Parag Khanna’s recent push in Time to make mobility a human right in light of lower fertility rates and ageing in many nations seems well-intentioned. It’s certainly better than the legions of men crying out against a baby bust, as they urge women to have more kids to serve as cheap future labor and taxpayers. But Khana shares the same fundamental value with those men: Economic growth. And he places that over values like nature, equality, and participatory democracy.
The wealth of the past several decades was made and placed in the hands of a few, according to one Nobel Laureate, by externalizing its costs on future generations. It was made by not requiring environmental regulations that would have prevented the climate crisis, and not ensuring that all children enjoy birth and development conditions consistent with the Children’s Rights Convention. Our priority should be to regulate and provide in this way, in part by compensating future generations through family planning entitlements, before we turn to mobility.