Economics In Everything

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by Patrick Appel

Elizabeth Weingarten reports on polygamy's decline in Saudi Arabia. Apparently "a group of young Saudi men are launching a campaign to trumpet [polygamy's] benefits, and to encourage other men to take a few more wives":

"Polygamy's time is over," said Thomas Lippman, an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. "People can't afford polygamy in Saudi Arabia anymore." While Saudi Arabia is known for its oil riches, many middle class families are living below the poverty line. Per capita income in Saudi Arabia is less than half of what it was in 1980, and the country's housing shortage has made the cost of purchasing a home unaffordable for most. Women, Lippman explains, are expensive. Each wife, for example, requires a private driver who must be paid for and housed.

"Between the resistance of the women, and the economic realities," Lippman says, "I think this campaign is unlikely to get legs."
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