The Power of People

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:

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Lori Alexander

    It all comes down to selfishness and turning away from biblical principles. It seems more and more people have an entitlement mentality wanting hand outs without working which hurts society. However, if godly parents heed the command to be “fruitful and multiply” and produce godly offspring that work hard, than it helps society. So Christians need to keep on producing! Kudos to you and other big families who raise children who walk in truth and love Jesus.

    • Kath

      Lori, you just spent six months in bed. How is that working hard? Most people would have to go on welfare to do that.

      • Ken

        No, most people who have done things God’s way find themselves like Lori surrounded by loving family and friends who gladly repay Lori for all the love, time and energy she invested in raising a large godly family. Large family’s and a hard working spouse are God;s design for a safety net. “When one falls the other is there to pick them up.” (Eccl 4:10). Lori’s life simply proves the point that large godly familys are the fabric of a strong society.

        • margie

          Biblical principles, Godly Parents “fruitful and multiply” produce godly offspring, so Christians need to keep on producing sounds like words that Hilter spoke to the German people.
          Could that statement be about all people, not just Christians? Do you actually think Christians are the only people who can reproduce and teach moral values and solid work ethics to their children, I am all about teaching my children to be active contributing members in society, all about hard work, financial freedom, but I am also into teaching my children about free thinking. Your words Lori are offensive, The world is a place where people of all religion if they elect should reproduce. Ken, families who are not God Fearing, find support by loving people- Being their for a family or a friend in need is about being a good person, it is not necessarily faith based.

        • Jim

          Certainly there are godly people on welfare, many of them. Spend some time with people on welfare and you will see that. You sound like someone that has no contact with people on welfare. That is why you think they are mostly ungodly.

          It’s important to remember that Jesus helped ALL people, not just those that were worthy, hardworking, Christian, whatever. Those are conditions that YOU have imposed on our duty to help others.

          Jesus didn’t go around saying, “Have you tried to find a job? Are you willing to work hard? Have you lived an ethical life?” He helped everyone, regardless. I can’t imagine him writing a message like Lori’s, about how people are “entitled” or “selfish”. Jesus just wasn’t that into that.

    • Good points, Lori. Thanks for your input!

  • Chris, good for you getting to speak up on Huff Post. Very cool, and well done. I totally agree that in a free society, PEOPLE are the engine of the economy.

  • Chris,

    Great job communicating the importance of the macro economic need of human reproduction. I lived in Japan for 5 years. Japan has entered a downward demographic spiral. It is highly unlikely that they will re-emerge demographically as Japan becomes more and more expensive, and their people’s feeling of duty toward family fades. Sustaining economics and ethnic/cultural population groups requires coherent reasoning. I know that those who think that they are doing a favor to the earth by having one or no children are not looking at the facts. They have not considered the unintended consequences that are obviously destroying potential sustainability of low growth countries such as Japan, Singapore Malaysia and Northern European countries. Chris you are doing a great job compensating for the underpopulaters in our country. Thanks to you and other large families, America has a prayer to keep the sustainable replenishment rate close to 2.1.


    • Thanks Jim! I’m glad Japan came up in the discussion on HuffPo, as well as Hong Kong. These places are tragic because they voluntarily choose to limit their population, as opposed to China who force it.