extropians: Re: Life Extension and Overpopulation (fwd)

Re: Life Extension and Overpopulation (fwd)

Robin Hanson (hanson@econ.berkeley.edu)
Wed, 29 Jul 1998 10:19:35 -0700

Duane Hewitt writes:
>... Numerous children serve as cheap
>labor/social security in poor countries. As the wealth increases the
>benefits of the tradeoff of current for future resources shrinks and the
>number of offspring does likewise. Humanity is able to look to the future
>and make decisions based on personal benefit. This reasoning ability
>counters the tendency to breed indiscriminately.

Reason is a servant of preferences. If all you care about is living comfortably, then children can be a burden which wise folks avoid. But if children are a source of joy to you, then you might buy more of them as you get richer. (In econ lingo, they could be a "normal" good.)

Robin Hanson
hanson@econ.berkeley.edu http://hanson.berkeley.edu/ RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884 140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-2627