Bryan Caplan

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Bryan Caplan is an anarcho-capitalist[1] George Mason University economics teacher. He is author of The Myth of the Rational Voter, in which he lays out an elaborate theory of “rational irrationality” in order to explain how it is possible for voters to act on irrational beliefs about politics and policy without having to abandon the economist’s foundational rationality assumption.[2]

Advocacy of childbearing

He also wrote Selfish Reasons to Have Kids, in which he argued that a "just relax" approach to childrearing could allow parents to reduce their costs and thereby have more children without additional expense. He cited a 2003 Gallup poll that asked, "If you had to do it over again, how many children would you have, or would you not have any at all?" and found that 24% of childless adults over the age of 40 wanted to be child-free the second time around, and only 5% more were undecided.[3]

Will Wilkinson argued, "I suspect Mr. Caplan’s 'just relax' child-rearing advice amounts to something in the neighborhood of a hundred bucks off a thousand-buck TV. It’s a good deal, but not nearly good enough to get you to buy more TVs, or kids, than you thought you wanted."[2] Wilkinson also argued that to the extent women act on false beliefs about the costs and benefits of children, these produce more rather than fewer children.[4] Jonathan V. Last argued, "The best argument for children isn't that they will make you happy or your life fun but that parenthood provides purpose for a well-lived life. Selfishness, in the end, is not sufficient."[5]