|Masai woman feeding her child while on her way|
This is evident in the case of the heads of state who are able to marry more than one wife.
In turn, there is a reciprocal economic advantage for the man. As he provides the necessary conditions for his family, they in turn provide the needed labor for his farms, cattle and businesses. His labor costs are at a minimum because the wives and children are the labor force.
Health vs Economic Sense:
Traditional sexual practices including polygyny in Africa have been identified as factors that have escalated the rampant spread of HIV/AIDS. Swaziland recently surpassed Botswana as the country with the world's highest known prevalence rate. Swaziland is a small country with a population of a little above one million people and yet 40% of the population suffers from the disease.
The African leaders, including King Mswati III, recognize that HIV/AIDS is an epidemic that is biting into their national budgets. Although there is this recognition, it has not stopped the national and community leaders from continuing the practice of polygyny.
In 2008, King Mswati III ordered that all young girls under the age of 18 should stop having sex for the next five years to prevent the spread of AIDS. However, the King either forgot he had put up this sex ban or just ignored it for he went ahead and married a 16 year old teenager.
Education vs Economic Sense:
The economic argument for polygyny fails in the cases of Masai girls as young as 10 years old whose education is cut short in order to marry a man four to six times there age as the umpteenth wife. Low literacy levels of a country curtail its economic growth.
It would make more economic sense if girls were given the same opportunities to pursue their education to the highest levels. Their wealth of knowledge benefits communities and countries. This is a documented fact.
The economic argument for polygamy/polygyny made sense in the yester-years when economic wealth was measured at a community level and everyone made a living from the land. Today, the world is different. There many opportunities for women to build wealth and live well without having to depend on some wealthy old man.