Imagine reading a lead-in to a story that said something like, “For people who are looking for ways to help the economy, here’s one radical idea that could have a big long-term impact, some economists say: Close your business.” To explain further, they might say something even more bizarre, like:
“A study by economists at Oregon State University concluded that in the United
States, the economic impact of an open business is almost 20 times worse than some of the other economic practices people might employ during their entire lives – things like shoe shopping, buying movie tickets, and trading in their ‘clunkers’ for more expensive cars.”
Now, imagine further that the reason that the hypothetical OSU economists had come to such a silly conclusion was because they had looked only at costs. Because the amount businesses spend in the course of their lifetime is more than the amount an individual (excluding Imelda Marcos) spends on shoes, these economists came to the conclusion that businesses were much worse for the economy than going on shoe benders.
You might rightly laugh these “economists” off the stage. After all, businesses don’t just cost lots of money – they make lots of money. Without businesses, there wouldn’t be shoes or movie tickets to buy, and we’d never have developed the flashy new cars which are replacing the clunkers as we speak. Any economist who stayed awake during the first week of class should be smart enough to realize you look at both costs and revenue. And, in fairness to economists, I’ve never seen any obtuse enough to miss this glaringly obvious point.
Neo-Malthusians, on the other hand, are a different beast.
They’re driven not by science, but by something more visceral. Paul Ehrlich gives us a hint what that might be in his Population Bomb, where he talks about how filthy he found South Asia when it was there, and how disgusted he was by all of the panhandlers. This nastiness seems to have been combined with a contraceptive mindset which views children as burdens rather than blessings. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that they’ve tied their horse to the global warming bandwagon:
For people who are looking for ways to reduce their “carbon footprint,” here’s one radical idea that could have a big long-term impact, some scientists say: Have fewer kids.
How radical! How utterly novel! We haven’t seen anything like this in the “population bomb” scare of the 1970s, China’s one-child policy, the eerie brainwash-your-children cartoons of the early 90s (Captain Planet, I’m looking at you), the constant overpopulation drivel from the United Nations (which had to be embarassingly recanted), and so on. No, this incarnation… this is new.
And just what sort of logic or data undergirds this shocking new development? Oh, the usual:
A study by statisticians at Oregon State University concluded that in the United States, the carbon legacy and greenhouse gas impact of an extra child is almost 20 times more important than some of the other environment-friendly practices people might employ during their entire lives – things like driving a high mileage car, recycling, or using energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs.”
So the methodology – look at costs only, like the hypothetical economist above – leads to the shocking conclusion that when a person has kids who sometimes have kids themselves, those future generations of countless individuals … use more resources than a single person! No, really:
When an individual produces a child – and that child potentially produces more
descendants in the future – the effect on the environment can be many times the
impact produced by a person during their lifetime.
They needed a study to say this? Really? 20 grandkids consume more than grandma alone. Goodness me! In Shocking New Study, Scientists Discover Two Is Greater Than One! There’s a theory that a room full of monkeys, over an infinite period of time, will produce Shakespeare. Given an abacus, I think that room full of monkeys could have done better than this.
Of course, what these math whizzes are overlooking is that without human beings, who start out as children, you can’t get to high mileage cars, recycling, or energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs. All those things? Created by brilliant people who started out as children. If there’s going to be a solution to the problem of excessive carbon emissions, or any other problem, it will take some human brainpower, and lots of God-given talents. When we prevent or kill those children because of absurd media hype, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot. This really is no different than closing your business to save money. The fact that statisticians can’t figure out something this basic is scary. You can’t blame OSU, though. With all the kids who’ve been aborted in the last 30 years, their chances of getting really bright minds in their classrooms have been hamstrung. Even a monkey with an abacus can see that.