The Telegraph 26 Jan 2012
A study found that in polygamous cultures, levels of rape, kidnap, murder and robbery increase as the dissatsified men left on the shelf go on the rampage. Researchers from the University of British Columbia say that monogamous marriage has replaced polygamy because it has lower levels of inherent social problems. Prof Joseph Henrich said: “Our goal was to understand why monogamous marriage has become standard in most developed nations in recent centuries, when most recorded cultures have practiced polygaymy. “The emergence of monogamous marriage is also puzzling for some as the very people who most benefit from polygymy – wealthy, powerful men – were best positioned to reject it. “Our findings suggest that that institutionalised monogamous marriage provides greater net benefits for society at large by reducing social problems that are inherent in polygymous societies.”
Published in journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society the study represents the most comprehensive study of polygamy and the institution of marriage. It found significantly higher levels of rape, kidnapping, murder, assault, robbery and fraud in polygymous cultures found in Asia and Africa. Prof Henrichs said that these crimes are caused primarily by pools of unmarried men, which result when other men take multiple wives. He said: “The scarcity of marriageable women in polygamous cultures increases competition among men for the remaining unmarried women. “The greater competition increases the likelihood men in polygamous communities will resort to criminal behaviour to gain resources and women.” A more egalitarian distribution of women results in less male competition and social problems, he says, and by shifting male efforts from seeking wives to paternal investment, institutionalised monogamy increases long-term planning, economic productivity, savings and child investments.