Friday, August 17, 2007

The economics of parenting

I came across a couple of really tough articles via Instapundit. I've known for a while that being a parent is pretty hard stuff and that it is getting to be very hard to raise kids, I know I worry about things my parents didn't, and I am censoring myself just by talking about it.

This is worth a little compare and contrast.

From Pajamas Media:

Piano lessons, tutoring, art classes and vacations to Europe can all be very enriching. But they become nothing more than highlights on a resume when they are forced upon a child whose life is completely controlled and scheduled.

From TCS Daily:

Parenting was always hard work, of course. But aside from the economic payoffs, parents used to get a lot of social benefits, too. But in recent decades, a collection of parenting "experts" and safety-fascist types have extinguished some of the benefits while raising the costs, to the point where what's amazing isn't that people are having fewer kids, but that people are having kids at all.

There are a lot of downsides to having children. DINKs have been around for a while but not all that long in the grand scheme of things. It isn't just the economics that are bad it is all the small and petty annoyances that really get you.

The money quote has got to be this one:

NPR reported this month on “competitive birthing,” an example of wealthy families choosing to have many kids because they view it as a status symbol. While higher incomes have historically led to smaller families, in the past 10 years the number of rich parents having three or more kids has increased by 30 percent.

That is bucking a trend that has been around for a good long time, but I guess it isn't a surprise. It used to be if you were rich you wanted pale skin because that was a status symbol of saying you didn't have to work outside. When a large portion of the population moved to the city and office work and everyone was pale then the status symbol became having a really good tan. The symbols change over time as the middle class follows the symbols, so now it is birthing.

I would not call this a good sign for our society.

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