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I was reading this article on polygamy in the Maasai of Kenya (as well as among other traditional east African groups). The article appeared to suggest that polygamy is quite common amongst the residents of the Rift Valley, and I've heard other accounts of polygamy across Africa in traditional communities. For example, South Africa's president Jacob Zuma has multiple wives in accordance with Zulu tradition.

My question is: how do these societies where polygamy is common sustain the cultural practice? Simple math would appear to indicate that if a significant proportion of men regularly take multiple wives, there will soon be a large population of (presumably) angry single men who would resent and fight against the system, given that humans are born in roughly even birthrates? (Indeed, the natural human birthrate tends towards more males. Yet, I've seen nothing to suggest this being a problem for traditional polygamous societies. Do these societies kick out or kill young men? Is there simply a high death rate for men? How can polygamous society avoid massive social rifts between those with wives and those without?

There is evidence that in the US, this practice exists in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), an offshoot of the of the Mormon Church, or LDS. Men (or boys actually) are kicked out of the community so they do not compete with other males who are "chosen" by the leaders to have multiple wives. They are called "the lost boys".

There are multiple websites about this practice. Here is one article, here is another, and here is one from the National Geographic where an official of the FLDS admits the practice did exist but claim it has been stopped.

closed as off-topic by DJClayworth, Jamiec Jun 25 '14 at 16:55

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

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    There's got to be a stack exchange community that can answer this question, but its not one for here. – Jamiec Jun 25 '14 at 16:54
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    In polygamous societies, polygamy is not available to all men, for the obvious reasons you mentioned but also simply because you must be able to afford it. As such it's not an uninteresting thought but at the end of the day, it's just one more form of the power and wealth inequalities that exist in all societies and historically inequality has not been enough to reliably produce revolutions. – Relaxed Jun 25 '14 at 17:23
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    must. avoid. comment. about. affording. one. wife. – Jamiec Jun 25 '14 at 17:28
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    We are looking for a specific notable claim that you are dubious about. I don't hear anyone claiming all men will be happy under polygamy. (I also remind people to question whether maximising the happiness of unmarried men is a moral imperative.) – Oddthinking Jun 25 '14 at 20:07
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    All the articles referenced seem to make it clear that the effect does happen, making the "why doesnn't it happen' question pointless. However having a scare 'resource' largely 'owned' by only a few people doesn't necessarily make for an unstable society. In the US some people own disproportionately more of another resource, 'money', and there hasn't been a revolution. Yet. – DJClayworth Jun 27 '14 at 15:51