In a Marriage 1.0 world, alimony is a good and meaningful thing. A genuinely bad husband, should be forced to support his wife and children if she isn't the one at fault and he is. But in a Marriage 2.0 world, there may be no fault whatsoever on the part of the husband, or even either party. But there may be fault on the part of the wife. Whereupon alimony - formerly a punishment for an at fault husband - turns into a reward for an at fault wife. Divorce is incentivized for women, and thus the divorce rate skyrockets.First of all, let me point out that Athol is clearly not intending to attack family-focused mothers here and that his basic logic is correct. I also have to give him a lot of credit for understanding, as so many who write on this subject do not, the basic economic principle that an increase in labor supply lowers the price of labor, thereby creating additional financial pressure on married women to work.
The combination of an incentivized divorce plus the ease of a SAHM lifestyle creates a huge moral hazard for a husband. The wife may demand an easy SAHM life, or simply take him to the cleaners if he doesn't provide it for her. This level of threat makes her the default head of household in many cases and thanks to female hypergamy, that increasingly kills her attraction to her husband, further increasing the divorce rate.
"The labor market was flooded with the influx of female workers, thereby devaluing the current labor supply, which means the male income declined to the point where it's no longer possible for nearly all husbands to support a family on one income. Which then forces women into the workplace whether they want to be there or not."
However, where Athol goes awry is when he assumes that the moral hazard of SAHM status, which he has correctly identified, outweighs the other problems and temptations that face working mothers, which he has completely left out of the equation. This is a fundamental error, as one cannot perform a relative risk analysis and reach a meaningful conclusion while only examining the risks of one of the two options. A brief perusal of the available statistical data would have shown him that the marital risks posed by the working wife he leaves out of the equation are significantly higher than the genuine, but much smaller risks posed by the SAHM. From The Independent:
Working women are more than three times more likely to be divorced than their stay-at-home counterparts, research published this week reveals. Furthermore, the longer hours women work, the more likely they are to be divorced. "Our findings suggest that there is something about wives' work that increases the divorce risk," say the researchers who will report their findings in the Oxford-based European Sociological Review.Just as the possibility of alimony presents a moral hazard to the SAHM, the possibility of financial independence and the constant proximity to available men presents temptation the working mother. Even if Athol is entirely correct and the "level of threat makes her the default head of household in many cases and thanks to female hypergamy, that increasingly kills her attraction to her husband,", that may still be far less problematic than regular exposure to a set of men of much higher socio-sexual rank than her husband.
Nor is the temptation to play for ex-spousal support necessarily absent from the working mother as she only has to possess a little patience and foresight in order to quit her job, wait six months, and thereby reap very much the same benefits from her pseudo-SAHM status in divorce court as the genuine SAHM does.
Furthermore, Athol also fails to take into account the fact that homeschooling is not only advantageous to the children, but is considerably more intellectually stimulating to the mother than the vast majority of working occupations. I doubt many working mothers are learning a lot of Latin, reading European history, or wrestling with quadratic equations on a daily basis. The following statement tends to indicate that he hasn't really thought the matter through from that perspective.
"Both of our girls are very bright and I doubt they would be content at all with a SAHM lifestyle."
Given that intelligence is heritable and that the women of the cognitive elite are disproportionately inclined to a) be SAHM and b) homeschool their children, it should be readily apparent that Athol's assumption that very bright women are likely to be discontent with a SAHM lifestyle is wildly mistaken. In fact, the more elite the woman's education, (and therefore, the more intelligent she is), the more likely she is to forgo work after her children are born and choose the SAHM lifestyle. 30 percent of the women at Yale plan to stop working once their children are born and another 30 percent plan to work part time; in my experience this means that 75 percent of those who actually do get married and have children will do so. This should be obvious, as it is the wealthy and most educated class that can most easily afford to get by on a single income; this also happens to be the class with the lowest divorce rate.
On an anecdotal level, I happen to know several women with Ivy League degrees, some with graduate degrees. None of them are now in the labor force. All of them are SAHM by choice.
So, contra Athol's assumptions, SAHM are more intelligent, better educated, and present far less of a divorce risk than working mothers. Add to this the fact that their children are far more likely to be homeschooled and one can only conclude that his conclusions are entirely erroneous because they are based on a combination of false assumptions and a failure to take into account competing risks.