Get married. Buy a house. Have kids. Retire. Die.
Why step three? Is it part of an egotistical drive to preserve one’s DNA? A desire to raise the most exotic pet of all – a human? A need to obtain a trophy to prove you had unprotected sex?
None of those, says a team of Cambridge and Stanford researchers. Instead, Dr. Partha Dasgupta and Dr. Paul Ehrlich posit, it’s part of the age-old question of “keeping up with the Joneses.” Physorg reports on the duo’s study which uses …
… data from several sources to compare population growth rates between people in Africa—where population growth is exploding in some areas—with others where it is not, to show that when people experience peer pressure to have large families and also feel pressure to keep up with the consumption habits of other people where they live, the result can be explosive population growth.
The results of Dasgupta and Ehrlich’s research won’t be a surprise to some. In her recent book Why Have Children?: The Ethical Debate, Christine Overall of Queen’s University in Canada notes that,
There are many urges apparently arising from our biological nature that we nonetheless should choose not to act upon. If we’re going to keep having kids, we ought to be able to come up with a reason.