Friday, March 27, 2009

Happy Baby-day!

I'm an aunt, again!

Is this not the cutest newborn little fellow you ever did see?

Doesn't he only faintly resemble a frog?

David and Margaret have produced a wonderful little spawn. I like him awfully. He used to be in our Rock Band group, the Opportunity Costs.

So now, let's talk babies: babies are cute, but not much else. I mean, what can you do with a baby besides just say how cute it is and hold it? Maybe as a paperweight, but as Matt said in the DC sketch...they'd only get their nastiness everywhere. Maybe because people think babies are supposed to be paperweights, they aren't having very many of them. Right now the US is teetering on a 2.1 fertility rate. No good, guys, no good. Margaret and Dave are doing their part--are you?

Dave and Margaret will be suffering lots of costs in terms of accounting-type baby expenses--itty-bitty widdle blankies and itty-bitty widdle clothes--for the next 18+ years, but they also will be making sacrifices (or opportunity costs) to take care of baby Olan, such as not working ridiculous hours at their jobs, and not investing all those would-be baby expenses in, say, Vodafone.

So in thirty years, some people will have mature Vodafone stocks and other people will have mature Vodafone employees, shelling out dividends for those people who didn't have children. Shouldn't parents get some sort of compensation for the opportunity costs of raising children, which have such a positive externality on all us single, old cat-ladies?

Especially since the people who would be losing the most by way of opportunity costs (the people who have jobs, who have educations and would be willing to spend money on their babies' health, education and happiness) are the ones who are likely to raise productive little members of society instead of the people who have low opportunity costs to raising children who might not (and this is an extremely stereotyped conclusion, so please forgive me) raise the best Vodafone executives?

(Disclaimer: Yes, this argument is totally backing up the whole Marxist production view of the family, but look at the cute picture of the baby! Of course I'm grateful for baby Olin for more reasons than just he's going to be making me money someday...he's awful cuddly looking!)


Jennifer said...

Is it Olan or Olin? I'm familiar with neither name, so I'm genuinely confused. You know where I stand on the baby front (just say no applies to more than just drugs), but if it makes you happy, most of my fellow grad students here are reproducing away.

Makayla said...

I'm no longer confused. :)

Marcee said...

Last night on KARE 11 (I love local news) they reported an impending "Baby Bust." What with that woe-ful economy and everyone's glass-is-half-empty attitudes and what not people aren't booming with babies, they are busting. All I can say about the American people is fickle, fickle, fickle.

Dave and Margaret said...

Excellent post Mary. It inspired us to clone Olin here and now so every additional child will be pushing that 2.1 in the right direction.

You know it's funny, I remember reading an essay in Dr. Pope's Environmental economics class that argued that babies are a negative externality and likened them to the tragedy of the commons. (ie Selfish, fertile people have all the fun of raising kids and they consume the resources that I, an unselfish, infertile person might want to consume. Or let a Koala sustainably consume.)

I think the difference in our opinions goes to a disagreement over how creative humans are. In some people's minds humans just take stuff and ruin things until there's nothing left and then die. (Hence population growth is a form of pollution.) In my mind humans are, as Julian Simon argued, the "ultimate resource."

They find things that are "useless" and find uses for them (oil, uranium) that generally improve the amount of happiness of most organisms on planet earth (I say most because certainly small pox isn't very happy as a result of human ingenuity.)

Oh, and by the way, Olin is the preferred spelling.

Speaking which, I'm going to go make sure that my baby is keeping that stack of papers on my desk.