Arnold Kling  

Family vs. State

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In my latest essay, I discuss a book by Jennifer Roback Morse.


Single moms and the welfare state go together. Strong families and free markets go together. Morse argues that a combination of weak families and free markets is much less likely to persist.


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COMMENTS (4 to date)
Robert Speirs writes:

I have no idea how gay "marriage" can be a libertarian position. Why would a libertarian allow the state to dictate the relationship status of anyone, much less a tiny percentage of the population whose only distinction is that their behavior goes against thousands of years of settled law, religion and policy? Too many benefits are now handed out to married couples by the state using other people's money, on the basis that the state should support children. How is it "libertarian" to increase this theft for a group that can't even have children? Absurd.

spencer writes:

When I studied economic history and economic development I always had the impression that strong families served as a substite for free markets and was one factor that limited economic development and growth. If the markets are not trustworthy as they were for much of recorded history or they are in most underdeveloped countries, you limit your business and interactions to family members as much as you can and so hurt development.

I think your example is a case of the exception that proves the rule.

Mark Horn writes:

Morse wrote an interesting article on the topic of gay marriage here. It sounds like it draws on the same ideas in her book.

Mic writes:

Neglecting the issue on how economic incentives affect divorce rates and so on...However, the question remains, is it necessary a bad thing with increased single motherhood (or single parenthood, even though single motherhood is still by far the most common)? That surely depends on the situation. Surveys in several countries point to the fact that more women really wishes to divorce their husband, if it not were for the financial stress that would be the result of such a divorce (and well, also given the amount of violence and so on within relationships and marriages, I would be highly skeptical if we would have a society with very low divorce rates, what would that imply anyway?). The optimal divorce rate is surely not zero?

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