There was a reason why the joint family system worked, in the past, and there's a reason why the trend ended.
In the past, the patriarch headed the family. He could be the grandfather or the eldest son - he made all the decisions. And nothing could be done without his consent. He 'controlled' everything, including the finances and everybody's 'personal space'. This person's wife was the matriarch – she 'controlled' the household affairs, and the illiterate daughters-in-law and was the intermediary between the family and the patriarch.
Everyone lived in the ancestral property, or in a house that the patriarch provided. Jobs were distributed – everyone was told what to do. There was no say in the matter.
As times changed the sons began moving to bigger towns and cities and setting up their own families. They began dreaming of a bright future, especially for their kids, and the rest of the clan did not fit into this dream. The sons now owned the houses they lived in, they were no longer living in their father's house and were their own bosses.
The wives, perhaps educated, did not like being 'controlled' by a domineering mother-in-law. They sought independence and freedom, after all, it was their home and their family.
Changing circumstances changed the attitude of members within families. Given this backdrop, I don't think the joint family system is healthy, not in today's world. I'll explain my reasons in the next post.
"A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak." -Michael Garrett Marino