Bear Market in Children, Bull Market in their Clothes:
It has been noticed (Bain’s Baby Bet ECONOMIST vol. 397 no. 8704 October 16, 2010 page 81) that a company named Bain Capitol is buying out a company named Gymboree that makes children’s clothes, the buyout being conducted in spite of the fact that the number children is decreasing. 

I shall remain silent on the issue of companies that exist to buy and sell other companies.  They are now called “Private Equity.”  The term used to be, “Junk Bonds.”  You may have heard ruder names.

The buyout seems counterintuitive.  Fewer children should mean fewer clothers for children.  But in the short term children do need clothes and those who take care of them are loath to let the bairnies do without just because the growns have made a shambles of how people make a living. 

Also, according to the analysis in the article cited, people are just putting off having children because they can’t afford them, and once the economy revives they will make up for lost time.  Don’t bet on it.  At least don’t bet the whole farm on it.  There is little evidence for the economy or anything else affecting the birth rate other than kinship issues: more kinship, more kinder.  (That’s “kinder” as in German for children, not as in English for “more kind.”) 

An issue the article brings up is that doting grandparents will probably be buying things to spoil their grandchildren.  An issue that does not arise is the matter of childless aunts and uncles, who can probably be expected to spoil nephews and nieces.  There should be an enormous number of those.  But bringing up that issue would tend to raise the question of whether they are childless by choice, something few dare air. 

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