Re: The Poor Masses

Alexander Chislenko (
Thu, 26 Sep 1996 22:42:20 -0400

At 03:17 PM 9/26/96 -0700, Hara Ra wrote:
>Back to basics, folks. Every country which has a good standard of
>living, where survival in one's old age is not dependent on the
>number of one's offspring, has had a slowing of population growth.
>In the USA, we would see a population decrease if there were no
>immigration. If the Extropian vision is a positive one, the goal will
>be increased quality of life for one's children, which will always
>be costly, and increasingly so.

This is a well-known correlation, but not necessarily a causal
connection; demographers tend to use statistics as the basis for
reasoning, instead of the other way round.

In a rural setting, children are not much of a handicap to one's
personal and economic progress; in the urban environment, they are,
as parents have to work far from home, children in the city need more
supervision and protection; education in the city is different from
just helping parents in their work - which turns a child's education
process from an increasing assistance to parents to an increasing
burden, free natural playgrounds are replaced by little constructed
ones that come at a cost, etc., etc.

Such factors determine people's decisions regarding the optimal
number of children - but they are all reflections of the structure
of the economic life of a family, rather than appear as direct
consequences of its productivity.

If you return parents into their homes - and closer to nature -
with telecommuting, allow children to attend virtual schools or just
download knowledge into their heads, use intelligent machine to
increase safety, and make a few more structural adjustments, then
the most advanced - including economically - households may find it
much easier to have more children, and the correlation between
family prosperity and size may change.

Alexander Chislenko <>
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