The Industrial Revolution of the 1800s kicked off America’s race to automation and gave us the gift of gadgetry. Yet, despite exponential advancements in technology, we continue to lose the lifeblood of this system – affordable housing, efficient transportation, available land, and other means of production.
“But can’t we just make more stuff, find more land, and regrow the economy the old-fashioned way, until everyone has what they need?”
Nope, not this time.
There’s no growing our way out of this quagmire. We need a new way entirely, one that acknowledges – and eliminates – the logical flaw of expecting infinite growth in finite conditions with finite resources.
We realize this is no simple task, but every complex project starts with small, attainable steps in the right direction.
Those with the family-planning resources – and luxury – to do so can start by having fewer biological children. According to a new study by Lund University of Sweden, “having children is the most destructive thing a person can to do to the environment.” By having fewer kids, we can stretch the value of our legacy – our family wealth and resources – so that the next generation has a fighting chance.
Slowing population growth also helps redress the issue of inequality. In even middle-class families, it’s too common to find parents struggling to get by paycheck to paycheck. Every generation basically starts from scratch each time, with minimal access to higher education and no financial resources to ease the transition into adulthood. Inheritances are modest, rarely stretching past the adult children to the grandchildren, and saving for retirement is always too little, too late.
Currently, only the wealthiest families can get ahead. They can afford the best housing, food, healthcare, and transportation. Their children can enter adulthood unencumbered with higher-education debt and free to explore family-funded entrepreneurship. It takes money to make money, and these powerful dynasties continue to gain the upper hand.
The deck may be stacked against the average family, but we can play our cards smarter. We can make better, more realistic decisions. Until money grows on trees, our best bet is to reduce our expenses by having fewer children and investing more in the ones we have.
This 21st, start a dialogue with your family about the benefits of pooling our resources. The isolated nuclear family of the ‘50s has proven to be a total bust, and it’s time to bring our “extended” family back into the fold.
By limiting population growth and uniting our families, we have more time, money, and energy to dedicate to our entire clan, immediate and extended alike. We can create culturally rich networks of family members who can support, raise, and teach each other.
- Are you a parent? You can discuss how the pooling of limited resources – when combined with reduced demand for those resources – provides much more leverage against the current dynastic system and offer greater returns.
- Are you an aunt or uncle without kids? You can talk about the importance of the special parenting role you play, and about the ways you can financially and emotionally contribute to the next generation’s success.
- Are you a grandparent? You’ve survived so much and gained so much wisdom, and you’re in a great position to give your time and teach good life skills.
We realize that there are tax considerations for having children, and not all families get along. However, the fact that something may be challenging doesn’t mean that it can’t be the most worthwhile decision of your life.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime gift. You have an opportunity to teach money-management skills to your family’s youngest – and most vulnerable – generation. You have a chance to strengthen or rebuild your entire family network, opening new lines of communication, trust, and familiarity. You have an excuse to finally turn those relative strangers into your closest-knit kin. And you have a reason to support the development of better policy that rewards sustainable family-planning decisions.
If saving our planet doesn’t light a fire under you, let your bottom line motivate you. Put a unified plan into motion today. Take that first step toward creating and securing your family’s dynasty and empowering those kids – while enjoying the perks of having more by doing less.