If you are not familiar with the reality show Love Island it is a simple closed economy experiment. Here being in one half of a viable breeding pair (“coupled up”) at critical time points is the key to continuing in the show. The ultimate objective is post show economic success through internet stardom and vast product endorsement revenue.
At each critical time point existing couplings are neutralised and either males or females take it in turns to select their partner for the next round. (“recoupling”). Unpaired contestants are removed from the competition (“sent home”).
There are normally an irregular number of males and females, meaning that at any given time at least one person is working hard (“grafting”) to destabilise the status quo. This is in the hope of making it through the next recoupling. A constant consideration is whether contestants target their efforts (“crack on”) with a single partner or divide their available resources over several.
Recently there has been a small oversupply of males. Due to relative scarcity competition forced the value of females up. Without material goods to offer this has been demonstrated in the level of attention paid to them – compliments, fetching drinks, satisfaction surveys and so on. The market has been allowed to mature with this imbalance. The females have become used to receiving lots of this kind of attention and now consider it the norm. Males being relatively cheap, the equivalent price being paid for them as part of a couple has been low. This established trading pattern continued even when removal of the male over supply restored the balance to neutral.
At strategic points in time disruption is caused by changing resources. Usually this is in the form of additional bodies into the otherwise closed market for partners. The new additions are desperate for fast market share because they do not know where the next critical coupling point will be. They therefore generally work hard and offer enticements or payments not currently supplied by the incumbents.
Earlier this week 2 new females were introduced. The oversupply of females reversed the market, as now there is a scarcity of males. The value of females has crashed, the value of males has risen. The new females came in well prepared to pay high prices for male attention. Males quickly identified that the new additions may have resources to offer which their existing associations did not.
Market incumbent females initially reacted with displeasure, then some made attempts to lock in the existing male-female trading partnerships through verbal exclusivity agreements. There has also been efforts to cartelise elements of the female supply side by becoming apparent friends (“besties”) with the new females.
Over the next few days expect to see the females actions fully reflecting a new higher value of males, and the males recognising their current high worth and the low value of females.
Love Island is on ITV2 most nights for the next month or so.