Yesterday I was on the Huffington Post Live discussing The Cultural and Environmental Impacts of Large Families (see movie at the end of this post). I was one of four on a panel. For 30 minutes we tried to discern whether or not large families were beneficial to the world or the planet.
The panel consisted of two professors (really smart guys who study demographics) and two parents of opposing parenting choices (a New York mother of one, and yours truly, a Colorado father of 16).
Here’s the assumption that I find myself countering yesterday on HuffPo: people are a drain on the economy.
You know what? I totally reject this premise. People are only a drain on the economy if they are not allowed (or empowered) to contribute to society. In fact, here’s something worth tweeting:
In a free society, people are the engine of the economy. [Tweet this]
Micro-economically, lots of people are beneficial
In the panel discussion, I had the opportunity to explain my family at the micro level. I’m the father of 16 children, 14 of whom still live in my home. I’m currently the provider for them, and it would be quick to assume that they are a “drain” on my life. I certainly feel that way sometimes!
But consider for a moment what my life will be like 10 years from now. Currently I have a houseful of teenagers. They’re in the hight of their learning years and just beginning to discover the joy of earning significant money. In 10 years they will all be producers, businesspeople, tax-payers, job wielders, contributors to society.
Collectively, all the people who are currently in my house will be a powerhouse of energy outside my house. The Jeub family will be an incredible community to be a part of. That’s on the micro-level, in the Jeub family alone. Consider what the world would be like if everyone had a large family.
Macro-economically, lots of children would rock
Macro-economically, if everyone had large families, we’d have a roaring economy unparalleled in the history of the world. Every human life would be contributing somehow to the community they are in. We’d have creators, inventors, helpers, doctors, technicians, teachers, etc., etc. Do you catch the vision? I do.
I suspect most people don’t, even parents, some of whom struggle to provide for little ones. Demographers, too, get wrapped up in concern for the poor or destitute in society. In their eyes, more people mean more expenditures. Many people are fixed with this dooming vision: people drain society, and too many people would be devastating.
But I don’t see it that way. A culture rich with people is a powerhouse, especially with a large community of young people. Such a culture seldom has to slow down and think of the destitute or impoverished – they are taken care of naturally through the micro-economic energy of family.
A lot more can be said about this. We barely scratched the surface, but I hope more can be discussed about how people – more kids and bigger families to boot – can help stimulate the economy.
Watch the show below, and let me know what you think in the comment section underneath: