Modern Marriage Is Rent Seeking Hell

Before the media created the idea of marriage as an emotionally-driven commitment, it was a simple economic transaction. A man exchanged his financial provisioning and physical protection for a female’s chastity and guaranteed paternity of his children.  In modern western culture, however, marriage has become a sham of misaligned values and perverse incentives.  Legal precedent and the feminist court of public opinion have conspired to deprive married men of all power, encouraging women to extract maximum value from them without providing anything in return.

Economists have a term for such actions that facilitate transfer of wealth from one party to another without creating new value: “rent-seeking”. Classic examples include political lobbying and government-mandated membership programs to reduce competition in a private industry (such as issuing taxi medallions in New York). In fact, there is already some economic research on viewing no-fault divorce through the paradigm of rent-seeking. I present to you the following revolutionary observation cited in this groundbreaking study:

“Allen and Brinig (1998) show that differences in sex drives between spouses affect spousal bargaining strengths: the spouse having the lowest sex drive at any given point during marriage has the property right over whether or not sexual intercourse will occur, thus increasing his or her bargaining power.”

Shockingly, this study doesn’t go far enough. Due to various legal and financial incentives, I contend that the entire institution of western marriage has devolved into a rent-seeking arrangement. From Wikipedia:

“Rent-seeking implies extraction of uncompensated value from others without making any contribution to productivity. The origin of the term refers to gaining control of land or other natural resources. Studies of rent-seeking focus on efforts to capture special monopoly privileges such as manipulating government regulation of free enterprise competition.[4]

[As opposed to profit and wages], rent, by contrast with these two, is obtained when a third party deprives one party of access to otherwise accessible transaction opportunities, making nominally “consensual” transactions a rent-collection opportunity for the third party.”

Sound familiar? Western marriage facilitates women capturing monopoly privileges over their husbands. Bolstered by modern divorce law, they no longer have to create value as part of the transaction. Women are entitled to cash and prizes in nearly all divorce scenarios, and even in the worst case they will have significant help from the state with raising their children. Women who choose to remain married continuously extract rents in the form of subservience, financial provisioning, and sexual denial from their husbands, even as their added value approaches zero.

This system remains in place because we punish men for exercising choice in the market, without any such punishment for women. Both law and public opinion deprive men of transaction opportunities that would yield infinitely more value than a fat nagging wife. If a man cheats on his wife, it’s grounds for financially devastating divorce and he is shunned for being a cad. If a woman commits infidelity, she is praised for being “liberated” and breaking free of an otherwise fine man who was not catering to her every emotional and psychological whim.


This isn’t simply a problem for married men. The rent-seeking nature of marriage snuffs out the social value traditionally created by the institution. It discourages a traditional division of labor allowing each partner to do work that befits their talents and self-actualization. The lack of value-creation in modern marriage also reduces the chance of producing well-adjusted children who will contribute positively to society.

Though we like to point out the frequent incongruence of female behavior with their stated goals, humans at our core are predictable creatures. We behave in response to incentives and act in our own self-interest. The clear economic solution to this problem is to limit the female-dominated monopoly privileges inherent in our marital system. Since this is unlikely to happen anytime soon, as a man you are best served by understanding the cold rationality of this transactional process and taking steps to ensure you are not victimized by it.

Don’t Miss: Why Marriage Can Still Be A Viable Option

58 thoughts on “Modern Marriage Is Rent Seeking Hell”

  1. What was the point of writing this article? Seriously, EVERYONE here gets it, marriage sucks. No one needs convincing. There’s, like, a thousand articles on why it’s a concept that’s no longer feasible for most men.
    How about writing an article that’s not treading over the same old ground? Oh, wait, that would take originality and some creative thought.

    1. Fundamentals.
      Basic (redundant), posts like these are easily digested baby steps for those on the fringe who don’t quite “get it” yet. From my perspective, this is exactly the kind of thing we should continue to see on ROK. A strong mix of fundamentals to go along with the intermediate and advanced level stuff.
      With the above in mind, I view ROK as the clean, concise gateway to the Manosphere at large. While that may not be in ROK’s mission statement, it’s what I personally see in it when it is at its best.
      Posts like this are what I link to when I want to expose some BP’s to RedPill thinking as I find it far more effective than linking to a 20 page thread on a board. (I enjoy lurking boards and pouring through threads…many people don’t)
      As an example, I’m involved in a “Mens group” page on Facebook that consists mostly of local friends and acquaintances. As much as I’d like to fill that group page up with links to great threads that I’ve scoured, it’s a little too messy…and just a little too “much” to link to.
      The above, however, is perfect for linking to things like my Facebook group. It’s really the exact thing a post like this is meant for. A centralized, culmination of redpill/manosphere thought and discussion presented in an easily digested form.
      The fundamental posts are the gateway drug.

  2. It’s a message well worth repeating, even if many of us already know it, because there’s always someone who hasn’t been there yet.
    I myself lost ten years of my life, arguably the best ten years, to a pointless, stupid, marriage. I have no goods to show from the event, no investments, no money, and damn few memories save arguments about things I could care less about. The only good thing I have to recall about the marriage was the day, during my divorce, when I realized that I no longer had any obligation to listen to my wife screaming and ranting at me over the phone.
    It struck me like a lighting bolt. I don’t have to tolerate this, I don’t have to justify myself (and I never should have tried!), I don’t have to take it, I don’t have to let myself get upset over all. All I have to do is hang up the phone, which I did, much to her astonishment. When she called back, I cooly reminded her that if she didn’t want to talk to me sanely, she could talk to a judge, and hung up again. Looking back, I think that’s the EXACT moment I swallowed the red pill, and realized that many of the obligations and burdens and soul-crushing chains I had were ones of my own making. That click of the phone remains one of the sweetest sounds I have ever heard.

    1. Amen! I had the same epiphany during my divorce, took the red pill, and have enjoyed life since then. It feels good to be liberated from such a hellish existence – it makes you appreciate the best things in life even more.

    2. I remember the exact same point in my divorce too. When I realized I no longer had to listen to the harpy, it was already over. Odd thing too, I don’t remember one single good thing about our 10 year marriage. All I remember is the arguing and the stealing.

    3. I’ve come to learn that there is a much more powerful drive in men than the sexual one.
      It’s freedom.

      1. Quite idealistic, but ultimately not true. The world is filled with betas and most of the world’s men readily trade in their freedom for sex.

      2. Yeah Earl I think that’s one that resists generalization. Me – I agree with you. Same camp, heartily so. But what you are talking about is just not the way anything like a majority of men operations

    4. “arguably the best ten years”
      Not to be a bigot but how does that connect with the rest if your post ?

  3. This ardical is not needed. I’m pretty sure every man on this website has no plans to get married.

  4. “Differences in sex drives affect bargaining strengths: the partner having the lowest sex drive has the right over whether or not sexual intercourse will occur, thus increasing their bargaining power”
    — Feminists clamour for ‘equality between the sexes’ in the workplace, in society, in the family, etc… yet I never hear a woman mention THIS chronic inequality.

    1. Because they derive their power and their agency through their vaginas. As a man your life is driven by a need to create, to build, to advance, to progress. Physically, financially, or spiritually we believe in conquering things and achieving goals. Men seek to subjugate nature and women seek to subjugate men. In non-western countries if you don’t beat her ass and you provide food and shelter for her and her children your a good dude. She appreciates you,respects you, admires you, and loves you. There is a clear division of labor and both sides are benefiting. The modern woman believes she can “have it all” and fuck a bunch of dudes while she “finds herself” and then settle down with some sucker beta weakling. Why do you think women love attention from men and despise actual prostitutes? It’s supply and demand. An actual whore is cutting though the bullshit and selling her cunt for X amount of dollars and cents. This undercuts the sexual market price. The walmart of pussy. As men we should make every effort to accumulate wealth, skills, knowledge, experience, and notch count. To maintain physically fit bodies and a detached aloofness while banging tons of chicks. It may or may not buy you happiness but it ensures you will never be a sucker.

  5. Though the point has been made time and time again, this was an extremely well written article.

    1. True> Until they make laws deeming it illegal to NOT commit to their feminist laws and ways. Then we’re all screwed. What if? I prefer not to know what’s around the corner but now I feel we have to stay 2 steps ahead of The Law, sort of like the mafia ahead of the FBI, just to make sure that we’re circumventing whatever it is they try to force on the male population. I choose to be pro-active now.

  6. If we can make the message of our movement the following two steps, we can stop feminism dead in it’s tracks.
    1. Do not marry or co-habit with an American/western woman
    2. Do not have children with an American/western woman
    How can we get destroyed in divorce if we never get married in the first place?
    I think we need to highlight and focus on the above two steps as the main focus and main message of our antifeminist movement. No more need for endless blog posts.

    1. Well said Mr. Rambo, I would ad STEP 3 to include in the formula ANY WOMAN BROUGHT OR WHO IMMIGRATED TO THE U.S. because, as you may know, women in this country change, and start adopting all that bullshit-feminist mentality.
      I am divorced, and will never marry again. I am disgusted with the mentality of women who live in the U.S., though it’s hard to blame them, since the media glorify them, they get this diva complex, and most men buy into that crap.
      You travel abroad and find women 10 times more beautiful and humble, and appreciating of men that makes one wonder what the fuck am I doing living in this fucked up society.

      1. Just came across this post. I agree..a lot of women who immigrated here. But, there are a lot of really nice women in the US also.

      2. The money is quite good. Five years of saving money as an early-mid career worker and I’ll be independently wealthy to not work again in most of the globe, if I so desire.

  7. Though the thesis of this post (“Don’t get married, bro”) appears every other day on this site, I think it’s good to tie-in some economic theory, too.
    Quote from Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert): “I went to college to study economics. I figured economics would never become outdated. I mean, how the hell could it?”

  8. I have always wondered if the “don’t marry ever it is the worst decision you wil ever make in your life” crowd of the red pill philosophy is never married men in their 20’s and beta shlubs whose wives tortured them then left them. Maybe that would explain why you marry see any balance when it comes to discussion on marriage and modern women.
    Believe it or not people there ARE advantages to marrying. Granted that is only if marriage is properly executed and conditions maintain more or less optimal. But, here they are:
    – Overall higher income
    – Overall lower cost of living
    – Optimal environment for rearing children (if that is your choice)
    – Easier to plan retirement, generally lower retirement ages, higher retirement income
    – Caretaker for later in life (unless your wife is a total bitch that is, men usually die first and are at higher risk for depilating illness earlier in life then women are)
    – For personality types who do not do loner well you get a built in companion
    Now there ARE also a long list of disadvantages to marrying. I am not going to trod out the parade of horribles here because they are well known. Divorce rape, no sex life, nagging bitchy woman, etc., etc. All those things are real and depending on your individual circumstances can be anything from a small to huge risk. But, don’t just repeat “blah marriage whatever I’m not dumb I read some dude on the internet who said it was horrible I am never going to marry”. It is still a viable life decision for many. But the ultimate decision is based upon your own facts and circumstances, not some blanket rule pronounced by some internet blogs and commenters.
    You should approach a decision to marry like a business decision. Imagine your personal life as a company. Right now you are a sole practitioner. You start working closely with another colleague and things are going well. The thought comes to you one day – maybe we should go into business together. You sit down with your business plans and goals and compare them with the colleague’s plans. If given your individual circumstances it looks like a really good move on paper and in practice you may want to incorporate a new business together. Or if your circumstances are not a close match you decide to stay a sole practitioner. That is how you should approach any decision to marry. Strip emotion from it. It is a business decision. Never let society pressure you to marry. Never let emotion pressure you to marry. Make the decision using thought and reason.

    1. On paper the financial side is much better. Take, for example, a recently married couple to which I have been providing financial advising. The husband was previously a client. Here is what there situation looked like beforehand.
      Husband. Salary $105,000. Rented one bedroom apartment in city w/ utilities – $1700. Car payment w/ insurance – $400. Parking – $150. Food (worked long hours, lots of restaurant, bar, and fast food – $350 or so.
      Wife. Salary $60,000. Owned 3 bedroom house in suburbs. Mortgage payment – $1300. Utilities – $200. Car payment w/ insurance – $450. Parking – $0. Commute via train – $100. Food (prepared most meals at home) – $150.
      Here is what happened. Got married. Husband moved into the house, ditched the apartment. Both commute via train now and can walk to the train station. Only needed one car because of this so they sold the older one and paid off the newer one with the sale proceeds. Food prices also came down to about $250 since the wife prepares most of the meals.
      The overall monthly savings came to around $2,100 plus probably a few more hundred they used to spend on entertainment since they now live together and do not feel compelled to go to fancy restaurants, shows, etc. when together. Combined income is now $165,000 plus they have an annual savings of now around $24,000. They have chosen to invest half that savings in retirement/savings and the other half in the vacation fund. $12,000 buys a lot of vacation for two people and so far they have used that fund for two rather exotic ones.
      This is not a defense of marriage. Just pointing out there are lots of cost savings when humans live and work in pairs instead of single units.

      1. In a society where the man is head of his home…marriage works and has all these advantages.
        But white knighters and beta males decided to listen to feminist shrieking and pass all these corrupt laws so that’s not the reality we live in today.
        If I find that needle in a haystack…I’ll marry her, I’m not against it. But prudence is key in this day and age.

    2. You may have a higher income but is this still relevant if that merely means the wife gets to take a bigger piece of the $?

    3. Marriage: A business partnership where one party to the agreement can unilaterally break it with no consequence, and a good chance she will profit.
      Sign Me Up!

  9. RECIPROCATION from a woman is everything. This is the most important word in the relationships world: RECIPROCATION (look it up if you have to). You provide her with value, and in return you expect her to provide you with equal or greater value. If she isn’t RECIPROCATING the value you provide, you’re being used like her tampon.

  10. All the boys are monsters, all the girls are whores…
    So if you lose the one you love, there’s always plenty more…

  11. All the boys are monsters, all the girls are whores…
    So if you lose the one you love, there’s always plenty more…

  12. That Belgian economics paper says “the fi nancially stronger spouse has an incentive to engage in rent-seeking behaviour … by filing for divorce”. In other words men promise love “till death do us part” and then dump wives for a newer models.

    1. This is a fair point on the surface. However, a couple things:
      1) You omitted the potentially large detail in your selected quotation. Here is the full paragraph:
      “We show that when function specialization occurs, the financially stronger spouse has an incentive to engage in rent-seeking behaviour, as described in Cohen (1987), by filing for divorce and that this incentive will be larger when the law allows for unilateral divorce and does not impose some sort of punishment mechanism”
      So, when there is “function specialization” (i.e. the Beckerian economic ideal of males controling economic production for the family and females controlling the home) AND there is limited financial disincentive (e.g. alimony) to filing for divorce, the man has the greater incentive. Sure. But neither of these conditions hold in current western society, especially in the United States where women are encouraged to enter the workplace and alimony rates are sky-high. You could make a sound argument that the financially stronger spouse is nearly always the woman, since she is basically entitled to half of her spouse’s income, plus whatever money she makes in her own occupation. This research was done in Belgium, where a quick examination of their laws reveals much less economically damaging rules for alimony, which is probably closer to the model they discuss in the paper.
      2) My post focuses on the rent-seeking behavior that takes place within a marriage as well as the actual act of initiating a divorce

  13. That Belgian economics paper says “the fi nancially stronger spouse has an incentive to engage in rent-seeking behaviour … by filing for divorce”. In other words men promise love “till death do us part” and then dump wives for a newer models.

  14. Sure marriage has its positives but the negatives are enough to scare me away from it. I’m not interested in being relegated to sleeping in my car. I’m not interested in being homeless. I’m not interested in paying for kids I don’t even get to see. And I’m not interested in paying off an ex-wife just to avoid going to jail.
    So much for there being ‘no’ debtor prisons since the 13th amendment was passed. The latter is an outright violation of it.

  15. LOL some men defending marriage even in this forum. More things change, more they stay the same eh?
    The money you “save” just goes to her anyway one way or the other. Going on vacation? Not so fast buddy, have to take the ball and chain with you. Better not make any purchases unless she approves. Control her spending? Thats domestic violence!
    What price do you put on your freedom? How many times can you eat your favourite dish before it makes you puke?
    Most men have the soul of a slave and will never stop serving women, but that’s a good thing for us players.
    Someone has to bust their ass running the world for an already spent paycheck, but not me.

  16. I need a another brilliant, anti-marriage, Mark Minter manifesto.
    Mark, submit a piece to ROK.

  17. Great text but it doesn’t answer my question. What to do if I want to live with a lover, partner and have kids with her, enjoy my life with a family?
    It’s easy to give up on all this, that’s not a solution that is running away from the situation you do not know how to deal with.

    1. You’re asking the wrong question, Filip. Live alone, get richer, and run as much barbaric pornographic game as possible in your life. That is what is offered here.

        1. If the content on this site doesn’t resonate with you, then excuse yourself from the castle. Go live a little bit more and then return if you’d like. The readers of this site don’t ask themselves,
          “What to do if I want to live with a lover, partner and have kids with her, enjoy my life with a family?”
          That’s a riddle most of us have already solved within ourselves.

        2. Are you the site administrator? I didn’t realize everyone has to agree and pat each others back here.

    2. If you must do this do it in another country that you can pick up and move from when needed. Marriage in the U.S. is lifetime slavery to the woman half of the pair. Prison and overt acts of state sponsored violence will be used to keep you chattel but this only works if they can get their hands on you. The U.S. is NOT the world despite their bloviating. A 2nd passport and the will to use it is the ultimate freedom. You will never see your children but you will be free if she lights the fuse. You can’t successfully overthrow the government so your only other 2 choices are to leave it or submit to be a slave for the rest of your life.

  18. Excellent column. As a libertarian leaning reader, I would like to see more analysis through the lens of Austrian economics.

  19. Face it. From an evolutionary point of view, we men are kind of disposable. As long as there’s one man left, he can repopulate the earth. But if there were no women? Plus, with sperm banks, women could live without men for quite a while.

    1. Not so fast, buddy. Even heard what happens with too much inbreeding? Finnish heritage diseases are the result of a population bottleneck similar to your “one man left” proposition. A self-defeating scheme for women dumb enough to try it.

      1. No I have not heard. Very interesting. But I think the estimate that survival of just two ancestral male lineages.says a lot.

  20. Marriage in the west is all but dead. Our society will soon follow, so enjoy the decline!

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