty, then some explaining must be in order, because Obama became President of the United States for two terms and the other side of his family comprises of a conservative Trump supporter.

    • #1
  2. La Tapada Member
    La Tapada
    @LaTapada

    Michael Powell (View Comment):

    Not to rationalize it but we had a president here in the United States, Barack Obama, who was a product of a man with a polygamous mindset. He had Obama while he was in the United States and he returned to Kenya, where he had an entirely different set of children. If this breeds poverty, then some explaining must be in order, because Obama became President of the United States for two terms and the other side of his family comprises of a conservative Trump supporter.

    But Obama wasn’t really formed by polygamous culture.

    • #2
  3. colleenb Member
    colleenb
    @colleenb

    Michael Powell (View Comment):

    Not to rationalize it but we had a president here in the United States, Barack Obama, who was a product of a man with a polygamous mindset. He had Obama while he was in the United States and he returned to Kenya, where he had an entirely different set of children. If this breeds poverty, then some explaining must be in order, because Obama became President of the United States for two terms and the other side of his family comprises of a conservative Trump supporter.

    I would say that Ms. Ali and Mr. Seligson are speaking about polygamy generally rather than to a specific person. Just as, generally, a child is in a better situation if raised by a mother and father who are married to each other, specific children raised by single parents can do quite well. I had not really thought about the economic implications of polygamy – the bride price, not as much resources for the family. It would be fascinating to know if one of the reasons that the Morman Church turned away from polygamy is a recognition of these economic problems. Speaking of Senator Obama, I really always thought that he married Michelle because her family was so normal v. his own family situation.

    • #3
  4. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    colleenb (View Comment):
    It would be fascinating to know if one of the reasons that the Morman Church turned away from polygamy is a recognition of the these economic problems.

    The FLDS church is a sociological disaster. It’s 150,000 people in North America. Something like that.

    • #4
  5. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    La Tapada (View Comment):

    Michael Powell (View Comment):

    Not to rationalize it but we had a president here in the United States, Barack Obama, who was a product of a man with a polygamous mindset. He had Obama while he was in the United States and he returned to Kenya, where he had an entirely different set of children. If this breeds poverty, then some explaining must be in order, because Obama became President of the United States for two terms and the other side of his family comprises of a conservative Trump supporter.

    But Obama wasn’t really formed by polygamous culture.

    Dinesh D’Souza believes the Obama Justice Department tried to get him sentenced to hard time for a routine campaign finance violation because one of his documentaries showed Obama, rolling in dough, had done nothing to help his impoverished African half-brothers and half-sisters.  I think Obama prefers to pretend they don’t exist.

    • #5
  6. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Another very informative episode.  This was really a good series to bring into the Ricochet network.

    • #6