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The Fair Start Model 

The most comprehensive and effective way to protect kids, animals, the environment, and our democracies is through just and equitable policies that ensure a socially and ecologically sustainable fair start in life.

The Fair Start Model

WHen Communities and governments equitably invest in families.

Parents are empowered and positioned for success.

Kids get a fair start in life.

Why wait for children to come into the world to help them? Why not ensure optimal birth conditions for all children? Governments – pushing population growth over child care – are failing to ensure children’s right to an ecosocial fair start in life.  But that right – to a fair start – is the key to a just world. 

Instead of investing in women and children, through effective collective family planning, governments have used growth policies and the isolation of families to push wealth to the top of societies, taking it from the women and children to whom it should go to. 

That taking fundamentally created the ecosocial crises we face today, like the climate crisis, and taking that wealth back to fund Fair Start reforms and reparations is the most effective way to mitigate the crises.  

Children deserve equitable conditions, right from the beginning. A fair start in life is the first human right – it overrides all others. It is what children are entitled to under the Children’s Rights Convention, and what allows them to eventually be free from the power of others, and truly self-determining.

It is the most effective and just thing we can do with impacts well beyond downstream alternatives. Let’s take back the wealth women and children deserve to make the best future for all. It’s time for truly comprehensive reproductive justice. 

We cannot achieve the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals without more just, sustainable, and equitable family planning systems.  SDGs implicitly demand a reorienting of family planning policies – from a focus on economic outcomes to a focus on what all future children need and are entitled to, like the Children’s Rights Convention

Derived from dozens of published articles, and consistent with the leading thinking on human rights-based family planning, Fair Start Movement has developed the child-centered Fair Start family planning model. The Fair Start Model promotes smaller, sustainable, and more equitable families so that we can all invest more in each child, right from the start.

Nothing else comes close to doing as much good.

HOW FAMILY PLANNING AFFECTS OUR GREATEST THREATS: 

  • Inequality is highly inherited.
    Family planning is the most effective way to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty and related inequalities. Read more.

     

  • Inequality and unsustainable growth are the greatest threats to democracy.
    The most effective way to reduce that threat is through family planning. Read more.
     
  • Smaller and more sustainable families are the most effective way to reduce impact on the climate and animals. Read more.

Fair Start family planning is the most effective way to simultaneously: reduce intergenerational inequalities, strengthen democracy, and preserve healthy planet.

The proven impacts are 10 to 20 times higher than traditional downstream attempts to protect kids, animals, and the environment. The model converts poor and unsustainable family planning into equality, opportunity, democracy, and nature.

Existential Justice and Freedom: The First Obligation  

There is a particular and fundamental mistake in our language and behavior that impedes freedom called the constitutive fallacy, or mistaking the first obligation or principle (the grundnorm) as anything downstream from the norm that should create us. 

Put simply: 

When we have kids the act has to be child-centric and fair because having children is what most determines the fair society we should be orienting form when we are taking that action. Fair Start is thus the first obligation, its praxis means we will be coming from a just place, and is achievable by all means effective.

In other words, before we can have anything like a written constitution, iconic representatives, or lists of human rights we would have had to first be physically constituting ourselves as free and equal people who can self-determine (much the way we would in a popular constitutional convention), relative to an absence of being determined by others, or a zero-baseline / the nonhuman world (e.g., -300ppm sustained GHGs). 

This truly self-determining state of affairs requires, despite our cognitive inclinations, 1) conceptualizing of power as any form of human influence, and 2) temporalizing our conception of human beings to first assess fairness in the first creation – or procreation – of power relations. These moves constitute us as free and equal people by limiting and decentralizing the power other have over us. This form of intergenerational justice subsumes all other forms, including distributive, retributive, and ecological, by factoring them into our creation. To the extent we have considered justice in the abstract we have hidden the fundament – how justice and injustice make us who we are.

How do we know we are moving in the right direction, and that this is happening? Our relative self-determination will be directly inverse to the number of people in our democracies, and those democracies should divide into others at particular thresholds to maintain the baseline, e.g. 0,1, 2….

There is a simple test for whether someone is really accounting for freedom and justice in their language: Do they act as though population growth is inverse to our capacity for self-determination, relative to nature? In other words, do they act as though people matter, and seek to empower the majority – future generations – through family planning reforms that limit and decentralize the power humans have over one another such that we reach qualitative optimal populations? Do they support a discourse where every child’s right an an ecosocial Fair Start in life overrides property rights? In other words, are they part of – or opposed to – constituting just societies? 

This dynamic process resolves the fallacy and unifies values like justice, relative autonomy, nature, freedom, equality, etc. at the most fundamental structure of human power. By seeing freedom as akin to the dynamic emancipation of children, we eliminate false generations of rights that divide values like development and welfare from liberty, and find that truly becoming a citizen requires being – at a minimum – sufficiently other-regarding to constitute future democracies through collective and child-centric family planning. 

Assuring this level of empowerment and equity begins with policies that 1) fulfill minimum levels of welfare approaching birth equity for all future children, as well 2) ensure each child a meaningful voice in their future democracies. This is not about people as numbers, or population. It’s about making people matter, politically, and freeing them from the power – or physical influence from disparate inherited wealth to ecological impacts – of others so that they may actually consent or become relatively self-determining. The closest analogy to this, in our current lexicon, is the freedom to associate.  

We fund these policies by taking wealth (one form of influence) from the top of the economic pyramid as a matter of right, and thus limiting and decentralizing the power others have over us. This is obligatory given the irrefutable facts that 1) this wealth was created using an unsustainable and unjust system of growth that violated multiple human rights like the Children’s Convention, environmental rights, the right to  equal opportunities in life, the right to an influential role in one’s democracy, etc., 2) foisted its costs – including the loss of freedom – on future generations, and 3) is most comprehensively and effectively redressed using #fairstart family reforms and redistribution of wealth as equitable family planning incentives/entitlements. The economic pyramid was built by moving the locus of power and control to the top, rather than forward into future generations, and to preserve relative self-determination must be redirected. Again this is not about population or consumption, it’s about becoming existentially just. 

This shift – which means humans will matter politically – will eliminate the misconception of procreative autonomy in favor of procreative justice. Consider traditional political borders, the line on a map between two nations. Existential justice moves past this archaic conception, towards a real and primary border of human power – our creation, and accounts for how it determines our freedom, or more accurately, our relative self-determination. Our current political borders mask the way true personal sovereignty is directly inverse to growth, and in ways other political models would not

The fundamental difference between preconstitutional systems, like polities and economies, as opposed to legalities, involves the latter limiting and decentralizing power in the constant recreation of their constituents to make obligations relatively self-reflective. That is what it means to constitute. Any policy that does not start with a Fair Start or comparable transition does not come from a just place, is overridden by Fair Start, and is fundamentally illegitimate. The proponents of such policies, precons, will be unable to account for how basic values, like nature, welfare, equity, and democracy, and the actual people impacted, should relate. 

There are many pathways to ensure existential justice, including a simple discourse of constituting ourselves as free and equal people. Regardless, the goal of existential justice is to become part of optimal world populations, qualitatively, that are relatively self-determining and hence free. 

Learn more: 

Why Wait to Have Kids

Why Have A Small Family

Why Work Together

Read our white paper here, and our political theory of change here. 

View the slideshow for a deeper look at the Fair Start model.

Deep Dive into the model

Click to read more.

Fair Start White Papers

Click to read more.

Adopt the model

Families today are starting to live the Fair Start model. 

If you share these values, join the movement. By adopting the Fair Start model you show your commitment to providing a better life for your children and all future generations. TAKE THE PLEDGE

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