Should Kids Pay Their Own Way?

Political Studies (2015)
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Children are expensive to raise. Ensuring that they are raised in such a way that they are able to lead a minimally decent life costs time and money, and lots of both. Who is responsible for bearing the costs of the things that children are undoubtedly owed? This is a question that has received comparatively little scrutiny from political philosophers,despite children being such a drain on public and private finances alike. To the extent that there is a debate, two main views can be identified. The Parents Pay view says that parents, responsible for the existence of the costs, must foot the bill. The Society Pays view says that a next generation is a benefit to all, and so to allow parents to foot the bill alone is the worst kind of free-riding. In this article, I introduce a third potentially liable party currently missing from the debate: children themselves. On my backward-looking view, we are entitled to ask people to contribute to the raising of children on the basis that they have benefited from being raised themselves.



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Patrick Tomlin
University of Warwick

Citations of this work

The Prospects for Sufficientarianism.Liam Shields - 2012 - Utilitas 24 (1):101-117.
Could There Ever Be a Duty to Have Children?Anca Gheaus - 2015 - In Sarah Hannan, Samantha Brennan & Richard Vernon (eds.), Permissible Progeny?: The Morality of Procreation and Parenting. New York, US: Oxford University Press USA. pp. 87-106.
How bad can a good enough parent be?Liam Shields - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (2):163-182.
Children as negative externalities?Serena Olsaretti - 2017 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 16 (2):152-173.
From Rawlsian autonomy to sufficient opportunity in education.Liam Shields - 2015 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 14 (1):53-66.

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References found in this work

Wrongful life: Paradoxes in the morality of causing people to exist.Jeff McMahan - 1998 - In Jules L. Coleman, Christopher W. Morris & Gregory S. Kavka (eds.), Rational Commitment and Social Justice: Essays for Gregory Kavka. Cambridge University Press. pp. 208--47.
Parental subsidies: The argument from insurance.Paul Bou-Habib - 2013 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 12 (2):197-216.

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