Author Topic: Are you concerned with American decline?  (Read 7411 times)

Hash Brown

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #50 on: September 09, 2021, 06:46:44 AM »
People have been saying the U.S. is in decline for my entire lifetime, yet the S&P has exploded in value by 10x since I was a freshman in high school.  In another 20-30 years the China scare might be forgotten in the way people pretty much forget the Japanese ravaging of the American machine tool industry, its challenge to American automakers, etc.   

China faces profound demographic challenges thanks to the one child policy.  Its ability to create robust overland trade with India will require the biggest engineering accomplishemnts ever - somehow tackling the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayas with an array of record-smashing bridges and tunnels that will take decades to build.   

The United States continues to attract huge numbers of the best people from various parts of the world, especially India and East Asia.  We do need to somehow encourage more native-born Americans from wealthy families to have more children and to quit waiting until they're 38 to have their first one.   


Abe

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #51 on: September 09, 2021, 07:27:21 AM »
The other good thing going for the US is we have a large pool of docile working-class people (as in they donít expect much from either the government or employers) that seem happy to hand over any hard-earned gains to people rich enough to invest in various companies, hoping to one day get some crumbs from that pie. I donít something like that would fly in most of Western Europe or developed parts of Asia.
LOL at the idea that Americans get "crumbs". It's one of the countries where workers have the most disposable income in the world, right after Switzerland and Norway.

I indirectly wrote about this last year:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/so-you-want-to-move-to-europe-a-reality-check/

Relative to the top earners, they do. Relative to other societies probably not. However, the two other examples have a much better safety net. Disposable income in the US is somewhat misleading because it doesnít account for planning for emergencies, which is expected of individuals rather than the government in this country.

ChpBstrd

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #52 on: September 09, 2021, 07:36:19 AM »
We do need to somehow encourage more native-born Americans from wealthy families to have more children and to quit waiting until they're 38 to have their first one.   

To do this, the U.S. would have to:

1) Prevent localities from enacting zoning measures and bureaucratic obstacles in an effort to create housing scarcity and prop up home values. Good luck losing the votes of most homeowners in HCOL areas with a sweeping anti-federalist command from the federal level, which could then cause a foreclosure crisis. Democrats depend on these voters so it'll never happen. In the meantime, nobody's raising a 3-child family in a $3k/mo studio apartment.

2) Increase funding for scholarships so that young people can start families instead of starting debt payments on five or six-figure education mortgages. This would have to be done in a way so that the college and university duopolists are not incentivized to further increase their costs by adding more features and bureaucratic bloat, as they have done with subsidies in the past. Republicans would prefer people not go to college, so this will never happen.

3) Change the healthcare system to something more like any other developed country, instead of an extortion racket. Paying 3x as much for healthcare and periodically losing access to healthcare when between jobs drains the resources of would-be American families, creates chronic health conditions due to lack of treatment, and leads to the sort of economic uncertainty that persuades couples to stay on the pill perpetually a little longer. Republicans and moderate Democrats are competing for lobbyist dollars from the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, so this will never happen.

4) Expand the education system to include kids younger than kindergarten. This would free up women to participate in the workforce while having 2, 3, or even 4+ kids if they want to, thereby stabilizing the population. But because it has a "cost" that may not be made up for by tax revenue from all these working women and the effects of their spending, this will be seen as a new thing that will require higher taxes. Republicans will never agree to higher taxes on their constituents to pay for a "nanny state" so it will never happen, except perhaps in a few Democratic strongholds where the costs of housing and higher education deter family-making anyway.

So, in a nutshell, various political special interests and economic rent-seekers have become so entrenched that they've become able to block reforms across the economy and extort huge percentages of middle-class and poor incomes, thus discouraging family formation. Lobbyist money mean that none of the 4 reforms listed above could possibly even make it into today's Overton Window.

This is how empires die and how revolutions form. The people eventually get sick of their escalating costs and the entrenched interests that block reform, and then begin to support destruction of the entire system. What's bizarre in the U.S. case is how (1) people still vote against their interests, in response to advertisements, and (2) our individualistic reaction to broken, extortive systems is an attempt to work even harder to pay ever-higher costs, rather than to organize political opposition, while (3) directing our frustrations at the institutions of democracy while simultaneously refusing to participate in it.

Hash Brown

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #53 on: September 09, 2021, 08:00:15 AM »
To do this, the U.S. would have to:

Idiocracy just turned 15, and in the opening scene, a yuppie couple keeps explaining why it's not the right time to have kids while the trailer parkers keep pumping them out.  People who have no money or stability don't hesitate to have kids while people who are professionally employed tend to hesitate like crazy. 

I'm not sure that anyone predicted this back when oral contraceptives were developed back around 1960s.  I expect that they hoped for the complete opposite. 

maizefolk

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #54 on: September 09, 2021, 08:47:43 AM »
People who have no money or stability don't hesitate to have kids while people who are professionally employed tend to hesitate like crazy. 

This isn't universal but it does seem to be a rather strong trend. I wish we knew more about the actual root causes.

@ChpBstrd, would it be fair to summarize your list of ways to increase the birth rate as "lower housing costs, free education, free health care, free childcare"? Because I agree all of those are barriers to having children, but if we look at many parts of Europe that have those things, birth rates are still low (and even lower if you discount children born to immigrant mothers) and continuing to decline.

So while those policies very well might move the needle, it seems to me like the european datapoints indicate they clearly aren't the whole explanation, nor would they be enough to get us back up to replacement rate levels of fertility.

Now on a global level, we're in no danger of having a shortage of humans in the next couple of generations. But it would still seems like a shift that would benefit from greater study as we try to envision what a high standard of living society might have to look like to sustain its population from generation to generation without a dependence on immigration from countries with much lower standards of living.*

*I'm very much pro-immigration, and in my lifetime I see no problem with immigration as a solution, but ideally (if climate change doesn't kill us and we don't nuke each other) someday all those countries with low standards of living and hence high bird rates are going to turn into societies with high standards of living and, extrapolating from current trends, below replacement birth rates.

ender

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #55 on: September 09, 2021, 10:56:39 AM »
People who have no money or stability don't hesitate to have kids while people who are professionally employed tend to hesitate like crazy. 

This isn't universal but it does seem to be a rather strong trend. I wish we knew more about the actual root causes.

It's not that hard to figure out imo. I think there's tons of various causes though.

It's expensive to have kids if you are a dual income family. If you go from dual income to single income, it now is still expensive and you lose an income.

Professionally, having a kid is awful because you trade a major something for the chance to be a parent career wise. Maybe it's income, maybe it's time, you definitely sacrifice something huge in order to have kids and work professionally.

Kids are fucking exhausting and many people who feel incredibly empowered by not having kids because they basically can do whatever they want with their lives.

Birth control is easy and available for folks with money/resources.

We don't live in a society where having kids literally keeps you alive in older ages.

And the internet has made it so people can find out about more lifestyles that aren't the stereotypical "everyone just gets married and has kids and buys a house" lust that has been the American dream for some time. There's still a stigma about it but it's a lot less of a stigma than it would have been in years past.

But basically it's become a lifestyle choice and tradeoff analysis. And, candidly as a parent myself who probably wouldn't have kids if I could go back and change my past? It's one a lot of people realize isn't worth it.

Hash Brown

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #56 on: September 09, 2021, 11:00:53 AM »
This isn't universal but it does seem to be a rather strong trend. I wish we knew more about the actual root causes.

With all of the chatter from the left-leaning press like NPR regarding economic inequity, you'd think that they'd make some connection between large inheritances and low to zero offspring.  I had a teacher in high school who claimed that he had 64 first cousins - only the very largest estates might trickle down to someone born into that situation.


Quote
*I'm very much pro-immigration, and in my lifetime I see no problem with immigration as a solution

Immigration "solves" some problems but issues with native-born professional class Americans remain.  I am not a fan of this writer for several reasons, but this column is germane to this subject: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/opinion/motherhood-baby-bust-early-parenthood.html

PDXTabs

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #57 on: September 09, 2021, 12:44:14 PM »
The other good thing going for the US is we have a large pool of docile working-class people (as in they donít expect much from either the government or employers) that seem happy to hand over any hard-earned gains to people rich enough to invest in various companies, hoping to one day get some crumbs from that pie. I donít something like that would fly in most of Western Europe or developed parts of Asia.
LOL at the idea that Americans get "crumbs". It's one of the countries where workers have the most disposable income in the world, right after Switzerland and Norway.

I indirectly wrote about this last year:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/so-you-want-to-move-to-europe-a-reality-check/

But that thread is about people living in the USA and this thread is about companies that are listed on the US stock exchanges, I think. Along those lines the USA kicks ass if you are in the top part of the income distribution (I don't know where to draw the line, but definitely the top 10%). But the USA sucks a lot if you are in the bottom 10%, it sucks way more than Scotland for example. Along those lines a couple years ago my maximum yearly spend for healthcare for my family (premiums + work contribution + OOP max) was $38K USD. That's insane. It's an insane drag on the economy and also an insane tax if I wasn't so highly paid. I could say similar things about US college tuition compared to some of our competitors. I can speak at length about how ridiculous US immigration is. Also transportation and other infrastructure. If you add all of those things up I absolutely question the competitiveness of the USA compared to Canada, Germany, Mexico, etc going forward.

But if US companies are going to move some of their operations into Canada and Mexico, I'm not sure that it matters for the average investor.   

caleb

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #58 on: September 09, 2021, 01:05:44 PM »
But basically it's become a lifestyle choice and tradeoff analysis.


@ChpBstrd, would it be fair to summarize your list of ways to increase the birth rate as "lower housing costs, free education, free health care, free childcare"? Because I agree all of those are barriers to having children, but if we look at many parts of Europe that have those things, birth rates are still low (and even lower if you discount children born to immigrant mothers) and continuing to decline.


I suspect that beyond the quantifiable costs of having lots of kids that can be dealt with through policy/redistribution, there's the more nebulous reality that having 4+ kids is going to dominate your life no matter what. 

With couples who are both working 40-60 hours a week, there's no amount of financial help that's going to make it feel like something doesn't have to give.

Beyond all the monetary costs, lots of people appear to value their careers for non-financial reasons more than they value having a big family.  There's no realistic government subsidy that looks like it would change that.

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #59 on: September 09, 2021, 01:41:08 PM »
I have 6 kids, so definitely at the far right end of the bell curve on family size in the US (households of 7+, i.e. 5 or more kids, represent about 1-2% of US households). It was a very conscious decision early in our relationship that my wife was going to be a stay at home mom and I needed to be able to provide for our family on a single income. We didn't have a specific number of kids in mind but certainly planned on more than the typical 2-3 (which seems to be changing to 1-2 for many families). That meant making trade-offs about buying a house, buying newer cars, taking vacations, eating at restaurants, etc. Kids are expensive. Not so much the feeding and clothing them, but the fact that we live in a 5-bedroom house instead of a one-bedroom apartment. We own a large van that gets 10 miles per gallon to fit 8 people - many of whom are in car seats. We choose to send our kids to a private school (luckily after 3 kids it's free). We could certainly fit everyone into a 2-3 bedroom apartment and use public schools, etc. but we choose to spend our money on the most important thing which is family and education. 

Even with the government throwing money at us with child tax credits, that's not really a factor for us. It's certainly nice not worrying about paying income taxes even if I make $100k+ - but that didn't affect our decision-making. There's no economic argument that says having kids is a good idea. Lots of countries are trying to encourage people to have children - most with minimal success. Going from 0 to 1 is a total disruption of your lifestyle. 1 to 2 or 2 to 3, not quite as much. A few thousand dollars a year doesn't replace the opportunity cost of a full-time income over multiple years - even at a relatively low wage. 

So unless you have a lot more people embrace a culture of life, instead of a culture of death, I don't think the needle will move back in the other direction on population growth. It will continue to decline and world population will probably peak in a few decades. The US will be later than most countries just because of immigration, but some countries like Russia are already experiencing declining population. With the demographic issues in most of Europe and east Asia many other countries will be close behind - even places like China and India due to imbalances in their sex ratio from decades of sex-selective abortions (both are at about 110 males for every 100 females). https://statisticstimes.com/demographics/countries-by-sex-ratio.php

former player

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #60 on: September 09, 2021, 01:47:01 PM »
I strongly resent the implication that not having 6 kids is the same thing as embracing a "culture of death".

You have just lost a fuck ton of respect from me with that comment.


maizefolk

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #61 on: September 09, 2021, 01:51:39 PM »
I suspect that beyond the quantifiable costs of having lots of kids that can be dealt with through policy/redistribution, there's the more nebulous reality that having 4+ kids is going to dominate your life no matter what.  ... Beyond all the monetary costs, lots of people appear to value their careers for non-financial reasons more than they value having a big family.  There's no realistic government subsidy that looks like it would change that.

That aligns with my own nebulous thinking as well. Which leads to some really strange hypothetical worlds of the future centuries from now (again assuming the planet doesn't kill us or we don't kill each other) if our natural state as a species, given education and options, is that fewer of us want devote large fractions of our lives to having and raising children than it takes to hit replacement rate.

But again, for at least the next century or two we've no shortage of total people in the world and lots of intelligent and motivated young people from around the globe are still be up for moving to the USA if we let them. I think it is something under appreciated by many people who live in the USA full time just now different America is in being defined by a set ideas and culture much more than a specific ethnicity or group of ethnicities. Means we're much better positioned to carry on as a country based on immigration than many other places.

Immigration "solves" some problems but issues with native-born professional class Americans remain.  I am not a fan of this writer for several reasons, but this column is germane to this subject: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/opinion/motherhood-baby-bust-early-parenthood.html

Yes, as that article highlights, there is a lot we could do to make having children less stressful and more practical for people in the USA. And I'm not saying we shouldn't do those things. Just that even if we did, the evidence from elsewhere in the world suggests it wouldn't be enough to hit replacement rate.

I don't know that there would be anything actionable to it. It would be interesting to know the statistics specifically for 2nd generation or later professional-class americans. FWIW, it does look like education has a modestly U-shaped effect on total fertility, with women with a PhD/JD/MD having an average of 1.5 children over their lifetimes and those with a bachelors 1.3 so the results might not be what one would initially predict.


Paul der Krake

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #62 on: September 09, 2021, 01:53:33 PM »
The other good thing going for the US is we have a large pool of docile working-class people (as in they donít expect much from either the government or employers) that seem happy to hand over any hard-earned gains to people rich enough to invest in various companies, hoping to one day get some crumbs from that pie. I donít something like that would fly in most of Western Europe or developed parts of Asia.
LOL at the idea that Americans get "crumbs". It's one of the countries where workers have the most disposable income in the world, right after Switzerland and Norway.

I indirectly wrote about this last year:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/so-you-want-to-move-to-europe-a-reality-check/

But that thread is about people living in the USA and this thread is about companies that are listed on the US stock exchanges, I think. Along those lines the USA kicks ass if you are in the top part of the income distribution (I don't know where to draw the line, but definitely the top 10%). But the USA sucks a lot if you are in the bottom 10%, it sucks way more than Scotland for example. Along those lines a couple years ago my maximum yearly spend for healthcare for my family (premiums + work contribution + OOP max) was $38K USD. That's insane. It's an insane drag on the economy and also an insane tax if I wasn't so highly paid. I could say similar things about US college tuition compared to some of our competitors. I can speak at length about how ridiculous US immigration is. Also transportation and other infrastructure. If you add all of those things up I absolutely question the competitiveness of the USA compared to Canada, Germany, Mexico, etc going forward.

But if US companies are going to move some of their operations into Canada and Mexico, I'm not sure that it matters for the average investor.
Well Abe and I went into a tangential discussion about labor's share of profits, which, true, isn't really what we're discussing here.

You are right to question the competitiveness of the USA over the long term, infrastructure is a big problem, immigration is a big problem, healthcare is a big problem, yes, all of this is true and needs adressing.

Top software companies still hire a shit ton of people in San Francisco and Seattle even though they can (and do) pay 30-50% less in a couple hundred miles North in Vancouver for the exact same job in their satellite offices. It's possible that they are all being idiots, in which case where are the competitors making a killing on this arbitrage opportunity?

Ultimately it boils down to this: advanced economies are very complex machines that provide a lot of efficiencies, and that is inherently valuable. Outsource the lower value add jobs to less developed countries: it lets them get their feet wet, while you focus on the stuff you are better at. This creates a perpetual mechanism where everyone progressively ratchets up their level of specialization, increasing standards of living everywhere. Specialization is good.

vand

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #63 on: September 09, 2021, 02:16:22 PM »
I'm not in the US.. and not at all concerned with question postulated in the OP.

Over time I think it is inevitable that the US will at least lose much of its dominant position. All countries go through phases of waxing and waning political, military and economic influence.  In fact, they are doing it to themselves as they continue to live well beyond its means and becomes more and more indebted.. however it won't matter until, well, until it does matter. 

The reality is that the US operate much more like Europe today in terms of how its government works, implementing welfare programmes left right and centre. The fabric of US politics has become a far more Left vs Right debate than it was ever traditionally - it used to be said that the traditional Red/Blue colours were interchangeable between the two main parties... but somewhere in the last couple of decades that has gone out the windows, and everyone knows what is meant by Red States and Blue States.  as it operates more like Europe, you should expect it to experience more problems of stagnant growth that Europe is familiar with - Capital is not in the hands of the best capitalists.

However, the one thing, maybe the only thing, that the US still has going for it that could preserve its position as the pre-eminent power is that it is still a country where entrepreneurship is alive and thriving, moreso than virtually every other major economy. So yes, while they do have increasingly big problems,, dysfunctional federal government and enormous debt burden, they are also extremely good at redefining the game of what is possible - big problems, but big solutions.  As long as that is true then I think there is still a good shot that the US will retain a similar level of global influence.

PDXTabs

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #64 on: September 09, 2021, 02:27:03 PM »
Top software companies still hire a shit ton of people in San Francisco and Seattle even though they can (and do) pay 30-50% less in a couple hundred miles North in Vancouver for the exact same job in their satellite offices. It's possible that they are all being idiots, in which case where are the competitors making a killing on this arbitrage opportunity?

My full time day job is tech on the west coast. I think about this a lot. I talk to other people in the industry about it. I think it boils down to:
1. A critical mass of talent
2. A huge pile of VC money
3. The freedom to hire/fire at will with zero government oversight
I hear that this is different than say Berlin.

But over the next 80 years I strongly suspect that the US west coast will no longer demand a premium on tech talent.

mistymoney

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #65 on: September 09, 2021, 02:37:54 PM »
I strongly resent the implication that not having 6 kids is the same thing as embracing a "culture of death".

You have just lost a fuck ton of respect from me with that comment.

I was reading along and just suddenly was - what the hell does that even mean?

What is a "culture of death"? I don't get it. Is it a reference to birth control? abortion? Living a child free life by choice and then you die? I've not a clue.

former player

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #66 on: September 09, 2021, 02:40:16 PM »
I strongly resent the implication that not having 6 kids is the same thing as embracing a "culture of death".

You have just lost a fuck ton of respect from me with that comment.

I was reading along and just suddenly was - what the hell does that even mean?

What is a "culture of death"? I don't get it. Is it a reference to birth control? abortion? Living a child free life by choice and then you die? I've not a clue.
Maybe he thinks anyone who hasn't had 6 kids must have had 6 abortions instead?

caleb

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #67 on: September 09, 2021, 03:02:43 PM »
I suspect that beyond the quantifiable costs of having lots of kids that can be dealt with through policy/redistribution, there's the more nebulous reality that having 4+ kids is going to dominate your life no matter what.  ... Beyond all the monetary costs, lots of people appear to value their careers for non-financial reasons more than they value having a big family.  There's no realistic government subsidy that looks like it would change that.

That aligns with my own nebulous thinking as well. Which leads to some really strange hypothetical worlds of the future centuries from now (again assuming the planet doesn't kill us or we don't kill each other) if our natural state as a species, given education and options, is that fewer of us want devote large fractions of our lives to having and raising children than it takes to hit replacement rate.


Beyond finances, I suspect the actionable policies would need to be around alleviating the zero sum game between children and career for people, especially women.

A policy allowing every full time worker to cut back to 50% time at 50% pay for some period of years (7-10?) without losing rank or advancement would probably go a tremendous distance toward allowing people to have both a large number of children and a career.

Regulating employers to make them absorb volatility and some inefficiency just isn't the American way, though.

ChpBstrd

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #68 on: September 09, 2021, 03:16:55 PM »
To do this, the U.S. would have to:

Idiocracy just turned 15, and in the opening scene, a yuppie couple keeps explaining why it's not the right time to have kids while the trailer parkers keep pumping them out.  People who have no money or stability don't hesitate to have kids while people who are professionally employed tend to hesitate like crazy. 
Perhaps the trailer parkers have solved the equation for affordable housing and now have the resources to support larger families? Maybe it's the career professionals in trendy suburbs working long hours to pay for empty bedrooms who are on a never-ending and meaningless hedonic treadmill. The trailer parkers are accomplishing a life goal and creating a legacy, while the yuppies are simply burning time and money. Who is really smarter?

People who have no money or stability don't hesitate to have kids while people who are professionally employed tend to hesitate like crazy. 
@ChpBstrd, would it be fair to summarize your list of ways to increase the birth rate as "lower housing costs, free education, free health care, free childcare"? Because I agree all of those are barriers to having children, but if we look at many parts of Europe that have those things, birth rates are still low (and even lower if you discount children born to immigrant mothers) and continuing to decline.
Housing is extraordinarily expensive compared to income in many parts of Western Europe, and the unemployment rate is routinely above 10% in multiple Western European countries. The social safety nets are often better than in the U.S, and transportation is more affordable, but it appears lots of people still struggle to afford tiny apartments. The same could be said of Japan and South Korea.

Still, people made due and had large families in the past, even amid all sorts of uncertainties and with tiny housing. Perhaps the real issue isn't the lack of an empty bedroom or seat in the SUV that a kid could occupy, it's that people value other things more than having kids - namely money and stuff that can buy us individually-enjoyable experiences. We take for granted that there was a time when one could work their ass off and still not enjoy air conditioning, automotive travel, fancy restaurant food, electronics, or resort vacations. In that world, people's joy was expected to come from other people in their proximity, which is a value set juxtaposed with our current status quo of expecting joy to come from imported manufactured objects, tech devices, or the aspiration to live in a prestigious "gated community" where the neighbors in this supposed community don't even know one another and contribute nothing but their purchase price. Those of us aspiring to FIRE expect our joy to come from having more autonomy over our time, which is itself a modern luxury, enabled by financial products which didn't exist a few generations ago. Bottom line, it's all about us. We're more individualistic than ever before, and more skeptical that collectives like families can work out. The concrete and immediate sense of reward we get from money and stuff seems a more solid bet than hoping to feel more satisfaction than disappointment about prospective kids someday.

I might edit my laundry list of proposed changes with a caveat: These changes can only reduce the relative cost of having a family versus other directions one can take with one's time/money. The changes would persuade more people on the margins to have more kids. However, just as getting a coupon does not guarantee I will buy something, these discounts will fail to close the gap for some number of people. For those who simply don't value the idea of having a large family, a large family will never be cheap enough, just like a Rolex will never be cheap enough for me to buy one. It is what we value, not just price, that determines what we pursue.

I have 6 kids, so definitely at the far right end of the bell curve on family size in the US (households of 7+, i.e. 5 or more kids, represent about 1-2% of US households). It was a very conscious decision early in our relationship that my wife was going to be a stay at home mom and I needed to be able to provide for our family on a single income. ... That meant making trade-offs about buying a house, buying newer cars, taking vacations, eating at restaurants, etc. Kids are expensive. Not so much the feeding and clothing them, but the fact that we live in a 5-bedroom house instead of a one-bedroom apartment. We own a large van that gets 10 miles per gallon to fit 8 people - many of whom are in car seats.

Here's an example of someone who is optimizing for something other than FIRE ***OR*** hedonic consumerism. @Michael in ABQ is trading both wealth and luxury for the experience and consequences of having a large family. It's a lifestyle choice, just like FIRE is a lifestyle choice, working until you're 70 to buy a new car every 3 years is a lifestyle choice, and so on. A consumerist might criticize Michael's lack of lifestyle luxuries, a person dedicated to hardcore FIRE might criticize his finances, and Michael might criticize them both for living their lives for the sake of money and stuff instead of surrounding themselves with unconditional love. This imagined disagreement illustrates something Adam Smith noted centuries ago - all value is relative.

caleb

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #69 on: September 09, 2021, 03:36:42 PM »
Top software companies still hire a shit ton of people in San Francisco and Seattle even though they can (and do) pay 30-50% less in a couple hundred miles North in Vancouver for the exact same job in their satellite offices. It's possible that they are all being idiots, in which case where are the competitors making a killing on this arbitrage opportunity?

My full time day job is tech on the west coast. I think about this a lot. I talk to other people in the industry about it. I think it boils down to:
1. A critical mass of talent
2. A huge pile of VC money
3. The freedom to hire/fire at will with zero government oversight
I hear that this is different than say Berlin.

But over the next 80 years I strongly suspect that the US west coast will no longer demand a premium on tech talent.

As an outsider, I'm very curious what the tech giants look like in 10, 20, 30 years.

It seems like so far the financial rewards for workers have been enough to overcome lots of downsides (HCOL, an always-on culture, age discrimination), but will that continue as the industry matures?

Does working at Google gradually become more like working at General Electric or Goldman Sachs, and the NASDAQ start acting more like the DOW?

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #70 on: September 09, 2021, 04:05:06 PM »
I strongly resent the implication that not having 6 kids is the same thing as embracing a "culture of death".

You have just lost a fuck ton of respect from me with that comment.

I was reading along and just suddenly was - what the hell does that even mean?

What is a "culture of death"? I don't get it. Is it a reference to birth control? abortion? Living a child free life by choice and then you die? I've not a clue.
Maybe he thinks anyone who hasn't had 6 kids must have had 6 abortions instead?

I'm glad you've given me the benefit of the doubt here. But to answer your original question when I refer to a "culture of death" I refer to abortion and the general idea that life is disposable if it's not wanted. This applies to assisted suicide as well. I realize that has nothing to do with demographics and population growth but it's the same side of the coin. If someone think it's ok to end a life in the womb they probably think it's ok to end the life of someone who is sick or old - or allow a third-party to do so. I am Catholic and so I believe that all life should be protected from conception to natural death. My wife and I embrace life which naturally leads to having children every few years. I realize that is a fringe view in society today, and even more so on this forum which tends to lean left. However, I'll leave it at that. This isn't in the off topic forum so I see no need to rehash those debates here. I have my beliefs, you have yours, and we can continue discussing if the US is in a long-term decline that will affect investment prospects going forward. As the saying goes: "demographics is destiny". I think the US has a better destiny in this regard than most of the world so I am not as concerned about long-term decline - at least not within my lifetime and investing timeframe.

ender

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #71 on: September 09, 2021, 04:14:19 PM »
Top software companies still hire a shit ton of people in San Francisco and Seattle even though they can (and do) pay 30-50% less in a couple hundred miles North in Vancouver for the exact same job in their satellite offices. It's possible that they are all being idiots, in which case where are the competitors making a killing on this arbitrage opportunity?

My full time day job is tech on the west coast. I think about this a lot. I talk to other people in the industry about it. I think it boils down to:
1. A critical mass of talent
2. A huge pile of VC money
3. The freedom to hire/fire at will with zero government oversight
I hear that this is different than say Berlin.

But over the next 80 years I strongly suspect that the US west coast will no longer demand a premium on tech talent.

As an outsider, I'm very curious what the tech giants look like in 10, 20, 30 years.

It seems like so far the financial rewards for workers have been enough to overcome lots of downsides (HCOL, an always-on culture, age discrimination), but will that continue as the industry matures?

People have been lamenting the death of high paying US/California based tech jobs for decades.

It hasn't happened, yet, and will probably happen someday.

But tech salaries across the world are skyrocketing too. Many of the bigger tech companies have offices abroad too so geoarbitrage for wages could have been a thing - and is in some ways - if it was much less profitable.

Another consideration is how few tech companies pay all in cash. If you're paying stock, in some ways that is "free" to a company as it's not actually cash they have to provide. It's counted for accounting purposes, but not from a cashflow perspective.

Paying an engineer $250k if it's $150k cash/$100k stock is a lot cheaper from a cashflow perspective than it seems initially.

former player

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #72 on: September 09, 2021, 04:14:31 PM »
Well I for one am not prepared to let go the assumption that someone who thinks a woman should have the right to control what happens to her body probably thinks it's OK for anyone to kill people who are sick or old.  I think your prejudices are showing when you try to make that equivalence.

I never hear of the "pro-life" crowd being similarly fanatic about opposing the death penalty.  That's a death cult if ever there was one.

PDXTabs

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #73 on: September 09, 2021, 04:23:58 PM »
I never hear of the "pro-life" crowd being similarly fanatic about opposing the death penalty.  That's a death cult if ever there was one.

wut?

But perhaps this isn't the best thread for this discussion. Or maybe it is: see my previous comment that the union is going to tear itself apart.

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #74 on: September 09, 2021, 04:44:15 PM »
I strongly resent the implication that not having 6 kids is the same thing as embracing a "culture of death".

You have just lost a fuck ton of respect from me with that comment.

I was reading along and just suddenly was - what the hell does that even mean?

What is a "culture of death"? I don't get it. Is it a reference to birth control? abortion? Living a child free life by choice and then you die? I've not a clue.
Maybe he thinks anyone who hasn't had 6 kids must have had 6 abortions instead?

I'm glad you've given me the benefit of the doubt here. But to answer your original question when I refer to a "culture of death" I refer to abortion and the general idea that life is disposable if it's not wanted. This applies to assisted suicide as well. I realize that has nothing to do with demographics and population growth but it's the same side of the coin. If someone think it's ok to end a life in the womb they probably think it's ok to end the life of someone who is sick or old - or allow a third-party to do so. I am Catholic and so I believe that all life should be protected from conception to natural death. My wife and I embrace life which naturally leads to having children every few years. I realize that is a fringe view in society today, and even more so on this forum which tends to lean left. However, I'll leave it at that. This isn't in the off topic forum so I see no need to rehash those debates here. I have my beliefs, you have yours, and we can continue discussing if the US is in a long-term decline that will affect investment prospects going forward. As the saying goes: "demographics is destiny". I think the US has a better destiny in this regard than most of the world so I am not as concerned about long-term decline - at least not within my lifetime and investing timeframe.

Maybe my memory is failing me, but don't you work for the U.S. Military?

FIPurpose

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #75 on: September 09, 2021, 05:55:18 PM »
I never hear of the "pro-life" crowd being similarly fanatic about opposing the death penalty.  That's a death cult if ever there was one.

wut?

But perhaps this isn't the best thread for this discussion. Or maybe it is: see my previous comment that the union is going to tear itself apart.

I think recently (within the past 5 years?) both California and Nebraska have rejected repealing the Death Penalty statutes. So it's not a clearly left or right thing, though I know a lot of Evangelical protestants that are "pro-life" but also for the death penalty. Granted a lot of those people are in the South east US, but being "pro-life" despite being in the name itself doesn't lead everyone to conclude that the death penalty should be included in that.

I actually think this is something where politicians are more likely to be against it, but the people are more for it. (the Nebraska Legislature had enough votes to repeal the death penalty over a veto, but the people led a referendum to re-instate it) For politicians especially governors, it can stir up a lot of emotions and moral dilemmas, and then there's the problems with simply being able to even carry them out. It's a terrible process and most politicians who have actually seen the process at hand generally seem to be against it. I think voters tend to think of that 1 really, really evil serial killer that they think deserved it and don't want them getting a "lax" life sentence, without fully considering really how often the state executes innocent people.

It's one of the few laws that politicians today truly seem to have a better understanding on than the voters at large, but voters are easily scared into keeping it.

Hash Brown

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #76 on: September 09, 2021, 06:47:52 PM »
Perhaps the trailer parkers have solved the equation for affordable housing and now have the resources to support larger families? Maybe it's the career professionals in trendy suburbs working long hours to pay for empty bedrooms who are on a never-ending and meaningless hedonic treadmill. The trailer parkers are accomplishing a life goal and creating a legacy, while the yuppies are simply burning time and money. Who is really smarter?

I worked with a guy whose only daughter had five kids with two different dads between the ages of 18 and 23.  She had her tubes tied after #5.  Around that same time dad #2 went to prison for molesting the kids of dad #1.  It's always been unclear what her living situation is since they move around all of the time but the kids have never been more than 50 miles from where they were born.  A few years ago she got $5,000+ back in taxes and bought a car with no more seats than the previous one.  She has never owned a vehicle large enough to move around all of the kids legally. 

My company just hired a 20 year-old who had two kids with two different women at age 17 and another at age 18.  He wears an ankle bracelet (but never a belt, and his pants sag around his butt all shift) and has to call his officer every day he comes to work.  I've never had to deal with the daughter mentioned in the previous paragraph but I've actually have to manage this 20 year-old clown a few times. He's so out-of-shape that he was completely winded after climbing a ladder with about 8 rungs. I have no idea who these girls are who find this loser attractive, but I suspect that he will manage to reproduce many more times before dying of a heart attack at age 31. 

Here is the opening scene of Idiocracy, in case anyone hasn't seen it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJDcoqrh1ac


 









 




seattlecyclone

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #77 on: September 09, 2021, 07:36:06 PM »


Very interesting graph. What I take out of the upswing on the right side is that a lot of people would like to have more than one child if they believe they have the space to do so successfully. As you increase educational attainment you also tend to increase income. Those who have higher incomes are able to pay for more discretionary goals. Kids are largely discretionary at this point, and can be very expensive for those on medium to higher incomes who don't qualify for as much in the way of government assistance with food, housing, medical care, child care, etc. This ties back into @ChpBstrd's post a while back about increasing middle-class access to these things at a lower cost. If you gave the median college graduate more funds to help support children, they'd probably have more of them on the margins, just like their counterparts with higher degrees have done.

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #78 on: September 09, 2021, 08:44:43 PM »
If you gave the median college graduate more funds to help support children, they'd probably have more of them on the margins, just like their counterparts with higher degrees have done.

At the margin certainly. The difference in total fertility between a woman with a BA/BS and a PhD/MD/JD is about .25 lifetime children. The annual difference in individual annual earnings is about $30,000. Factor in assortative mating by education level and the different in HOUSEHOLD income might be on the order of $50,000/year. So back of the envelope math, the elasticity of childbearing in response to income might be 1 child per $120-200k/year of additional income or benefits.

Assuming the government needed to provide those benefits for 15 years per household that works out to $1.8-3M per increased birth. Maybe 5 years is more realistic though? I donít know, but we should be within an order of magnitude of the right number. For context, the estimates I found of what a ďtypicalĒ American might may in income tax over their lifetime ranged from $200-800k. So it doesnít seem outside the bounds of reasonable values that it costs more to induce one additional childbirth than that child would be likely to pay in taxes over their lifetime.

PDXTabs

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #79 on: September 09, 2021, 08:54:13 PM »
If you gave the median college graduate more funds to help support children, they'd probably have more of them on the margins, just like their counterparts with higher degrees have done.

At the margin certainly. The difference in total fertility between a woman with a BA/BS and a PhD/MD/JD is about .25 lifetime children. The annual difference in individual annual earnings is about $30,000. Factor in assortative mating by education level and the different in HOUSEHOLD income might be on the order of $50,000/year. So back of the envelope math, the elasticity of childbearing in response to income might be 1 child per $120-200k/year of additional income or benefits.

I just don't think that's how any of this works. I know people with kids. I have kids. I don't think any of them are saying "if I only made another $30k/yr I'd have another kid."

Paul der Krake

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #80 on: September 09, 2021, 08:57:10 PM »
But in aggregate, that's exactly how it works. Yet another case of stated vs revealed preference?

PDXTabs

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #81 on: September 09, 2021, 09:02:09 PM »
But in aggregate, that's exactly how it works. Yet another case of stated vs revealed preference?

Does it? Look at that graph. The best way to keep people having babies is to keep their income education down.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2021, 09:03:50 PM by PDXTabs »

maizefolk

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #82 on: September 09, 2021, 09:06:57 PM »
I just don't think that's how any of this works. I know people with kids. I have kids. I don't think any of them are saying "if I only made another $30k/yr I'd have another kid."

So youíre arguing investing in benefits like free child care or tax credits donít actually increase the number of children people will choose to have? If so, I donít think weíre necessarily that far apart. Iím saying that if there is an effect of more resources leading to people having more children it takes a LOT of money to move the needle which isnít all that different from saying there is no amount of money which would move the needle.

There may be good and ethical reasons for arguing for child care subsidies or child tax credits or free college what have you. But the data just arenít consistent with these types of factors having a big enough impact on how many children people choose to have for this to be a practical approach to try to promote increased child rearing. Whether the correct answer is ďonly a small impact on peopleís decisionsĒ or ďzero impact on peopleís decisions.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #83 on: September 09, 2021, 09:08:36 PM »
But in aggregate, that's exactly how it works. Yet another case of stated vs revealed preference?

Does it? Look at that graph. The best way to keep people having babies is to keep their income down.
Right, it doesn't work at the bottom of the distribution. I think cyclone and maizefolk were talking specifically about degree and advanced degree holders.

College is such a funny dividing line in US society.


BicycleB

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #84 on: September 09, 2021, 09:31:45 PM »
After several changes of opinion over time, I think the US will muddle along for a long time doing some things well (generating corporate profits, a certain amount of innovation, economic growth that never quite stops) and some badly (public health, caring for the poor).

From the investing perspective, a strong but not complete majority of my investment capital is US based. That reflects my assessment as US resident that risks are everywhere but not so much higher in US that it's worth overcompensating. I think anywhere from 20% to 50% foreign will serve most purposes. I'm slightly below the low end of the range mostly by having accumulated real estate equity (100% US); stocks are maybe 25% foreign, though held through US funds/ETFs. For investors not based in America, decisions are highly dependent on nation of residence and I look forward to learning more.

Re the earlier question where to domicile financial investments if not USA:
1. If you're Asia oriented, maybe Singapore?
2. If you might move to Australia or New Zealand, domicile there?
3. If Europe, get an EU golden visa (Portuguese, maybe) and domicile EU? Would love to hear better answers from US expats and any knowledgeable sources.
4. If preserving options and/or avoiding tax authorities in case of political calamity, City of London (aka Cayman Islands, etc)?

I sometimes consider moving ex-US, but probably will stay. I have 1 acquaintance who moved to South America, 2 who moved elsewhere and returned to America. They missed their friends.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2021, 09:42:45 PM by BicycleB »

PDXTabs

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #85 on: September 09, 2021, 09:39:48 PM »
@maizefolk @Paul der Krake,

I think that mostly I would say that you are looking at a correlation of educational attainment to child bearing. There is not necessarily a strong causal relationship. Maybe women who really want kids don't focus on education. Maybe there are certain ethnic groups that happen to value big families but don't value education. On the other end of the graph perhaps people with advanced degrees just happen to be better at staying in long term committed partnerships and that giving people with a bachelor's degree more money won't induce more kids.

But I do completely support ending childhood poverty in the USA. It might not induce more childbearing but it will absolutely improve the quality of the next generation of workers. Or you know for more humanitarian reasons.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2021, 09:42:09 PM by PDXTabs »

maizefolk

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #86 on: September 09, 2021, 10:06:29 PM »
@maizefolk @Paul der Krake,

I think that mostly I would say that you are looking at a correlation of educational attainment to child bearing. There is not necessarily a strong causal relationship. Maybe women who really want kids don't focus on education. Maybe there are certain ethnic groups that happen to value big families but don't value education. On the other end of the graph perhaps people with advanced degrees just happen to be better at staying in long term committed partnerships and that giving people with a bachelor's degree more money won't induce more kids.

I think perhaps then you are disagreeing with SeattleCyclone's interpretation of that graph rather than mine. I'm a little frustrated and I feel like I'm repeating myself. I was working out that, if there was any positive effect of additional income/resources in number of children it was too small to be practical as a tool of public policy.

You keep replaying with language that sounds like you're disagreeing with me, but I don't understand what it is in what I am saying that you actual have a problem or disagreement with.

Edit: Okay on rereading my original post I was saying that there definitely is SOME effect at the margin. But are you really disagreeing that if you gave 1M couples each an extra 100,000 a year not a single one of them would decide to have a child they otherwise would have avoided because they couldn't afford it?
« Last Edit: September 09, 2021, 10:09:42 PM by maizefolk »

PDXTabs

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #87 on: September 09, 2021, 10:19:11 PM »
I think perhaps then you are disagreeing with SeattleCyclone's interpretation of that graph rather than mine. I'm a little frustrated and I feel like I'm repeating myself. I was working out that, if there was any positive effect of additional income/resources in number of children it was too small to be practical as a tool of public policy.

I mostly agree with you. I guess I'm questioning both SeattleCyclone's interpretation and your (seeming) agreement.

Edit: Okay on rereading my original post I was saying that there definitely is SOME effect at the margin. But are you really disagreeing that if you gave 1M couples each an extra 100,000 a year not a single one of them would decide to have a child they otherwise would have avoided because they couldn't afford it?

I wouldn't go that far. I'm more saying that without actually trying it we won't know the outcome because SeattleCyclone's interpretation is that more money leads to more kids for people with at least a bachelor's degree and I'm saying that it is unproven speculation.

EDIT to add - because if more money meant more kids WTF is up with the left half of the graph?!?!

maizefolk

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #88 on: September 09, 2021, 11:05:02 PM »
Edit: Okay on rereading my original post I was saying that there definitely is SOME effect at the margin. But are you really disagreeing that if you gave 1M couples each an extra 100,000 a year not a single one of them would decide to have a child they otherwise would have avoided because they couldn't afford it?

I wouldn't go that far. I'm more saying that without actually trying it we won't know the outcome because SeattleCyclone's interpretation is that more money leads to more kids for people with at least a bachelor's degree and I'm saying that it is unproven speculation.

EDIT to add - because if more money meant more kids WTF is up with the left half of the graph?!?!

Fair enough. All I'm saying is that even if the entirety of the difference in the number of children when with bachelors have the the number of children women with PhDs have was explained by differences in access to resources, it would still be so expensive that it doesn't work as an approach to public policy.

If less than 100% of the difference (for example 0% of the difference) is explained by the greater amounts of money/resources had by women with more education, that just means investing more resources in subsidizing people to have children is even more non-viable as an approach to try to increase the birth rate.

Why make extra assumptions that skew the results in favor of my conclusion when my conclusion is already true even using the assumptions which are least favorable to it?

BicycleB

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #89 on: September 09, 2021, 11:46:14 PM »
if more money meant more kids WTF is up with the left half of the graph?!?!

I think that increasing income is correlated with two different intermediate effects; the graph shape results from the different weights between them. It's not a linear relation because there are multiple factors pulling in different directions.

0. At low incomes, financial stability does not appear realistic, so potential parents have little disincentive to starting a child's life. It's a natural response to an uncertain world. Things can't get worse, kids are inherently exciting and a potential legacy and source of meaning and pride, let's give it a shot. Be bold, have a kid. #GenesFTW.

1. As incomes go from low to medium, the potential parent enters the zone where financial stability seems plausible. Now there's long term competition for each new dollar instead of chaotic seizing of the moment. A dollar saved is a dollar earned, a limited but valuable tool for child enrichment. Investing in the child's future if not the parent's is important. Both parents almost always have access to work now, but need to work in view of these incentives. Time is squeezed due to the many conflicting demands. Fewer kids than the money-is-hopeless case naturally ensue, even though children are often desired in both cases. This is the zone of tradeoffs, where scarcity inhibits the number of children.

2. As incomes rise from medium to high, options increase because disposable income is higher. Even after quality goals such as high student enrichment, retirement investing for parents and plush material life are achieved, room for a nonworking spouse or other time-saving services (daycare! nannies! maids!) can be afforded. Suddenly the number of children can rise with a little less pressure on the stressed parents. Thus the graph rises again on the right.*

Just a theory.

*I realize the competition-and-elite-meritocracy-horserace phenomenon conflicts with the Less Pressure narrative, but by reading the graph, the data support that enough people use the options to increase family size.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2021, 11:48:12 PM by BicycleB »

PDXTabs

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #90 on: September 09, 2021, 11:58:37 PM »
maizman, that's a good point.

BicycleB, you might be right about that. I'd say more as a parent that I'm not motivated to have more kids. What would I get out of it? In old timey times they could maybe help me on the farm or take care of me in my old age. I think that you could give me $1B and I wouldn't have another kid. I think that having one or two children is incredibly rewarding and that after that you reach a point of diminishing returns for the parental rewards. YMMV

EvenSteven

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #91 on: September 10, 2021, 06:33:10 AM »
if more money meant more kids WTF is up with the left half of the graph?!?!

I think that increasing income is correlated with two different intermediate effects; the graph shape results from the different weights between them. It's not a linear relation because there are multiple factors pulling in different directions.

0. At low incomes, financial stability does not appear realistic, so potential parents have little disincentive to starting a child's life. It's a natural response to an uncertain world. Things can't get worse, kids are inherently exciting and a potential legacy and source of meaning and pride, let's give it a shot. Be bold, have a kid. #GenesFTW.

1. As incomes go from low to medium, the potential parent enters the zone where financial stability seems plausible. Now there's long term competition for each new dollar instead of chaotic seizing of the moment. A dollar saved is a dollar earned, a limited but valuable tool for child enrichment. Investing in the child's future if not the parent's is important. Both parents almost always have access to work now, but need to work in view of these incentives. Time is squeezed due to the many conflicting demands. Fewer kids than the money-is-hopeless case naturally ensue, even though children are often desired in both cases. This is the zone of tradeoffs, where scarcity inhibits the number of children.

2. As incomes rise from medium to high, options increase because disposable income is higher. Even after quality goals such as high student enrichment, retirement investing for parents and plush material life are achieved, room for a nonworking spouse or other time-saving services (daycare! nannies! maids!) can be afforded. Suddenly the number of children can rise with a little less pressure on the stressed parents. Thus the graph rises again on the right.*

Just a theory.

*I realize the competition-and-elite-meritocracy-horserace phenomenon conflicts with the Less Pressure narrative, but by reading the graph, the data support that enough people use the options to increase family size.

The explanation that makes the most sense to me is to reverse the causation arrow from what most people are thinking so far. Having lots of kids, starting at a young age, will cause people to attain a lower education level.

Hash Brown

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #92 on: September 10, 2021, 07:19:18 AM »
I was a little startled by items in a few of the previous comments - a few people show that they really think of this as a business decision.  As someone from a fairly large family, it's impossible for me to imagine what being from an only-child-no-uncles/aunts-no-cousins situation, with no roots in a particular neighborhood, or parents having heaped hundreds of thousands on my education/enrichment (Space Camp!) instead of spreading what resources they had between several kids and elderly/ill relatives who needed help. 

ender

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #93 on: September 10, 2021, 08:24:59 AM »
I suspect the correlation with education has far more to do with access to birth control than it does to... much conscious choice, if I'm honest, until you get into the bachelors+ range.

simonsez

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #94 on: September 10, 2021, 10:03:52 AM »
I strongly resent the implication that not having 6 kids is the same thing as embracing a "culture of death".

You have just lost a fuck ton of respect from me with that comment.

I was reading along and just suddenly was - what the hell does that even mean?

What is a "culture of death"? I don't get it. Is it a reference to birth control? abortion? Living a child free life by choice and then you die? I've not a clue.
Maybe he thinks anyone who hasn't had 6 kids must have had 6 abortions instead?

I'm glad you've given me the benefit of the doubt here. But to answer your original question when I refer to a "culture of death" I refer to abortion and the general idea that life is disposable if it's not wanted. This applies to assisted suicide as well. I realize that has nothing to do with demographics and population growth but it's the same side of the coin. If someone think it's ok to end a life in the womb they probably think it's ok to end the life of someone who is sick or old - or allow a third-party to do so. I am Catholic and so I believe that all life should be protected from conception to natural death. My wife and I embrace life which naturally leads to having children every few years. I realize that is a fringe view in society today, and even more so on this forum which tends to lean left. However, I'll leave it at that. This isn't in the off topic forum so I see no need to rehash those debates here. I have my beliefs, you have yours, and we can continue discussing if the US is in a long-term decline that will affect investment prospects going forward. As the saying goes: "demographics is destiny". I think the US has a better destiny in this regard than most of the world so I am not as concerned about long-term decline - at least not within my lifetime and investing timeframe.
Honest question, if your wife has an ectopic pregnancy with a tube about to burst, what do you do?  Do you have an abortion or do you "embrace life in the womb" at the expense of your living wife and avoid the medical procedure?  If you/your wife opts to not have the abortion and roll the dice that she doesn't die, would you begrudge the hundreds of thousands of others that would choose the procedure?  How do you protect all life when doing nothing arguably hurts more life than the abortion/"culture of death" would?  I'm not Catholic so do not understand the perspective.

former player

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #95 on: September 10, 2021, 10:17:39 AM »
I think Psychstache is the winner of this part of the thread.

Maybe my memory is failing me, but don't you work for the U.S. Military?

Biggest "death cult" on the planet.

Hash Brown

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #96 on: September 10, 2021, 11:05:57 AM »
  I'm not Catholic so do not understand the perspective.

The Catholic Church approves of abortions that are necessary to protect the health of the mother. 


Michael in ABQ

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #97 on: September 10, 2021, 11:24:06 AM »
I strongly resent the implication that not having 6 kids is the same thing as embracing a "culture of death".

You have just lost a fuck ton of respect from me with that comment.

I was reading along and just suddenly was - what the hell does that even mean?

What is a "culture of death"? I don't get it. Is it a reference to birth control? abortion? Living a child free life by choice and then you die? I've not a clue.
Maybe he thinks anyone who hasn't had 6 kids must have had 6 abortions instead?

I'm glad you've given me the benefit of the doubt here. But to answer your original question when I refer to a "culture of death" I refer to abortion and the general idea that life is disposable if it's not wanted. This applies to assisted suicide as well. I realize that has nothing to do with demographics and population growth but it's the same side of the coin. If someone think it's ok to end a life in the womb they probably think it's ok to end the life of someone who is sick or old - or allow a third-party to do so. I am Catholic and so I believe that all life should be protected from conception to natural death. My wife and I embrace life which naturally leads to having children every few years. I realize that is a fringe view in society today, and even more so on this forum which tends to lean left. However, I'll leave it at that. This isn't in the off topic forum so I see no need to rehash those debates here. I have my beliefs, you have yours, and we can continue discussing if the US is in a long-term decline that will affect investment prospects going forward. As the saying goes: "demographics is destiny". I think the US has a better destiny in this regard than most of the world so I am not as concerned about long-term decline - at least not within my lifetime and investing timeframe.
Honest question, if your wife has an ectopic pregnancy with a tube about to burst, what do you do?  Do you have an abortion or do you "embrace life in the womb" at the expense of your living wife and avoid the medical procedure?  If you/your wife opts to not have the abortion and roll the dice that she doesn't die, would you begrudge the hundreds of thousands of others that would choose the procedure?  How do you protect all life when doing nothing arguably hurts more life than the abortion/"culture of death" would?  I'm not Catholic so do not understand the perspective.

Removing a fallopian tube in an ectopic pregnancy has the goal of saving the life of the mother so it is not considered an abortion. Same with having to undergo a hysterectomy or chemotherapy or radiation to heal cancer. The goal is saving the life of the mother, not ending the life of the unborn child. If the unborn child dies as a result, that was not the goal or motivation for the procedure. In an abortion the goal is to end the life of that unborn child.

mistymoney

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #98 on: September 10, 2021, 01:04:07 PM »
I suspect that beyond the quantifiable costs of having lots of kids that can be dealt with through policy/redistribution, there's the more nebulous reality that having 4+ kids is going to dominate your life no matter what.  ... Beyond all the monetary costs, lots of people appear to value their careers for non-financial reasons more than they value having a big family.  There's no realistic government subsidy that looks like it would change that.

That aligns with my own nebulous thinking as well. Which leads to some really strange hypothetical worlds of the future centuries from now (again assuming the planet doesn't kill us or we don't kill each other) if our natural state as a species, given education and options, is that fewer of us want devote large fractions of our lives to having and raising children than it takes to hit replacement rate.


Beyond finances, I suspect the actionable policies would need to be around alleviating the zero sum game between children and career for people, especially women.

A policy allowing every full time worker to cut back to 50% time at 50% pay for some period of years (7-10?) without losing rank or advancement would probably go a tremendous distance toward allowing people to have both a large number of children and a career.

Regulating employers to make them absorb volatility and some inefficiency just isn't the American way, though.

why limit that to parents? Why not stop making everyone miserable and let people lead fulfilling lives while also supporting themselves. I remember when jobshare was a "new" thing - then it disappeared? I haven't heard/seen anything anyway.

On the other side, If I'm FT and you're 50% for 7 years - hell yeah I better leapfrog you and the person in front of you at 50% too!

mistymoney

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Re: Are you concerned with American decline?
« Reply #99 on: September 10, 2021, 01:34:50 PM »
I strongly resent the implication that not having 6 kids is the same thing as embracing a "culture of death".

You have just lost a fuck ton of respect from me with that comment.

I was reading along and just suddenly was - what the hell does that even mean?

What is a "culture of death"? I don't get it. Is it a reference to birth control? abortion? Living a child free life by choice and then you die? I've not a clue.
Maybe he thinks anyone who hasn't had 6 kids must have had 6 abortions instead?

I'm glad you've given me the benefit of the doubt here. But to answer your original question when I refer to a "culture of death" I refer to abortion and the general idea that life is disposable if it's not wanted. This applies to assisted suicide as well. I realize that has nothing to do with demographics and population growth but it's the same side of the coin. If someone think it's ok to end a life in the womb they probably think it's ok to end the life of someone who is sick or old - or allow a third-party to do so. I am Catholic and so I believe that all life should be protected from conception to natural death. My wife and I embrace life which naturally leads to having children every few years. I realize that is a fringe view in society today, and even more so on this forum which tends to lean left. However, I'll leave it at that. This isn't in the off topic forum so I see no need to rehash those debates here. I have my beliefs, you have yours, and we can continue discussing if the US is in a long-term decline that will affect investment prospects going forward. As the saying goes: "demographics is destiny". I think the US has a better destiny in this regard than most of the world so I am not as concerned about long-term decline - at least not within my lifetime and investing timeframe.
Honest question, if your wife has an ectopic pregnancy with a tube about to burst, what do you do?  Do you have an abortion or do you "embrace life in the womb" at the expense of your living wife and avoid the medical procedure?  If you/your wife opts to not have the abortion and roll the dice that she doesn't die, would you begrudge the hundreds of thousands of others that would choose the procedure?  How do you protect all life when doing nothing arguably hurts more life than the abortion/"culture of death" would?  I'm not Catholic so do not understand the perspective.

Removing a fallopian tube in an ectopic pregnancy has the goal of saving the life of the mother so it is not considered an abortion. Same with having to undergo a hysterectomy or chemotherapy or radiation to heal cancer. The goal is saving the life of the mother, not ending the life of the unborn child. If the unborn child dies as a result, that was not the goal or motivation for the procedure. In an abortion the goal is to end the life of that unborn child.

outcome is the same for the ameba-child.