January 16, 2011

Reiko Oiki
Centre for Intergenerational Studies
Hitosubashi University
Kunitachi Campus
2-1 Naka, Kunitachi
Tokyo 186-8601

Dear Reiko Oiki:
I read your letter Let Children Vote ECONOMIST vol.398 no. 8714 January 1, 2011 page 14 and agree heartily.  It is high time children got their vote, care of their parents as you point out.  Once you have said it it seems so obvious that I wonder why I never thought about it.  Florida also has a remarkably senior population.  I believe that my own county was once the oldest in the world.  It may still be.  Our schools are thought to be less than the best for that reason.  It is beyond my own expertise, but it makes sense. 

Of course in order for the impact of such a change to be fair, you really need more children.  There are other reasons for that one reads about.

Increasing the birth rate is an enormous social challenge.  It is more than a matter of hoping people will choose to have them.  There is enormous prejudice that must be overcome.  I know of no way to say it delicately, but the issue is marrying cousins.  People think the idea is dreadful.  Yet there is ample evidence that in the long run there is no other way to have children.  I have been working against this prejudice for years without quite realizing it was there.  If you want the references, go to nobabies.net and look at the article I posted December 24, 2010.  If you want more, the web log is full of evidence and thoughts on the matter. 

I suppose it is too much to ask you to take an interest in combating this prejudice.  People turn on you.  But since there is no matter more important than babies, particularly now that some countries have too few, I thought you at least ought to know.  It is an intergenerational issue.  Whether you marry a cousin or not determines not only your own fertility but that of your children. 

I wish you well.  I shall post this letter on my web log to go on record as saying I am in your camp.  If there is anything I can do to help, either with the issue of children being represented by a vote or the issue of the prejudice against cousins and what its affects have been, I am at your disposal.


M. Linton Herbert MD 

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