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Poll

If you had to choose...

Childless tax (see here)
- 0 (0%)
Parents tax (see below)
- 8 (25.8%)
Let civilization collapse
- 17 (54.8%)
Ian's magic wand
- 6 (19.4%)

Total Members Voted: 21


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Author Topic: Parents Tax  (Read 24968 times)

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Alex Libman 15

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Parents Tax
« on: September 07, 2009, 11:58:46 PM »

You know the drill - a civilization cannot exist perpetually (much less experience economic growth) with a shrinking and aging population.  Every woman must pop out 2.1 kids to keep the population stable, but since some are unable or unwilling then other women have to have more.  That's a basic economic fact.  Hiding from it will not make it go away.

My "childless tax" thread didn't get anywhere, and that all-important problem still remains unsolved.  So, how about making the children pay?  You owe X percent of your income to your parents / guardians for life.  You don't have to like them, but you do have to pay.  This solves the problem of there being lack of incentive to invest in children, as well as the problem of some rednecks being too stupid to save up for retirement.

Brilliant, no?   8)
« Last Edit: September 21, 2009, 08:50:59 PM by Alex Libman »
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anarchir

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Re: Parents Tax
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2009, 12:58:19 AM »

Natural instincts and societal pressures (pick one) seem to be enough to keep the population alive.  No taxes necessary.
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Harry Tuttle

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Re: Parents Tax
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2009, 01:12:37 AM »

Brilliant, no?   8)

No!  :P

Have you considered that maybe the reason you never get any traction from this topic is because the whole notion is a load of crap?



There is no breeding problem. When the population has shrunk to the point in which further innovation and improvement is impossible, humanity will stagnate, then the bored people will begin to breed again. The cycle will repeat, each time with less variation, until equilibrium is reached.

That's a silly postulation, but I think no sillier than the idea that "proper" population growth can - or should - be managed. Please see the error of your ways and abandon this idea. Either that, or get yourself a few wives and be the change you wish to see.   :P :P

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Re: Parents Tax
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2009, 05:01:11 AM »

Its funny that this is the exact opposite thing Malthus predicted. OOOOOOOOOh nooooooooooooo, the world is underpopulated.

If it was a concern, a guest worker program could be tried. A country that doesnt like foreigners (like Russia) could have the benefits of workers to shore up businesses, and get the extra benefits that those workers would not get to live in Russia permenantly so wouldnt eventually become social security tax burdens.

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Manuel_OKelly

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Re: Parents Tax
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2009, 08:20:26 AM »

How about we just allow immigration. Then tax that.
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Alex Libman 15

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Re: Parents Tax
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2009, 08:54:51 AM »

Natural instincts and societal pressures (pick one) seem to be enough to keep the population alive.  No taxes necessary.

That clearly is not the case.  The world is currently populated by many people that lag behind modernity, but they are quickly catching up and leaving their old irrational but nonetheless reproduction-encouraging traditions behind.  No modern secular society seems to be able to average more than 1.2 kids per woman or less.  Libertarian atheists average even less.  The average fertility rate of 1.05 much means that productivity has to double with every generation just to keep the economy static, and economic growth requires even greater productivity growth than that, which is simply impossible.

The ideal political and economic system is recognized by its ability to encourage the greatest economic growth - there's just no way around that.  There just isn't a rational epistemological theory (i.e. the system of thought recognizes people's natural rights - like life, liberty, and property) that recognizes one's "right" not to reproduce!


Have you considered that maybe the reason you never get any traction from this topic is because the whole notion is a load of crap?

I have studied and reflected on this issue for several years now, and if I could think of a way to rationalize this problem away I would, believe me.  The reason why I never get any traction on this forum is because people tend to stick to wishful thinking and ignore reality whenever it suits them.  The "demographic socialists" are as guilty of this as the economic ones, and sadly the former term applies to most people on this forum.

Your comic implies that I'm concerned with the dysgenic effect of disproportionate birth rates, which is a relatively minor problem because the IQ, parenting skills, and the material wealth of the parents determines the economic competitiveness of their children only to a relatively small degree.  Nor is this the issue of ethnicity or religion - birth rates seem to eventually decline in all societies, from Latin America to the Middle East, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa.  Your comic then makes unsupported claims and ends in an insult, there is no substantive argument there.


There is no breeding problem. When the population has shrunk to the point in which further innovation and improvement is impossible, humanity will stagnate, then the bored people will begin to breed again. The cycle will repeat, each time with less variation, until equilibrium is reached.

I'm not arguing that the decline would go on indefinitely, but the "cycles" you're talking about would take hundreds, possibly thousands of years, while the humongous fraction of humanity's potential for economic growth is squandered in the meantime.

Have you ever played the game Civilization, and found one player still stuck in the bronze age while another invades them with nukes, tanks, aircraft carriers?  What's different now is that competing economic theories can no longer be tested separately, and humanity is quickly becoming one civilization, which can grow as quickly as the English-speaking civilization has over the past 400 years or as slowly as a culturally-static tribe of savages depending on the economic rulesets it adapts.  Exponential economic growth or decline can have huge effects, making the difference between humanity quickly spreading to the stars and discovering immortality to it entering a new dark age!

There is no such thing as "equilibrium" when it comes to economic growth, because a rational being's economic desires are limitless: from ever-tastier food to ever-better entertainment to eternal youth to omnipotence!  There are no known limits to the size of the universe, or even how much food can be grown in this one solar system!  The greatest limit that exists to humanity's growth are the widespread erroneous beliefs that discourage it!


That's a silly postulation, but I think no sillier than the idea that "proper" population growth can - or should - be managed.

The most rational and effective economic ruleset, free market capitalism, does not "manage" the "proper" creation of wealth, it just encourages it by recognizing the property rights of the individuals that create wealth, thus making wealth-creating far more desirable.  Similarly, an effective social ruleset needs to recognize the rights of the parents, so as to encourage the all-important economic activity of producing new human beings.  There is no difference between property theft and reproductive theft (i.e. the failure to at least try to pull one's own demographic weight)!


Its funny that this is the exact opposite thing Malthus predicted. OOOOOOOOOh nooooooooooooo, the world is underpopulated.

Malthus died in 1834.  The new information that we've discovered since then renders his conclusions laughably erroneous.


If it was a concern, a guest worker program could be tried.

Like I said, it's not a problem of one nation, it's a problem of the human economy as a whole, so...  where would those "guests" come from?!  Even if life exists on other plants, getting them here and training them to be effective "workers" (or whatever other mutually-beneficial economic interaction might be possible) would take a while.  Robotics is a much more expedient and cost-effective solution, but it doesn't change the fact that demographic decline still represents a substantial net economic loss.  Children and robots are not mutually-exclusive!  To the contrary, the growth in human productivity is necessary to increase and control the growth in artificial productivity.  Old people are less culturally dynamic and don't learn things as quickly.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2009, 08:49:36 PM by Alex Libman »
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gibson042

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Re: Parents Tax
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2009, 10:15:04 AM »

I think the Duggars will just pick up everyone's slack.
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Alex Libman 15

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Re: Parents Tax
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2009, 10:46:14 AM »

Kudos to the Duggars [SITE], but religious faith cannot be counted on in the long term, because it's, um, false.

Counting on faith to encourage people to pull their demographic weight is kind of like counting on faith to encourage people to pull their economic weight!  The communists tried that - there will always be a few "true believers" with limitless capacity for thankless toil, but most people aren't like that, especially not the brightest of people, so the system as a whole just doesn't work.  What works is property rights as a reward for individual accomplishment, no matter if it's materialistic or reproductive!

Some of that reward comes naturally - many parents enjoy having kids they can boss around for 18 years (or less if they're emancipated early), and reducing government interventionism in family should in theory raise the fertility rates a bit, but then again it might not, because having 2+ kids requires a humongous commitment of time, money, emotional energy, and so on.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2009, 11:39:13 AM by Alex Libman »
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gibson042

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Re: Parents Tax
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2009, 11:17:56 AM »

Fine then, the Gosselins.  I refuse to believe that the TLC lineup cannot fully solve humanity's "underbreeding problem".
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Alex Libman 15

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Re: Parents Tax
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2009, 11:38:41 AM »

Now you're just being silly.  You may "refuse to believe" that 2 + 2 adds up to 4, but it does.

In order for a rational civilization to achieve optimal economic growth, productivity needs to be encouraged in explicit tangible terms, like the two ideas I've proposed so far.  Here's how they compare:


CHILDLESS TAX:

  • Constitutes a penalty on people who fail to pull their demographic weight, as well as a reward for people who "pull" more than their naturally-required share.

  • Is more difficult to implement in a fully Anarcho-Capitalist society, but is still theoretically possible (see other thread).

  • Can be much more effective, because some parents will not see the Parents Tax as a sufficient reward for having children - some would decide that by the time their children start making money they'll be too old to enjoy a sufficient reward, some would feel uncomfortable borrowing money with their children's future productivity as collateral, etc.

  • Would be better at encouraging some people to become "professional parents" and make a living just by raising kids, living off the immediate income paid by people with "childless tax" liabilities.

  • Does not complicate any potential disputes between parents and children, like the process of adoption or emancipation.

  • Does not discriminate against individual children based on their predicted capacity to make money in the future, including children with mental and physical illnesses.


PARENTS TAX:

  • Constitutes a tangible payment to your parents / guardians to compensate them for giving you life and/or taking care of you until your emancipation, thus giving you the psychological freedom not to put up with any potential emotionally-manipulative bullshit from them if you don't want to.

  • Very low overhead costs, because the payments most likely go to a person you already know.

  • Fairly easy to enforce through non-violent social pressure like public exposure and ostracism, because it would probably be less damaging to pay your parents than deal with them ruining your reputation over your failure to do your part to support them.

  • Since the income you get from each child depends on how financially successful they are in life, this strongly encourages parents to take a far greater interest in their children's education and other aspects of their career value.  Most parents wouldn't admit to thinking, "bah, why should I try so hard with these rascals, they won't be obligated to support me when I'm old anyway", but that does have some subconscious effect.

  • The future Parents Tax liability of a child -- whether born, unborn, or even hypothetical -- is an asset you may be able to borrow against, which would allow poor people to afford better care and education for their children.

  • As with any property, a parent's right to a share of a person's "parents tax" can be split between multiple people - most sex / marriage contracts would split the ownership 50:50 between the mother and the father, but there can be variations, and other people (ex. grandparents, aunts, uncles, religious authorities, etc) can be brought aboard as well.

  • As with any property, it can also be transferred - for example a mother might posthumously donate her share of her children's "parents tax" to charity.  It can also be bought out by the child or voluntarily nullified, in which case the child would no longer owe his parents any financial support.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2009, 12:29:03 PM by Alex Libman »
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gibson042

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Re: Parents Tax
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2009, 11:57:30 AM »

That's right... now I'm being silly.

In order for a rational civilization to achieve optimal economic growth, people cannot tolerate unproductive diversions like entertainment.  And I happen to like not just Discovery programming, but Bellagio hotel fountains and ice sculptures and the occasional fireworks display.  You can have Metropolitan economic planning if that's your wish (and good luck convincing everyone of their parental obligations), but I'm not interested.  Sub-optimal economic growth is fine by me as long as it's liberated from the state.
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Alex Libman 15

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Re: Parents Tax
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2009, 12:39:43 PM »

In order for a rational civilization to achieve optimal economic growth, people cannot tolerate unproductive diversions like entertainment.  [...]

No, entertainment comes about as the result of people's ability to pull their economic weight.  You cannot enjoy entertainment if you need every waking moment of time to struggle to satisfy the basic needs of survival, or if your entertainment incurs other material costs that you cannot afford.  The more entertainment people pursue, the better the economic growth, because it will encourage them to earn the money to pay for this entertainment, and it may improve their general "quality of life" so as to encourage other economic activity - like wanting to live as long as possible.

Likewise, you cannot enjoy entertainment unless you are alive (i.e. conceived, born, and protected in early childhood). 
« Last Edit: September 08, 2009, 12:45:44 PM by Alex Libman »
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Re: Parents Tax
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2009, 01:00:18 PM »

.
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Alex Libman 15

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Re: Parents Tax
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2009, 01:12:56 PM »

Thought-terminating clichés are becoming a significant art-form, but that should not grant them any more credence in a rational discussion, which is what I'm attempting to conduct on this thread.

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Re: Parents Tax
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2009, 01:33:27 PM »

No, entertainment comes about as the result of people's ability to pull their economic weight.  You cannot enjoy entertainment if you need every waking moment of time to struggle to satisfy the basic needs of survival, or if your entertainment incurs other material costs that you cannot afford.  The more entertainment people pursue, the better the economic growth, because it will encourage them to earn the money to pay for this entertainment, and it may improve their general "quality of life" so as to encourage other economic activity - like wanting to live as long as possible.

I thought you wanted optimal economic growth, which is impossible when people wastefully expend resources (the aforementioned ice sculptures and fireworks are noteworthy examples).  And if you try arguing that such actions are economically productive, then I will respond by pointing out that an obligation to pay anyone indefinitely retards growth by reducing monetary incentives—right after I recover from the requisite fit of laughter.
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