Utah State University

Overcrowded Earth?

Reading chapter 13 of Friedman’s Law’s Order has left more confused than when I began. While many of the ideas are interesting others seem absurd. Friedman take distinctly different approaches to the topic of “Marriage, Sex, and Babies” in respect to economics. While I am not ready to formulate a concrete opinion on the bulk of the chapter, pg. 186 contains something very interesting to me.

Friedman discusses the idea that many have that babies are a bad thing in the sense that the world is overpopulated. Reading this my mind immediately went to an episode of The Office where Dwight says something to the extent of we need another plague because their are way to many people on this world. As Friedman put concisely, “The argument starts with the idea that more people mean less resources for each–less land, water, minerals, petroleum, and the like.” He continues to conclude that although more people may generate  more externalities (both positive and negative) these are all pecuniary. I completely agree.

Although good arguments can be made for any issue (not only political, economical) it does not mean it is the only argument or viewpoint that has validity. While more children may mean more money for schools, government programs, and my toll on the environment not having new children means less taxpayers into the welfare system, less overall production in the near future, and benefits as well. Ultimately Friedman sums it up best saying, “one must show not merely that there are some negative effects but that the net effect is negative”. And even then more than a simple majority or “red” negative effect must happen for new restrictions to be justified.

Comments are closed.