Recently Money Magazine published an article describing tactics on how to meet and marry a billionaire (http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/19505458/). This article mentions organizations that serve to procure women for men.
Patti Stanger, the CEO of MillionairesClub123.com charges the man $10,000 to $150,000 to find a suitable woman.
Of course, the service is not supposed to actually be a case of pimping out prostitutes. Stanger does not claim to be providing the man with a sexual encounter. What she offers is a selection of women suitable for marriage. To her credit, she does tell women to “date for love.” However, she also is careful to tell people to do their dating in a “rich pond.” Her reason is practical-if you marry a rich toad and he loses his money, you are stuck with a poor toad. Of course, if what matters is love, then it seems odd to use her service. As many philosophers have argued, great wealth is often incompatible with good character. This is because the means of acquiring wealth either destroy good character or are not compatible with it. Also, if the true goal is to find a good person, why should a woman only limit herself to the very rich?
Janis Spindel, who owns Serious Matchmaking, charges men a mere $20,000 for her services. In return for this fee, a rich man will be introduced to a pool of suitable women. Women who want to land a rich man will need to fill out an application or pay to meet with her or an assistant. Once a woman is accepted, she is on the market and available for acquisition-presumably for the right price.
On the face of it, these services seem a bit morally questionable. That this is so can be shown by considering the following: Suppose that Bill pays Patti to procure Betsy for him. In most such transactions, we have the following terms for these roles: Bill is the John, Patti is the madam/pimp, and Betsy is the prostitute. Naturally, this sort of transaction seems morally questionable. This is because it treats a human being as a commodity to be used for financial gain.
It can be replied that the marriage services are not like whorehouses. After all, the women are freely participating and they are not being sold as sexual objects to men by a madam or pimp. Instead, the company is being paid (very well) to provide men with the chance to find a suitable woman to marry. It is up to the woman herself whether she wishes to marry the man. This can be seen as analogous to corporate head hunting: just as a rich CEO pays a company to find suitable employees for his business, a rich man can pay a company to find a suitable woman to marry.
It is tempting to argue that this approach transforms marriage into an economic matter-finding a wife is like finding an employee. Love, one might argue, should not be sullied by such economic machinations.
An obvious reply to this is that love has as much to do with marriage as it does with business-that is to say, none at all. Marriage is essentially a legal and financial contract. If you doubt this, consider the nature of divorce. Assuming economics is what marriage is truly about, then these services make perfect sense: just as a CEO wants the best employees money can buy, a rich man will want the best wife that money can buy.