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November 09, 2009



What has having irrational wishes to do with having rights related to the wish? For instance, it could be irrational to assign a high value to owning a home (relative to renting), but that doesn't mean we shouldn't respect property rights.

Clive King

Any discussion of this subject would need to be informed by the number of children born as a result of a decision to have children and the number of children born only as a decision to have sex.

The later being driven by short term non-financial need.

Guido Fawkes

This article reminds me why economics is known as the dismal science.


"irrational to have children"??

Only if you identify rationality with maximizing "happiness". That's far from clear.

Mike Woodhouse

"Why do people not eventually adapt to having children"

Because children aren't constant. Just as you start to adapt to them they change the rules and make you miserable all over again. Financially usually, but not always. Why don't parents complain more? Too bloody tired.


Given that, even in the UK married couples with children are an absolute majority of those with children, why should their activity be seen as irrational. Children increase well being for married couples, so they go on and have children. Where is the irrationality?

Chris Allison

I suppose the fact that every cell in our body is programmed to reproduce itself must outway rational thought!



I think the answer lies in the fact that the act of having kids changes the subject of the question "am I happy". Because once you have kids, the question is never just about you any more. It changes the self, to be pretentious about it.

The question to ask is: does becoming a parent increase the wellbeing of you and your kids as they come to exist? And I find the answer is always yes.

That also suits the genetic imperative to reproduce, of course.


From experience I have found that parents complain more when they are constantly tired out from caring for/running around after children. It makes sense that children cause less unhappiness to parents who are older and more highly educated because the former would have less to do as their children would be able to care for themselves and the latter can buy in services such as cleaning, gardening, childcare, private medical and education etc.


Isn't it rather irrational to be expect humans always to make rational decisions, particularly in cases (as with reproduction) where their decisions are so very clearly driven (largely if not entirely) by powerful instincts?


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Nicole S

People without children may state that they are happy but they don't know what they are missing. The rewards of being a parent are not visible until you become one, but the penalties seem obvious to all.

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Yeah I am agree with you Nicole. There is life without the children. Children makes our life colorful. They remember us our childhood. I have 2 children. We are just coming back from London via LMT.

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And a lot of it reflects a switch from bank deposits to securities; foreigners “other investments” in the UK, http://www.watchgy.com/ mostly bank deposits, fell by £143.2bn in Q1. And of course there’s no guarantee such buying will continue.

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