Procreative Externalities

If a financially secure, well-educated couple decide to have an extra child, is that likely to be a good or a bad thing for the world, on net?  Many (especially environmentalists) assume the
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If a financially secure, well-educated couple decide to have an extra child, is that likely to be a good or a bad thing for the world, on net?  Many (especially environmentalists) assume the answer is "bad", on grounds of over-population: More people = more consumption = more pollution (including greenhouse gas emissions).  But that's not all there is to consider.  For one thing, additional good lives are plausibly of non-instrumental value.  The inherent value of the new person's life is nothing to sneeze at.  Moreover: productive, law-abiding citizens create significant positive externalities.  Think of all the ways your life is improved by the labour of others, from farmers to car mechanics to entrepreneurs and scientific researchers.  People are, as Julian Simon famously wrote, the "ultimate resource".  More people = more ideas and productive capacity = more solutions to whatever problems beset us.Consider climate change.  A certain. . .

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