Pop a Smint, light some votives, and put on Drake. It’s time to do some planet-savin’. In his new book, Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids, Bryan Caplan, Ph.D., a professor of economics at George Mason University, in Fairfax, VA, offers some interesting reasons we should all take another ride to procreation station. (By the way, he’s a father of three who has eyes on having more—way to practice what you preach, Brother Caplan!)
More people = more prosperity. “People for thousands of years have said that more people means more poverty. That goes against the past hundred years, when wealth and prosperity have exploded,” explains Caplan. “The main reason we are richer is that there are more people, which means more ideas, and more customers to buy those ideas.” Basically, if we have half as many kids, then we lose half the artists in iTunes, and half the people buying iPods.
Do it for Grandma. The reason Social Security and Medicare are in danger is that post–Baby Boom generations are less populated. “The more people paying into the system, the better it is for older generations,” says Caplan. “Anyone having extra kids is doing their parents and taxpayers a favor.”
There’s never been a safer time to be a kid. Children are five times safer than they were fifty years ago. Disease and accidents, historically the two biggest threats to children, have seen a remarkable decline over the past half-century. “The world hasn’t gotten scarier,” notes Caplan. “The media has.”
Parents can afford to do less parenting. Caplan’s book features a ton of research on twins and adopted children. It finds that heredity, not upbringing, has the biggest effect on adult outcomes. “Kids aren’t like clay that parents mold. They’re more like rubber bands that pop back to their original shape.” Understanding your limits can make parenting a less stressful experience. As a wise colleague (and a mom, by the way) once told me, “If your child does everything you tell him to, there’s something wrong with him.”