The modern individual

Someone was telling me about a powerful woman they admired whom they heard speaking. This woman said she had decided to sacrifice time on her career because she realized, approaching 40, "That if I don't have more kids I will be unhappy."

This was offered as an example of a refreshingly different attitude, but it is really the same attitude as that of someone who chooses career over kids, just with a different bundle of consumption goods being picked out. In both cases, the person is asking "Will picking this bundle of goods make me happy?" One can pick either the new Mercedes or the new baby, and the question one asks oneself is, "Which consumption good would I rather have?"

What makes these attitudes essentially the same is the question that neither those who choose career or those who choose kids even think of asking: "What should I be doing?"

4 comments:

  1. This is a bit cynical. Maybe having more kids will make her happy because it's the right thing to do and doing the right thing makes her happy.

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    1. I am, indeed, cynical in regards to the character of the modern individual. But I think I am just the right amount of cynical, while you think I am unjustifiably so.

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  2. Would you agree this is the reason why the subjective theory of value makes for such terrible policy arguments? That when libertarians argue from it, claiming that because "value is subjective" people should be allowed to use their property in almost any way to sell on the market, they're horribly missing the point of the arguments put forth against their positions?

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  3. Yes, this is a revolting attitude.

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