Western Economics Meets Chinese Culture: The Result Is ‘Corpse Brides’

Lucia Bill, North Star Writers Group (Byron Center, Michigan), August 20, 2007

As The Economist recently reported, in China tradition demands that a man be buried with his wife. If an unmarried male passes, he too must be buried with a special lady friend and the burial ceremony will bind them together forever. How can you ensure that you too will cross over to the other side with your better half? Depends on how much you are willing to pay.

Grave-robbing has found a new market: Corpse brides. However, to satisfy the exponentially growing demand, the necro-matchmakers are now turning to a new source of the dead—the living.

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In one case, a man strangled six women for sale as corpse brides because it was just more economically sound. These “wet” goods, as new corpses are called, fetch up to 10 times as much as the “dry” ones, or about $4,000.

According to the BBC, in India, the practice of female infanticide is taking another disturbing turn as increasingly wealthy provinces are continuing the practice. The economic argument that insisted that girls are harder to raise, do not contribute as much to the household and cost the family much when at the marrying age is not as relevant. Consequently, the contemporary budgeting in an Indian household is the 50,000 rupees to give the in-laws for raising a girl versus the 500 for an abortion.

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