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Children aren’t worth very much—that’s why we no longer make many - Quartz

Stashed in: life, anxiety, economics, Freakonomics

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culturally expected resource flows children wives

So why did people used to have children? It’s hard for us even to imagine, but children used to be valuable—they used to be much more like slaves or farm animals, which are both very valuable. They were also treated much more like slaves, with patriarchs (at least) maintaining distance from children, as Caldwell notes. Consider the history of the study, compared to the lowly and shameful “man cave,” for a sense of the old style of family relations. A wife was not only a valuable RealDoll, but also a valuable slave factory. Making a new “person”—on which the state has claims, but you do not, and toward whom you have (class-dependent) obligations—is a much less economically attractive proposition than making a new slave.

Average cost of raising a child: $245,000


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