The Economics of the Baby Shortage: A Horrifying Counter-example

Dave Hoffman

Dave Hoffman is the Murray Shusterman Professor of Transactional and Business Law at Temple Law School. He specializes in law and psychology, contracts, and quantitative analysis of civil procedure. He currently teaches contracts, civil procedure, corporations, and law and economics.

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6 Responses

  1. Ken Rhodes says:

    Dave, the article you linked (if assumptions mattered) was not literally “impossible to read,” but it was figuratively. Here’s a simpler look at “safe assumptions.”

    In the real world, assumptions are “safe” only to the extent that one can afford for them to be incorrect. If we knew they were true, they wouldn’t be “assumptions,” they would be “facts.” And if we don’t know they’re true, we have to be prepared to pay the cost of them being false.

  2. dave hoffman says:

    I’m not quite sure I understand your comment. Can you try again? Are you saying you disagree with Friedman or agree with him. (Honest question – totally don’t understand the comment’s gist.)

  3. Ben Jackson says:

    Asserting that people don’t normally purchase a car so as to abuse it, does not help one’s argument about the “sale” of children. Cars do not have any rights. Children do.

  4. Joe says:

    “the normal motive” is a red flag

    This leaves open others, like saying the ‘normal motive’ of buying food is to eat it, not some other reason. True enough, but numerous people buy food for other reasons. Normally, this is not an issue, but when we are talking about human beings, it is more likely to be a problem at times.

    As noted, use of money to buy things might suggest you ‘value’ it, but perhaps not for a reason society is likely to always find legitimate. We enter “a person with a hammer thinks everything is a nail” territory at some point here.

  5. Joe says:

    ETA: And, people aren’t ‘things,’ which complicates things, obviously, but the matter holds whatever we are concerned about here that has a certain value.

  6. Dan Culley says:

    I’m confused. The story doesn’t seem to have any relevance to the quote at all: the people in the story didn’t pay to adopt the girl. In fact, given that adoptive parents do pay huge sums of money to adoption agencies to cover administrative costs, and the overwhelming majority of them are good parents, then if anything it would seem to show the opposite.

    All the story you link to shows is that it, if this is widespread, it might be beneficial to require background checks of potential adoptive parents. (I thought this was already required, but haven’t researched it.) But given that the the initial parents seem to have passed the background checks, yet still are neglectfully handing off their adoptive children to people without investigating them, it’s far from certain that would do much.

    So, I suppose I don’t quite understand your point, the problem you think you’ve identified, or the solution you are proposing.