One of the most obvious solutions to our declining birth rate across the West is to simply pay women to have children. Cash for kids. My main problem with this scheme is that it is also glaringly obvious we don’t want all women to have children, and we certainly are not going to pay cash money for all women to have children. We want the best women to have children, and we should be prepared to pay for that.
But who gets to decide which women are the best, and what happens to the women who don’t make the grade?
Let’s deal with the first issue: who decides which are the best women? There are a couple of worthy questions bound up in this one central idea. What is the criteria for any individual woman to be declared the best? How much money will we be willing to pay? For how long? Who pays? How do we fund this program?
While I cannot embrace the complete freedom political anarchy entails, I do lean towards greater freedom for any individual, and thus I will always prefer the solution that maximizes individual freedom. So my solution for who decides is women themselves decide. My proxy is quite straightforward: educational achievement. The absolute bare minimum for being paid to have children would be a high school diploma, and that is the absolute bottom rung of the ladder. You will get paid whatever the minimum wage is in your jurisdiction. A bachelor’s degree in any of the social sciences, arts or humanities would earn you slightly more than a high school diploma, but not much more, which is reflected by the reality of the labor market, as well. But STEM degrees? Master’s Degrees? Doctorates? Professional degrees like accounting, medicine or law?
As a society, we are better off in both the short and the long run, to take these intelligent, accomplished women and pay them to stay home and have children.Pay them what? The market rate for whatever educational attainment they have acquired. For how long? As long as they are raising their own children, whether they spend six weeks with the child, or six years. The reality is that the overwhelming majority of women would prefer to be at home with their children if they could afford to do so, and the majority of women have fewer children than they would like.
84% of working women told ForbesWoman and TheBump that staying home to raise children is a financial luxury they aspire to.
High school drop outs are not prevented from having children. No one will force women neurologists to have children. Both groups are free to choose as they wish. And once the child-bearing years are over, society is left with a growing population of children from intelligent, accomplished women (who tend to marry equally intelligent, accomplished men), and the intelligent, accomplished woman herself! She can contribute to the marketplace after she has contributed to the society at large by producing intelligent, accomplished citizens to safe guard the future for everyone.
And for women who don’t want to have children? That’s fine. Don’t have children. The gene pool is better off without women who have no maternal warmth or kindness anyways. Good riddance.
This feels like a win-win situation for me. Everyone is free to have (or not have) the exact number of children they wish, and everyone is rewarded for their educational attainments. Oh, wait a minute. No. Everyone is not free to decide this.
Only women are.
How do I adjust my thought experiment to grant men the same freedom women have to decide how many children they would like?