Cribsheet was an excellent read. An economist thinking about parenting is an appreciable departure from the normal books. This quote captures the essence best:
Your choices can be right for you but also not necessarily the best choices for other people. Why? You are not other people. Your circumstances differ. Your preferences differ. In the language of economics, your constraints differ.
When in parenting social media groups or reading blog posts, one of the hardest things is disagreement. The best choice for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another depending on circumstances. This book is more about offering how to think about the problems in a way to assess what is best for you and your spouse and your child.
Oster makes good use of showing how her the circumstances for her and her husband changed between their first and second child. So, expectations set by the first one were not necessarily appropriate for the second. And… that is okay.
At times I wonder if pro-choice is a strategy. Industrialized countries tend to slow their birth rates. We don’t have to create giant families to work farms anymore. As people move into cities, life gets more expensive and harder to independently sustain. And, there is a still trying to be understood phenomenon where fertility drops as well*.
The fertility rate of 1.7 births per U.S. woman also fell 2%, meaning the current generation isn’t making enough babies to replace itself. The fertility rate is a hypothetical estimate based on lifetime projections of age-specific birth rates… If trends continue, experts said, the U.S. can expect labor shortages including in elder care when aging baby boomers need the most support.
Policymakers are facing choices on whether to encourage American families to have more children versus for more immigration to compensate versus in allowing the economy to shrink.
More immigration from the poor nearby countries where people strongly desire to come here is antithetical to conservatives. These are not people who look like the mythical American, so naturally, conservatives are against this idea. This explains why the southern US border is such a battle ground why the far more porous and crossed and overstayed northern US border with a population who looks like the mythical American is fine.
Allowing the economy to shrink is great for solving things like pollution, deforestation, and production constraints. Why does the economy need grow other than increasing wealth? Wealth that accumulates to benefit the 0.1% most. However, not growing fast enough is what puts an economy into a recession or worse a depression. The leaders of our country are rated on how well they keep it growing and employers tend to lay off people at signs of a slow growth. And with automation taking jobs, we need to grow faster to sustain jobs.
Getting American families to use less birth control and eliminating abortions promotes more children being born. More children born could get the birth rate back up to the replacement rate. If the people who have more children resemble the mythical American, then that is the best way to ensure Americans resemble the country conservatives want. Of course, if those children are not the right type, then the country could end up looking wrong anyway.
* My hypothesis is we sense the crowding around us and lower our fertility to not create too many people. If the fertility rate is lower in more crowded cities, then that might confirm that idea.