Marginal Utility.

It has been a couple or more decades since I had to deal with this old chestnut. It is difficult to remember constantly that Pravin is very much younger and is quite capable of challenging my memory with such ideas like coming up with this topic for this week’s LBC post.

Just to make it simple for my readers not exposed to such ideas in Economics, let me illustrate to understand the concept.  Please click on the image for a larger resolution.

Fairly simple. There is only one case where it does not work and that is in the case of addiction to alcohol, drugs etc. Which is a subject deserving a totally new blog post altogether.

While I eagerly look forward to what Pravin and the other LBC bloggers come up with, I just want to express a puzzle and leave my readers to come up with the answers.

If the concept of Marginal Utility is true, why do some societies have polygamy or polyandry? Does the theory not work there? I don’t know. I was a monogamist and now more or less a sanyasi. I am not personally acquainted with any polygamist or polyandrist and so cannot ask one.

And just as I was about to end this post, I came across this remarkable piece of news which stumps me even more on the aspect of marginal utility only for this polyamorous union.  Now, I have seen and heard enough.

You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin, Ashok and Shackman.

Hero From India.

On a planet of seven billion people – the population we will reach in 2011 – who is the most typical human? According to statistics: a 28 year old Han Chinese male. The largest ethnic group is Han, and, with 1.3 billion people, the most populace nation is China. But the typical human is male by only a whisker: There are 1.01 men in the world for every woman. By 2030, China will lose its top population status, and the most typical human face will be INDIAN”
~NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, MARCH 2011.

I am sure you must be wondering why I find that amusing. Please read on.

This post came to me via email. Despite best efforts, I am unable to give credit to the writer. Many links are available on Google Search, but I am unable to locate the writer. I compliment whoever it is and thank him for the investigation and the spirit with which the article has been written.

Ziona Chana lives with all of them in a 100-room mansion. His wives take it in turns to share his bed. It takes 30 whole chickens just to make dinner.

He is the head of the world’s biggest family – and says he is ‘blessed’ to have his 39 wives.

Ziona Chana also has 94 children, 14-daughters-in-law and 33 grandchildren. They live in a 100-room, four storey house set amidst the hills of Baktwang village in the Indian state of Mizoram, where the wives sleep in giant communal dormitories.

The full monty: The Ziona family in its entirety with all 181 members.

You treat this place like a hotel: With 100 rooms the Ziona mansion is the biggest concrete structure in the hilly village of Baktawng. Mr Chana told the Sun: ‘Today I feel like God’s special child. He’s given me so many people to look after. ‘I consider myself a lucky man to be the husband of 39 women and head of the world’s largest family.’

The family is organised with almost military discipline, with the oldest wife Zathiangi organising her fellow partners to perform household chores such as cleaning, washing and preparing meals. One evening meal can see them pluck 30 chickens, peel 132lb of potatoes and boil up to 220lb of rice.

Coincidentally, Mr Chana is also head of a sect that allows members to take as many wives as they want.

Feeling peckish? The senior ladies of the Chana family show what it takes just to make a meal.

The wives and I: Mr Ziona Chana poses with his 39 wives at their home in Baktawang, Mizoram, India.

He even married ten women in one year, when he was at his most prolific, and enjoys his own double bed while his wives have to make do with communal dormitories.
He keeps the youngest women near to his bedroom with the older members of the family sleeping further away – and there is a rotation system for who visits Mr Chana’s bedroom.

Rinkmini, one of Mr Chana’s wives who is 35 years old, said: ‘We stay around him as he is the most important person in the house. He is the most handsome person in the village. She says Mr Chana noticed her on a morning walk in the village 18 years ago and wrote her a letter asking for her hand in marriage.

Shared bedroom: A look inside the four-storey mansion, Chhuanthar Run – The House of the New Generation.

Another of his wives, Huntharnghanki, said the entire family gets along well. The family system is reportedly based on ‘mutual love and respect’

And Mr Chana, whose religious sect has 4,00 members, says he has not stopped looking for new wives. ‘To expand my sect, I am willing to go even to the U.S. to marry,’ he said.

One of his sons insisted that Mr Chana, whose grandfather also had many wives, marries the poor women from the village so he can look after them.