Monday, January 23, 2012

Alpha Mail: the quantity inelasticity of female demand

Bloggiversary celebrant Badger emails an interesting pair of economics-related questions concerning Game:
1. Is there a term for a good that is absolutely limited in quantity, in the sense that only a portion of those who want it can get one of them? I'm thinking of the fact that there are only so many guys who meet all the female checklist requirements (tall, in shape, interesting job, cool hobbies, can stimulate her daily, impresses her friends, owns the room, etc).

2. I'm curious if there's an econ paradigm for a good that, as it becomes scarce, causes people to become more selective and concerned about its quality rather than simply seeking to grab it as the price pressures rise.

As you know, we have environs like American colleges where the male-female ratio is distinctly female-heavy. To a man unversed in game and psychological economics, he might think this is good for guys; the supply-demand pressures would mean women would have to pair up with guys down the ladder or they'd be resigned to singleness.

But this doesn't appear to be happening. Instead, women get even more anxious with their checklists and concerned about grabbing a top man. We know from the numbers that the number of male virgins in college is growing, not shrinking. So obviously women are even more strongly preferring to sample (and if necessary, share) the apex.

The way I explain this is that the odds of getting a man, any man, are lower when there are fewer men, and so they want to make the most of their limited opportunity by optimizing even more aggressively. Essentially they are swinging for the fences in fewer at-bats. The 80-20 rule appears to scale linearly: fewer men equals fewer top men for women to lust for. Cf. the NYT article where the UNC sorority girl said "half the guys we wouldn't even consider."

We do have two related moderating influences:

-The fact that boys are being raised to not be sexually aggressive, taking them out of the equation. I don't think this is a sufficient explanation, since unattractive men who are sexually aggressive don't get girls but are instead labeled creepy.

-The fact that female-heavy campuses are themselves constructed of feminist tropes and friendly to female sensibilities, which causes women to seek a respite from the institutional pedestalization through the of a flippantly alpha man. (Such is the paradox of feminism: women who are control freaks, who desperately want a man to take control, but can't admit that without offending the feminist sisterhood).
The basic economics term that is relevant to the first question is "scarcity" and it is expressed in the form of a supply curve. However, since one is not presently permitted to acquire women by exchanging money for them, it's not possible to apply the conventional supply-demand curve here utilizing price as the the Y-axis. But since we're talking economics and not finance, the core concepts still apply neverthless, only instead of $ price, we're talking about the various attributes that women value. As a man's collective ability to "pay", or to be more precise, his sum total of female-valued attributes, goes up, the overall quantity of women available to him increases. In economics terms, a change in price causes movement along the supply curve.
Thus the man who ups his Game or signs a big record contract, or is named a starting quarterback sees his "price" go from P2 to P1, his pool of interested women increases from Q1 quantity to Q2, and therefore the ability to score a Y-quality woman instead of being limited to an X-rated woman. Personally, I'd reverse the X and Y assignations in this specific application, but never mind that.

As for the second, I'm going to attempt to answer what I suspect to be the real question underlying the somewhat nebulous question that was actually posed. What I think Badger is attempting to get at is to learn if there is an economic concept describing when the simple intersection of S-D curves and movement along them according to changes in quantity is insufficient to explain what he is observing in the current, female-heavy collegiate sexual marketplaces. As it happens, there are two that are potentially valid here, and the first is known as "conspicuous consumption", a concept first articulated by Thorstein Veblen.

This was the attempt to explain why the demand curve for some goods actually increases as the price goes up, or if you prefer, why certain market behaviors don't follow the conventional downward sloping demand curve as shown below. Such products are also known as Giffen Goods. Stocks are one example, collectible trading cards and art is another. (Remember, since we're discussing men, the "price" now refers to attractive female attributes, not male ones.)
Conspicuous consumption rather than conventional movement along the demand curve is clearly applicable in the collegiate marketplace, since not only does a lower price not increase the quantity demanded, but an intrinsic part of the value of a high-status man for a woman is the validation of her own sex rank that her acquisition of one, however temporary, conveys to her and others. Hence the oft-observed phenomenon of the 6 who thinks she is an 8 because she once attracted the attention of a slumming male 9.

But conspicuous consumption only explains the increased valuation ascribed to men as their price increases, it does not explain the lack of female interest in lower status men despite increasing scarcity that would normally be expected to cause movement along the demand curve increasing the price as quantity decreases. To here, we need to turn to the concept of "elasticity". Price elasticity describes how susceptible demand is to changes in price. Gasoline, for example, is relatively inelastic since people have to drive to work regardless of whether gas costs $2 or $4 per gallon. Demand for airline travel is relatively elastic, since the price of a ticket plays a large role in whether one decides to take a vacation that requires a flight or not.

But in this case, it's not the variance in price that is proving irrelevant to demand, but rather, the variance in quantity. So, one could reasonably describe the unusual economic behavior of the current collegiate sexual marketplace as being an example of the quantity inelasticity of demand.

38 comments:

Spectator said...

'Personally, I'd reverse the X and Y assignations in this specific application, but never mind that."

Economics with sex jokes, now this is the way to start my day..

sconzey said...

I think there's a mistake in your analysis:

Rather than thinking of Sex With a Man as a product which varies in price between Alan the Alpha and George the Gamma, I think a better model is to consider two different products: Sex with Alan the Alpha and Sex with George the Gamma.

The price which a woman pays for those products is in reputation, an opportunity cost in time, and other things.

The male attractiveness traits shouldn't be seen as a price paid by the guy for sex with the girl, but as factors which feed into womens' subjective valuation of a guy as a prospective sexual partner.

The price a guy pays for sex with a particular woman is the investment of time and money on dates, etc., that the woman demands before she allows P in V.

A guy working out and upping his game isn't paying a higher price for sex, but investing in his capital, so as to produce better products (more sex with more beautiful women), for a lower cost (fewer dates).

indyguy77@work said...

This subject is more than a little depressing. In both the economics and psychological senses.

Daniel said...

sconzey - you misunderstand. A guy working out raises his own price (paid by the woman) under the scenario laid out in the post.

I understand how, with the somewhat uncommon non-use of traditional dollar figures, you could flip the model upside down, but read it again. Vox didn't miss a thing.

Markku said...

I understand how, with the somewhat uncommon non-use of traditional dollar figures

This is really barter economy with slightly different but still mostly similar products. The most important difference being that the one's value increases with the number of units going around and the other's decreases.

Markku said...

I'm quite sure that if I simulated a system with those specifications, I'd see harems develop in a matter of a few cycles.

sconzey said...

@Daniel:

I don't know. The fact that Sex with an Alpha and Sex with a Gamma are different and heterogeneous products is important in understanding the difference in demand between them, and also why a Gamma plus a relationship and a nice car and a house in the suburbs doesn't equal "five minutes of Alpha."

For similar reasons, the distinction between the product (sex) and the capital (the man) is important to understand the disparate effects of 30 minutes in a swanky eatery vs. 30 minutes lifting weights on the quality of the product a man can produce (not like that! filthy mind!).

Anonymous said...

If the price paid by the consumer (women) remains the same (sexual access), then most of the consumers will be trying to buy a Ferrari for $1 instead of a Ford for $1. If no Ferrari's are available, some precious little snowflakes will hold out for one, while others will buy a Porsche and hope to upgrade one day and so on.

-Stilicho

Anonymous said...

Now, buying the Ferrari may typically require $1 in gold, the Corvette $1 in silver, and so forth, but in the end we're looking at a pretty steep curve on the far end.

-Stilicho

Mike M. said...

I think the "rent-an-Alpha" mindset also has an effect. Women seem willing to trade an LTR with a 6-7 for a ONS with a 10.

Susan Walsh has been mentioning this quite a bit. She believes (I think correctly) that it leaves the 10-grade women on the sidelines, as they are of a quality to insist on the full-time attention of a 10 man. Who is more inclined to have a harem of 8s.

Markku said...

Since the value of a woman goes down with usage unlike that of a man, then used women pop out of the other end of the alpha queue for delta consumption. This is the way the system stabilizes no matter what the initial conditions are, unless social stigmatization adjusts the balance.

sconzey said...

@Markku: That's a magnificent mental image.

Markku said...

@Markku: That's a magnificent mental image.

Think of a conveyor belt with 6's - 8's side by side in the doggie position and a couple of enterprising alphas servicing them as fast as they can, until they drop out from the other end where the deltas below start fighting for them like zombies for an almost warm corpse.

And brand new eighteen year olds fighting each other to get on the belt on the other end.

Ah, isn't love grand?

indyguy77@work said...

So we're better to intercept the 18yr olds befor they get on the Ho Carousel?

indyguy77@work said...

Cuz.... I'd be okay with that.

Particularly if she's a Christian Eurasian mix...

Markku said...

So we're better to intercept the 18yr olds befor they get on the Ho Carousel?

We better, because the Prince of Darkness presides over the belt like some Satanic Santa, and goes ho ho ho...

Anonymous said...

I am sorry, am I the only person amazed at this post? Wow, graphs and everything :)

Carlotta

Anonymous said...

Goodness Markku that just painted a horrible picture in my mind!
Carlotta

Anonymous said...

sconzey has a very valid point!
Carlotta

rycamor said...

Think of a conveyor belt with 6's - 8's side by side in the doggie position and a couple of enterprising alphas servicing them as fast as they can, until they drop out from the other end where the deltas below start fighting for them like zombies for an almost warm corpse.

And brand new eighteen year olds fighting each other to get on the belt on the other end.

Ah, isn't love grand?


...

So we're better to intercept the 18yr olds befor they get on the Ho Carousel?

We better, because the Prince of Darkness presides over the belt like some Satanic Santa, and goes ho ho ho...


Markku, just another reason this father of a 12-year-old daughter is more than a little freaked out by the direction of our culture.

Step 1: move to the country.
Step 2: acquire guns.
Step 3: hit the weights like a beast. Based on current progress I figure in about a year I'll have Vin Diesel's physique. One of the benefits of 'old man muscle'--I pile it on a lot easier now than in my 20s. ("You want to take my daughter where?")
Step 4: Be the model of healthy patriarchal dominance in family, rather than typical whipped, browbeaten middle class man.
Step 5: begin to keep an eye out for promising young men, and associate with their families. This is a tough one, because a promising young man at 16 can become the worst d-bag by 20 if the wrong people get hold of him first. Basically, associate with the home-schooled and little else. College-bound young men must be viewed with extra suspicion. Fortunately, our neck of the woods is rife with homeschooling.

What did I leave out? Help an old guy out here.

Jack Amok said...

Nah, the S-D curves tell the entire story.

Start with a relatively monogamous environment where the DHV men outnumber the pretty women. Supply outstrips (strips, heh heh) Demand. This causes the price (of DHV men) to fall. Theory says that falling prices should attract more buyers to the market. We would expect an influx of women going to college to get their Mrs degrees. The price then rises and, eventually stabilizes.

Then, an outside factor (feminism) disrupts the market causing a huge increase in Demand (more women entering college) along with a sharp decline in Supply (fewer DHV men). This causes the price (of DHV men) to rise. Theory now says that an increase in price should stimulate (stimulate, heh heh, can’t avoid it can we?) suppliers to increase their production. But the market distortion (feminism) both prevents the traditional method of increasing supply (more men going to college) and enables a new method of increasing supply (hookup culture allowing one DHV man to increase his personal contribution to the Supply side of things). So the curves balance out again, re-establishing equilibrium, but with a significant difference: fewer suppliers so that the profits are highly concentrated in the ones that are left. It’s not quite a monopoly or even a cartel because the DHV men don’t really collude with one another, but the increased concentration of the market does lead to higher prices.

Funny, it’s kind of like the insurance market in my state. The liberal government decided to “get tough” with insurance providers, driving a whole bunch of them out of the state, leaving the market to a small handful who took advantage of the reduced competition to raise rates through the roof.

Liberals are like that.

Giraffe said...

What did I leave out? Help an old guy out here.

I think you are on the right track. Step 4 is huge.

I sure am not an expert, but I'll have to become one because I've got two going on three girls to raise.

I would think talking to your daughter is important. I don't know how many people actually talk to their kids about relationships, and leave it up to the schools or for the kids to figure out on their own. Let her know what you expect of her. Let her know how the boys are going to game her. Let her know that parts of her psyche that make her vulnerable.

rycamor said...

I would think talking to your daughter is important. I don't know how many people actually talk to their kids about relationships, and leave it up to the schools or for the kids to figure out on their own. Let her know what you expect of her. Let her know how the boys are going to game her. Let her know that parts of her psyche that make her vulnerable.

Indeed that is true. It helps when you're homeschooling because you can assign literature that touches on these themes. Daughter #1 absolutely loved "The Scarlet Pimpernel", and that gave us some good opportunities to talk about relationships. Somewhere along the line we will be sure to deal with Pride and Prejudice and a few other choice examples.

And of course as a Christian, I try to read the Bible to my family after dinner several nights a week. Lots of good stuff in the Old Testament especially.

Anonymous said...

Pre-feminism era women can be considered to be normal goods. Nowadays they are inferior ones.

When a man's value increases (money/alphaness etc.) they are more likely to substitute pussy/sex for something else e.g. MGTOWing or becoming a herbivore (like young Japanese men.

Spectator said...

"Think of a conveyor belt with 6's - 8's side by side in the doggie position and a couple of enterprising alphas servicing them as fast as they can"

Close, but they would be alternating directions on the belt so that the Services can be positioned on both sides, allowing double servicing where applicable. Much more efficient that way. Markku you still never cease to amaze me with the bizarre and Engineer-like way that your mind works. Also makes me laugh

but on a serious note, makes me happier with my current relationship. Dating a Chaste 7 (by Vox' tiered system) who in her mid 20s and through college managed to avoid entry on the carousel whatsoever. I credit what I have learned about game with my no longer being the guy I w as in late highschool/college.

Anonymous said...

Focus on the Failures: the Impact of Socialism on Losers--an Abstract

Thesis: Poor prole women used to marry some omega males, now they don't need to anymore.

Abstract: At the very bottom of the human male hierarchy are the irrecoverable social failure, the “omega males.” No one writes about these guys; they are largest group of at which no one has ever taken a serious look. (Yes, here we have an "omega" writer, but I'm talking about the category of omega for whom there is no hope.)

These are the least sexually desirable males and therefore are the ones who are unable to find a women for a healthy normal relationship because their desirability is too low given the
existence of less women than men, the omega's own standards and, in some places, men marrying multiple women. (There are about 105 males born for every 100 females.)

In modern times, women would rather become the second trophy wife of an older alpha male or never marry at all, than settle for an omega male.

Irrecoverable omega males will be lonely and womanless their whole lives and as an added punishment pay taxes to support the children of women who don’t notice their existence, or, if they do, see omegas only in a monetarily
predatory way.

So some questions for the experts:

What are some characteristics of irrecoverable omegas?

What becomes of them?

What should irrecoverable omegas do to wring the best out of life?

The LP 999/Linda said...

Econ and Game?! Fantastic reading!

Giraffe said...

What are some characteristics of irrecoverable omegas? Low intelligence, social awkwardness. Everyone hates them, especially women.

What becomes of them? Nothing much. They live a lonely life without much success at anything.

What should irrecoverable omegas do to wring the best out of life?
Find Jesus, get a dog.

My older brother is an irrecoverable omega. I don't know how happy he is, but he gets by.

Badger said...

Wow, thanks for making a post out of the question.

I think sconzey is onto something with the "heterogeneous products" concept...price elasticity certainly makes sense if you consider the alpha man to be a singular product, a non-commodity distinct from other men, rather than being on a spectrum of quality like wines or clothes. In the same way that gasoline (runs your car) is wholly different a product than say heating oil, even though they are superficially made of the same stuff.

My thoughts turn to normalized assortive mating in equalized social environs. If there are equal #'s of dudes and chicks, society will try to match them up, leading to a normalized behavior pattern of monogamy in one's "league" tinged with some 80-20 rule. But take away a bunch of men, and normalized monogamy is mathematically impossible; I think when this happens, women abandon monogamy as a goal in favor of getting a piece of that alpha.

After all, why would a subculture (esp a female one, obsessed with superficial equality among the ladies) value monogamy when it's not going to be achievable by a significant portion of the females?

R. Bradley Andrews said...

I am not completely convinced that all Omegas are inherently irrecoverable. I think most will be as many people get stuck in their ruts and don't want change, but the whole idea in game is that people can change their rank by actively changing their lives (at least to a point).

Couldn't any Omega change his rank by stopping wasteful activities and starting productive ones, from a relationship perspective?

I understand many will not, but that is the case with a wide range of people and a society that reinforces some bad habits.

sconzey said...

Vox, I'm afraid your point about Porsches and Hyundais only furthers my argument.

The argument goes: Porches and Hyundais may be significantly different in quality, but they both circulate in the automotive market.

The problem with this argument is that there isn't just one automotive market, but one market for each of the ends to which a good may be put. So there is one market for cars-as-a-mechanism-to-get-from-A-to-B and another market for cars-as-conspicuous-consumption. For each of those ends, a Porsche and a Hyundai have completely different utility, and are therefore not perfectly substitutable.

Rothbard makes a similar point in Man, Economy and State. He asks that the reader consider a man making a cake that requires four eggs. Whilst each egg is physically identical, the fourth egg has massively greater utility than the other three because it allows him to bake the cake. The homogeneous unit in the eggs-to-bake-a-cake market is not one egg, but a group of four.

There is a very high demand for ALPHAs. It is not that BETAs are inferior at servicing this demand to ALPHAs, it is that they *cannot* service this demand.

Consider: a woman is on the prowl for an ALPHA. A wild BETA approaches her, tells her she looks beautiful and asks if she wants to go to dinner. Her reaction is one of revulsion: "I ordered a pizza and all this box contains is dog excrement!" The two goods are not substitutable.

Anonymous said...

As others have noted, college women have completely substituted one good (LTR's with men of similar SMV) for another good (ONS's with Alphas).

Two points: First, part of the "cost" of a ONS, "Being a slut" have gone away since hooking up makes this behavior normative; and ONS's are a more efficient way for women to get their needs met since one alpha can service multiple women.

We might expect benefits of hookup culture to extend to Betas if the ratio gets severely out of balance - 5:1? 10:1? Or we might see women adopting another substitute product, lesbianism.

Desert Cat said...

Markku you're a freakin' comedic genius!

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