July 28, 2014

The Economist
25 St. James Street
London SW1A 1HG

Concerning Cancel That Violin Class ECONOMIST vol. 412 no. 8897 July 26 page 25:

“No 60-year-old ever wished for fewer grandchildren.”  You said it.  I believe it.  This is a unique opportunity.  Have grandchildren; you will not regret it, guaranteed.  The way to have grandchildren is known.  Marry a third or fourth cousin.* This fact should be in every heart and on every tongue.  Yet it is virtually unknown.  You can increase your chances more if your children marry third or fourth cousins.  This one is a bit trickier.  There is something called the “Westermark effect,” by which children brought up in the same household before age 6 tend not to marry.  So keep your children apart from their third or fourth cousins for the first few years but be sure to introduce them as adolescents.  That’s about all you can do on that score. 

All this is well established.  Happiness is ours simply by making a rational choice.  The news should light up like flash powder.  Wealth and prestige will accrue to the one who tells the world, yet nobody does.  What is going on?


M. Linton Herbert

*(References are at http://www.nobabies.net/A%20January%20summary.html You may have a policy against publishing web site addresses, in which case you can simply reference your own article in Science and Technology with the title “Kissing Cousins, Missing Children” if I remember correctly, reviewing An association between the kinship and fertility of human couples A HelgasonS Pálsson, DF Guðbjartsson… - Science, 2008)

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