chapter  5
15 Pages

“Choice, Circumstance, and the Costs of Children”

WithSERENA OLSARETTI

The creation of new persons involves substantial costs. Children are expensive to raise-some more so than others-both in terms of the labour time that is required to satisfy their various needs and the resources they consume in the process of growing up.1 (Call these the costs of care.) And once they reach adulthoods, new persons join the ranks of pre-existing members as fellow claimant of just shares, thereby possibly decreasing the size of those shares.2 (Call these the costs of added members.) While we assume that justice requires that both types of costs of children be borne by someone, we may ask who that someone is. Does justice require that the costs of children be shared by all members of society equally? Or should some or all of those costs be borne by parents alone, in virtue of either the fact that they are special benefi ciaries of having children, or the fact that they are responsible for having them?