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At 01:23 PM 18/02/02 +0000, you wrote:
> <There was a time when children *were* wealth. You could use their
>labor to have more children yourself and to make the tribe resistant to
> > Times have changed.>
> They have but not that dramatically. A few months back on the list,
>I believe we touched on research suggesting that the social investment in
>ensuring a child reached an acceptable level of social standing was behind
>the small number of children had by the most highly developed nations. The
>same principle is at work- the average middle class parents can't afford to
>send 6 kids to law school, so better just have one or 2, but if they get to
>law school, they'll be able to to look after the parents in old age, and
>provide for any children they may have at the same standard of living. In a
>subsistence existence, as millions of people still find themselves in all
>around the world, more kids makes sense due to low survival rates etc. etc.
You make many of the points I have considered.
There may be a deeper mechanism at work here.
Social status is (and more important was) a matter of so much importance
not only for the children but the parents that limiting the number of
children to invest more in the status of each of them may have a higher
weight than having more children. Wealth is, of course, a major
contributor to social status.
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