It’s not the economy, stupid

Someone says “The thing about an increasingly childless economy is that it has major implications for consumption.”

No, that childlessness has economic implications is not the thing. That our economy, society, and culture in their present state discourage people from having children, that is the thing. Moreover, the habit of mind that casts a shortage of children as “an increasingly childless economy” is part of the reason so few people are having so few children.

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4 Replies to “It’s not the economy, stupid”

  1. I don’t get how someone can use the word “consumption” like that without a trace of irony. Do they not hear themselves?

    On a mostly-related note, I don’t think the fundamental reason people have fewer kids is because the economics are prohibitive. I think there’s a step before that, that leads people to consider economic (and other) concerns more heavily. That is, we’ve put the burden of proof on coming up with reasons to have kids, rather than on reasons not to. Even in church,* I’ve heard people start a parenting class with, “So, now, what are some good reasons to have children?” I was by far the youngest there, so I didn’t say what I was thinking. “Um…when a couple gets married, they…you know…and then, um…didn’t we cover this in health class?”

    *What’s that supposed to mean exactly?

    1. “we’ve put the burden of proof on coming up with reasons to have kids, rather than on reasons not to.” Yes, well said.

  2. This reminds me of the Darwin Catholic blog’s tag line: “Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don’t survive.”

    Even deeper and darker: we don’t seem to believe, in general, that our own lives mean anything in themselves, but rather are given meaning by what we do and have. Therefore, we’re compelled to make sure our children – if any – have and do everything. And if we can’t or don’t want to supply that, we don’t have the kids.

    1. And in the view of the author at The Atlantic, raging materialism becomes a problem when it interferes with — wait for it — consumption!

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