Marriage as investment

It’s interesting to see the various ways that women make use of their physical assets to scam men out of their financial assets. In Western divorce culture, alimony is the vehicle of choice. In Chinese male surplus culture, it’s pre-marital bride prices that serve the purpose:

With no eligible women in his village, Zhou Pin, 27 years old, thought he was lucky to find a pretty bride whom he met and married within a week, following the custom in rural China. Ten days later, Cai Niucuo vanished, leaving behind her clothes and identity papers. She did not, however, leave behind her bride price: 38,000 yuan, or about $5,500, which Mr. Zhou and his family had scrimped and borrowed to put together.

When Mr. Zhou reported his missing spouse to authorities, he found his situation wasn’t unique. In the first two months of this year, Hanzhong town saw a record number of scams designed to extract high bride prices in a region with an oversupply of bachelors.

Obviously, not all women view marriage as a cash cow. But enough women do, in enough disparate cultures, that it should serve as a warning to men to choose their wives on a far more careful basis than they usually do.