To put those worries out of mind, ask yourself a simple question: Is the remedy for climate change, to the extent we find one, more likely to come from North America or New Zealand? Obviously, the wealthier and more populous America is a more likely source of technological innovation, even though it is also a more significant source of greenhouse gases. So if you think progress in this fight is possible at all, you ought to be betting on the more populous nations. By having more children, you are making your nation more populous — thus boosting its capacity to solve the problem.
Yes, he’s arguing we should randomly have more kids, and thereby intensify all anthropogenic impacts on the planet (including ocean acidification, mass extinction, increased risk of social conflict and competition for scarcer resources), in the hopes that one child might one day develop a solution. Forget taking more sustainable steps, like encouraging smaller families where children get more individual investment to be better equipped to solve our greatest problems. Let’s just roll the dice, grow our numbers, and hope for the best.
Tyler Cohen is actually not that stupid. But he is intellectually dishonest. Why would an economics professor who does not appear to have kids himself, make silly arguments like this? Because he and other elites are stuck in a mindset of unsustainable population growth, or the Ponzi scheme of creating wealth and growing economies by simply adding more people. Tyler does not think that randomly having kids – as opposed to improving educational systems – will solve the problem. He just wants you to have more kids because that fuels the unsustainable system, which is designed to hide and externalize its costs, upon which he and so many misguided economists have built their careers.
Here’s a better idea: Let’s do the most effective thing possible to address all of our ecological and social crises at the same time, and promote smaller, more sustainable families instead.