According to one stream of feminism, the economic system of businesses selling goods and services for money, the system of government, and the social institutions of marriage and family, are all aspects of the same thing—patriarchy.
It just goes to show—even feminists can be right sometimes!
The political mainstream, however, has accepted or acquiesced in the feminist attack on the patriarchal family, while seeking to maintain some kind of government and approximately captalist economy. Without the understanding that the government and economy are also aspects of patriarchy, they are not able to see the contradiction in their position.
The capitalist economy is built on men learning trades and working at them consistently and reliably. That, for young men, is a painful distraction from the important business of seeking women to have sex with. What made it work historically was the social arrangement by which women needed to be supported by men, and a woman would only have sex with a man if he was going to support her and their children. Combined with the cultural and legal restriction that a man could only have one woman, it meant that nearly every man could get a woman to have sex with provided he got a steady job, and very few men could get it without a steady job.
If women can support themselves with their own job, or be supported by the state, they do not conform to the system. Rather, they seek out the most attractive men. The result is that many men can get multiple women, with or without a reliable job, by working on the women rather than on the job, and many other men cannot get women, even with a reliable job. The incentive to work goes away.
The crucial effect of patriarchy is therefore the control of men, by preventing them from getting sex without binding themselves in a family. Women must be denied independence because independent women will have sex with men, removing the incentive for the men to form families. Note that even in the middle ages, some women could have a productive career—provided they became nuns, and so could not use their independence to have casual sex or short-term relationships.
Even prostitutes are less disruptive to patriarchy than other working women, because prostitutes charge for sex, and therefore do not entirely absolve their clientèle from earning resources beyond their own support.
The question of the relationship of prostitution to patriarchy is a controversial one within feminism: most seem to feel that prostitution is aligned with patriarchy more than free female promiscuity, but they are unable to explain why—because they do not see that the most important end of patriarchy is the exploitation of men by women. Female promiscuity destroys patriarchy because it removes the need for men to work to support women.
The cultural habit of working reliably does not disappear immediately once female promiscuity became widespread and socially acceptable. It takes a few generations for men to realise they are wasting their time by working to provide for a wife who is probably never going to exist or who will divorce them in five years. That process is well underway by now, however.
A man whose father and grandfather had careers will quite likely seek one for himself, even today. A number of such men will take the easier option of chasing loose women instead, however. A man whose father did not have a steady job is, in today’s environment, very unlikely to seek one himself. Without the example having been set, it will appear to him, understandably, to be a huge sacrifice for little reward. Thus the proportion of married men falls, and whole communities collapse into permanent non-working zones. (Note that a “marriage” where the man does not work to support his wife, but the wife works, or they live on state handouts, is not a patriarchal marriage: it does not have the same economic import).
When attention is given to the phenomenon of chronic unemployment, it centres on the immediate causes of joblessness—which may be transient economic phenomena—not on the fundamental change in incentives which is what prevents the equilibrium from being restored after it has been disturbed.
In a prosperous society, a normal young man has few material needs, and is able to supply them relatively easily, by hustling, petty crime, government handouts and episodes of casual work, without learning a proper trade and setting out as a highly productive contributor to the economy. If he can do that and get women, there is no reason for him to make sacrifices.
Working a steady full-time job is one sacrifice; living within the expected social constraints of a high-density civilisation is another. An aspect of the anarcho-tyranny exhibited by the modern state is that those with property and careers are subject to ever-more stringent rules on what they can say, what business they can do, what size of drinks they can buy, and what time they can put their rubbish out for collection, while large chunks of the population can steal, vandalise, intimidate and both figuratively and literally piss all over their neighbourhood while being practically immune from any kind of control. This anarcho-tyranny is not a matter of policy; it emerges because a man who has no permanent home and family can easily walk away from any trouble the state is equipped to cause him. The relatively free and open societies that we live in developed under the norm that a healthy, capable man would either have a family or be working to make one, and therefore the relatively inefficient and unwieldy mechanisms of civilian police and fair trials, respectful of strangers’ rights, were sufficient to keep him from excesses of anti-social behaviour.
Is it possible to restore patriarchy? Is it necessary? The capitalist-patriarchal system is not the only one possible. A slave society, for example, can exist without patriarchy—if men can be compelled to work, and are subject to immediate and severe punishment, then there is no need to bind them to careers with families. Alternatively, if the society is so poor that actual survival is a struggle, men will work to live.
Maybe the economy can be maintained merely by the work men and women do just to support themselves. That is a fraction of the productive effort that men make when they have to support families, but we have automation now; it might be enough, but it doesn’t solve the problem of anti-social uncontrollable rowdies—a totalitarian level of enforcement would be required to pacify men not tied to families. That could either be 20th-century-style state totalitarianism, or a clan-based totalitarianism where unmarried men are under the close control of their extended family.
It is not fundamentally necessary to keep women dependent on men for support. The fundamental necessity is to prevent promiscuity and large-scale polygyny, either of which destroys the social environment which traps most men in families. If monogamy could be practically enforced without patriarchy, that would solve the problem of controlling men. It leaves possible problems of low birth rate and dysgenic selection, but it is not out of the question that they could be managed. However, the observation that cultures with the strictest sexual mores tend also to be more patriarchal suggests that it might not be possible to maintain monogamy without patriarchy.
These, then, are the choices: Patriarchy, sexual puritanism, totalitarianism, or subsistence-level poverty. Pick one.