Friday, August 03, 2007


Make Love And War

Econlog had a post on The Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids last week and the Economist had a post on Children as a Public Good. One positive social and selfish good that was overlooked is using population growth strategically in war as a signal to stave off aggression. The Make Love and War argument.

Population has always been a major component of war. The ideas of chivalry and sending men off to war and not women probably comes from the fact that the number of women in a society ultimately determines the upper bounds of potential population growth and ability to recover following a war.

Low population growth is viewed as a weakness by al Qaeda types and is a very big part of why they attack us.

Make the world safer by having more babies! In the interest of national security, we could create a tax holiday for households who have a baby in the 9-12 months following any significant terrorist attack.

This has three important impacts: 1) Increase in population growth, 2) A shift in timing of population growth that could send a powerful signal, and 3) Most strongly incentivizing childbirth for higher income (and, therefor, IQ and productivity) households.

It makes clear both the futility and absurdity of al Qaeda, and highlights the strength of the higher value given to women in the west and the higher proportion of women in our population.

Simply adopting a like policy could impact birthrates and fight terrorism by making it clear that even the mere thought of violence by a potential terrorist will cause ten more western women to get pregnant.

Safety in numbers you know.

One negative, which I hope is quite small, is that, primarily in the lower middle class, it would lead to bad long-term decisions to achieve a short-term gain.

It also presents as a type of social engineering policy, typically frowned on, in a more acceptable framework (tax cuts and national security).


Tyler Cowen on Traffic

Knowing that I'd eventually breakdown and buy Tyler Cowen's new book, I pre-ordered and participated in his personal-podcast experiment.

I asked Tyler what he thought about my contention that gas taxes, like cap and trade, could lead to traffic problems and increased gas consumption. He graciously responded here.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?