The way our economy is currently structured, we require constant growth. Of course this will someday come to a head, because as Robin Hanson has pointed out, even at extremely low growth rates we’ll run out of atoms in the galaxy well within 10,000 years. As someone who suspects we may already be beyond the sustainable carrying capacity of the planet, I fear the problem may be closer than that. So I’m already against anything that incentivizes greater-than-replacement procreation.
I also despise the lottery, for all the normal reasons. It hijacks normal thinking patterns to trick people into wasting money on false hope. It targets those who can least afford it, and are least able to resist it. It is morally repugnant.
So I really dislike things that combine the two, like the Procreation Lottery. As pretty as the song “Mary Did You Know” is, it fans the flames of procreation by igniting the hope that maybe your child will be the special one that solves all the problems. Or at least a few of your problems, because hey, let’s not be greedy.
No. Chances are any particular child will not be that special. Even if they’re above average, children in the modern age are a net cost to parents. If you want your life to be better, or to be special, or to mean something to the world in some way, do it on your own. Don’t pin your hopes on a child. Anyone can do that, and it doesn’t make any of them special. Others who use the same decision-making-algorithm will simply make more children as well, and since this subset of people generally includes your children, you’re just passing on the “breed a lot” imperative without getting any “do something special” results.
I know this post sounds grumpy. I’m sorry. I would get equally annoyed at a beautiful song praising the serene grace of being a Powerball Winner.