30: the hardest job with the longest hours that goes entirely unpaid

After yesterday’s post, I spent much of the rest of the day continuing to think about human systems and how odd so many of them are.

For example, compensation.

Now, lately I’ve been trying to educate myself about economics – Santa knows this and got me Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson for Christmas, though I’ve barely put a dent in it yet.

In general I can grasp the concept of supply and demand – if a lot of people are supplying a certain type of labor, then the demand for it will fall, and the compensation falls accordingly.

And, if people expect to find work and make a living, then they should seek training in skills that are in demand. That all makes pretty good sense to me.

But then I look at important work that is always in demand, but that goes entirely unpaid: good parenting.

More people do this job than any other (I assume, I don’t have the data to back that wild claim up), so naturally it follows that it’s in very low demand.

But that’s simultaneously pretty odd, because in order for society to function properly, we need more humans. People are constantly dying, and so we need to constantly replace them with new people.

Some may argue that overpopulation is a  big issue and that we definitely do not need more humans.

But within the context of the developed world, in which population levels are pretty stable over time, we do.

It’s different in developing nations that haven’t yet caught up with North America or Europe. Those places’ populations will continue to rise exponentially, just as ours did during the industrial revolution, until they eventually reach stability as well.

Anyway, I digress.

My original point was that we will always need humans – created by parents. Or in a lab somewhere, idk. It’s 2017, after all.

More importantly, we need quality humans. Healthy, well-adjusted, societal contributors.

Now I get that plenty of people have terrible parents – or no parents at all – and still grow up just fine. But I assume (and I promise it’s nothing more than an assumption – idk anything, remember?) that good parents play a big part in developing those quality humans that society needs.

So, if you give up all of that time, money and energy and really put your all into raising a child well, what can you expect in return?

I think most parents would answer with something like “personal fulfillment.”

But there’s no money in the parenting business. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best parent on the planet, or if you abuse and neglect your kid – the pay is exactly the same.

And despite the end result of “personal fulfillment,” even good parents have to deal with a lot of stress and marital strain along the way. Parents are unhappy a lot of the time, and I’m certain that there’s data out there to back that up. Or just testimonials – go ask your mom or dad if they were ever stressed out while raising you.

I get that it doesn’t make sense to pay someone to be a good parent – who would pay them? The government? With who’s money?

And apparently nobody cares to be paid, because people continue to commit themselves to this extra job for decades.

Heck, even I’ve entertained the thought. My logic?

Personal fulfillment, I guess.


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