Where’s the Emergency Brake on This Thing?

Jan 17, 2017 11:45 AM ET

Ideally, the free market would have some mechanism by which the interests of future generations are protected. It would have some emergency brake to stop excessive consumption that might leave future generations with less than they deserve.


My son is awesome. I don’t mean the “Take that dads everywhere, my kid is better than yours,” kind of awesome. More of the “Dang, my wife and I are lucky as heck that he’s so happy and easy-going,” kind of awesome.

We honestly couldn’t have asked for more in our entry into the world of parenting. At nearly six months of age, he is a pure blessing, through and through. If we were to never have another child, that would be okay. We are thankful for J.R.

That said, we know we want another child. Having siblings was a big part of my childhood, and it is still a big part of my adult life. Chantel feels the same. We hope that J.R. and our child-to-be will enjoy the special bond that so many siblings get to share.

We talk often about our future child. Which is kind of crazy, given that he or she doesn’t exist yet. No social security number, no heartbeat, no name. To us though, this little person is real. I don’t need to know what my child’s face will look like to begin loving him or her for a lifetime.

Moreover, my daughter or son is not alone. Our “Tomorrow’s Child” will join the billions of future girls and boys who will grow up to be women and men on this remarkable planet. Generations of people with hopes and dreams are coming, and I want to honor them by leaving a healthy home for them.

So what does this have to do with a flaw in the free market that I teased at in last week’s post? A lot, actually. And I can reduce it all to four simple words: the market ignores them.

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Valerie Bennett
Ray C. Anderson Foundation
+1 (770) 317-5858