Philosophistry: The Love of Rhetoric

Philosophistry is a collection of Philip Dhingra’s musings on everything including futurism, evolution, psychology, philosophy, and self-improvement. You can view my complete essays on Medium, or you can peruse my scratchpad on the site you are reading now. Below is a wiki, and to the left are micro-essays. (est. 2003)

Narrow topics

Cultural Determinism

Evolution of Options

Fermi's Paradox

Gentrification

Global Creative Class

Long-Lasting Self-Improvement Methods New!

Memetic Wisdom

Broad topics

Biology

Democracy

Economics

Psychology New!

Socialism

Wisdom

New Micro-essays

American Power Couples

American-style love is a high-risk, high-reward act that is designed to deliver the power couple. The power couple is the foundation of the American Dream. According to Stephanie Coontz's Marriage, a History, though, this was not always the case. Before the 1950s, marriage was more commonly like a business partnership. Marriage was meant to combine properties, forge alliances between family trees, and to divvy up responsibilities for actual businesses, such as farms. In the business marriages of the 1800s, both husband and wife were farmers, just with gender-specific roles.

A key upside to power couples, besides the intrinsic rewards of that kind of arrangement, is a higher investment in child-rearing. Power couples, which are couples that can easily spend many hours together, also happen to spend more time raising children. Primatologists and biologists have long examined the correlation between high parental investment and intelligence. Children who are raised with power couples will have more hours at the dinner table, with both parents sharing lessons from life and work. Or if the parents are pedagogical, then the power couple will spend more hours tutoring children or helping them with their homework.

Another benefit is the professional synergies that arise with a partnership compared with a sole proprietorship. If the workforce is steering towards creative work, for which America is the avant-garde, then a couple that is tightly integrated with each other's work will perform better than one that is not. The benefit of tight integration isn't obvious in most settings: it's often better to have a detached couple, where each partner is not distracting the other. But the upside to synergy is unlocked when placed in the context of creativity. In America, all work is at least pseudo-entrepreneurial. For example, getting key promotions often requires a team effort, where the whole couple networks as a unit with the higher-ups in an organization.

The upsides for power couples are inherent in the name: a power couple has more power. The downsides are that the conditions for succeeding as a power couple are steeper than a functional couple. To form a power couple, you typically have to find your "soul mate," which is often compared to searching for a needle in a haystack. Those who pursue the power couple path and fail may end up losing out on coupling in general.