Published October 26, 2015 by By DiDi Kirsten Tatlow (The New York Times)
One wife, many husbands.
That’s the solution to China’s huge surplus of single men, says Xie Zuoshi, an economics professor at the Zhejing University of Finance and Economics, whose recent proposal to allow polyandry has gone viral.
Legalizing marriage between two men would also be a good idea, Mr. Xie wrote in a post that has since been removed from his blogs. (He has at least three blogs, and his Sina blog alone has more than 2.6 million followers.)
By 2020, China will have an estimated 30 million bachelors — called guanggun, or “bare branches.” Birth control policies that since 1979 have limited many families to one child, a cultural preference for boys and the widespread, if illegal, practice of sex-selective abortion have contributed to a gender imbalance that hovers around 117 boys born for every 100 girls.
Though some could perhaps detect a touch of Jonathan Swift in the proposal, Mr. Xie wrote that he was approaching the problem from a purely economic point of view.
Many men, especially poor ones, he noted, are unable to find a wife and have children, and are condemned to living and dying without offspring to support them in old age, as children are required to do by law in China. But he believes there is a solution.
A shortage raises the price of goods — in this case, women, he explained. Rich men can afford them, but poor men are priced out. This can be solved by having two men share the same woman.
“With so many guanggun, women are in short supply and their value increases,” he wrote. “But that doesn’t mean the market can’t be adjusted. The guanggun problem is actually a problem of income. High-income men can find a woman because they can pay a higher price. What about low-income men? One solution is to have several take a wife together.”Follow @FortySixNews