Re: Aid to children

Michael S. Lorrey (
Fri, 03 Sep 1999 12:12:05 -0400

Bryan Moss wrote:
> Phil Osborn wrote:
> > Not quite what I had in mind. What reasonable court would recognize a
> > contract signed by a six-year-old? Obviously, for a contract to be valid,
> > the signatories have to be capable of understanding the terms.
> Exactly, which is why I call it slavery. Kids as property.

This doesn't parse. The traditional concept of slavery was one of a prisoner to work off debts to society or to the individual(s) who were damaged by the individual or his associates. Such prisoners could be sold on a market, but it was a matter of the market value of their indenturement, not of their persons. Granted this concept was distorted by plantation owners in the southern US, and the whole intercontinental slave trade in general, who felt that if you paid to raise a slaves child, the child was also indentured to you... you could also look at it as a monopoly of employment opportunity which would only be economically viable so long as that sort of employment were the lowest cost solution.

In the issue of treating minor children as 'slaves' or 'property', nothing could be further fromt he truth. Just because you are their guardian and must make most of their decisions for them does not make you their master or their owner. Its a false analogy, which is disproven if you take the case of an adult who is judged incompetent, either due to medical condition that leaves them physically or mentally unfit to make their own decsions, like a coma, or schitzophrenia, etc. Just because you are their guardian does not make you their owner. On the contrary, for anyone who has been in such positions it feels more like they own you. My family is going through this right now with my mother's parents, one of which is quite senile, while the other is merely a senior citizen version of a spoiled brat.

Now given my earlier description of a slave market, where oh where is it legal to sell your children or other legal dependents????? Case closed.

> > On the other hand, our hypothetical mutual fund local agent would tend to
> > know who the responsible families were in the area, and the family would
> > be drawn into the contract, I'm sure, in most cases. This might involve
> > some kind of backing or commitment from the family in the early stage,
> > when there would be a lot more kids than money or investors, but as
> > competition for the kids increased, the deals would get better, until the
> > family might itself be offered a signup bonus, and the parents, extended
> > family, etc., made general fund members, paid in shares. Many incentives
> > that would bring the maximum incentive to bear on the family come to mind.
> Parents are the weak link in our chain; we need to remove them as early as
> possible and replace them with someone who has a genuine (economic) interest
> in the child. To begin with the best we can do is offer good money for
> children, soon after we might contract women to give birth to wholely owned
> children, and eventually we would grow them in labs (or farm them if you're
> looking for an appropriate visual image). I want child welfare to be an
> systematic process of our economy without interference by parents who expect
> more than dividends.

Oh shit. As much as I would have applauded this when I was a child, now that I'm an adult I can clearly say that the kind of decisions I made as a child clearly demonstrated my unfitness to be treated as an adult. What children need is parents who ACT LIKE ADULTS, something which I see as sorely lacking in the current baby boomer generation of parents. Children don't need to be adults, their parents need to be adults.

> > The local data and expertise is fairly crucial, as the micro-loans program
> > suggests, as is collective responsibility. The kid could not be forced to
> > honor the contract later on, but it would probably be very much in his
> > interest to do so, as his share value would be a bankable asset in getting
> > loans or future investments. He would no more be likely in most cases to
> > disallow the original contract than any corporation would be to basically
> > commit suicide and let the share prices go to zero.
> I would suggest that the child can be forced but it would, in most
> circumstances, not be in the best interest of the share holders.

So now you guys are advocating not only an inbred fealty to the state welfare apparatus, but teach them to not honor their contracts either. I now know at least two people IMNSHO should NOT be parents.

> > To extend the range of discussion just a bit, one of the major problems
> > with our society and most world societies is the utter failure to bring
> > the family into the 20th Century, or even the 19th Century, much less the
> > 21st. Families used to be economic units. Parents invested in children
> > and expected a return - i.e., care in old age. That gave them a major
> > incentive to have healthy, smart, productive, responsible kids. When the
> > industrial revolution caused the breakdown of that economic unit, the
> > incentives were also largely lost.
> While I agree that child welfare and education should be in the form of
> economic units I think the current family model is too restrictive. I would
> like to see room for more exotic methods of parenting. I recently read an
> article by Judith Rich Harris at that stated that children are not
> conditioned by their parents but by their peers. While this confirms my own
> beliefs I do not think the conclusion - that children are genetically
> inclined to learn from peers - is true. In my opinion the family unit is
> not rich enough to support the intellectual growth of a child. If I am
> wrong and the family unit just happens to be the most wonderful environment
> possible for children then it will gain economic favour.

And where do one's peers get their conditioning? Leaving the children alone to create their own spontaneous conditioning will result in nothing but the recreation of a cro-magnon era form of cultural conditioning. Children get their conditioning not from one's immediate peers, but from their elder peers, their older siblings and sibling's friends, as they are typically the 'hero' of immediacy to a child. And where do their elder peers get their conditioning? From trying to act like adults.... This Ms. Harris sounds like another Margaret Meade...

Mike Lorrey