Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How to have more kids

Nope. The Population Dept has got it wrong again. Throwing more money at the problem of a shrinking population, and now endorsing paternity leave as well won't lead to more babies... though it might lead to even less.

It has always been a resource problem. We've always thought of money as being the resource that we lack, but that's not it at all. The scarcity is not in the money but in the children themselves. In truth, there are a lot fewer children than there is money to spread around.

Couples today aim to stop at two, or one, or have none at all. In fact, what is happening is that we are artificially restricting the supply of children. Because children are scarce, they come at a premium. Suddenly the price of having children has skyrocketed. Now we can never save up enough to send our sole little precious to school and see him (or her) grow up with all the luxuries his or her little heart desires. And for some of us, we feel WE don't deserve even one child because we'll never be able to work hard enough to ensure that our child will grow up to live the life HE or SHE deserves.

As my kids in discussion shockingly observed: in the past, respect went to the eldest in the family and trickled down through the hierarchy. However, these days, mommy and daddy have become slaves to their kids. Is it any wonder that we have little desire to serve yet another Pharaoh in our household? We're already slaves to our jobs in the morning and when we do manage to escape home we need a break. Oh, wait, Junior's there. Damn. I'd rather stay at work. At least my boss looks like a boss. Please don't make me take paternity leave! I'm serious!

If we really want to encourage our people to have more kids, we need a mindset change for couples to start having kids indiscriminately. Every household norm should have seven or eight kids whom we can then view as disposable commodities. Multiple redundancy drops the value per kid to near zero. If one kid screws up or dies or something, there's always another to replace the faulty product.

Economies of scale would mean that they all share the same toy, clothes, food, and they don't even have to go to the best schools. That's because whether they study and be educated or not, it's their lives and not my problem. Out of the many, all I need is one good kid -- if I'm so lucky -- and the rest, well, good luck to them. If I work hard, the money goes to me. Conversely, if you don't work hard, don't come crying to me for a handout. The next population campaign should go: Kids aren't precious -- have as many as you like!

When we live in the First World, it's easy to overlook the simplest of solutions which our Third World neighbours are so much wiser to.


masterofboots said...

I had exactly the same thought just now, hearing my neighbour's kid scream away while holding on to his fantastic scooter.

Min Seah said...

bet he'd be a lot more considerate if he had to share his scooter with 6 or 7 other siblings.