Family, church, and school are the three basic people-forming institutions, and it is no wonder that they produce the best results—including economic and political ones—when they cooperate.
Even if all the market reforms of the Washington think tanks, the Wall Street Journal, and Forbes Magazine were enacted, we’d still need to kiss the Great American Economy goodbye. Below the level of economic policy lies a society that is producing fewer people capable of hard work, especially married men with children. As the retreat from marriage continues apace, there are fewer and fewer of these men, resulting in a slowly, permanently decelerating economy.
When men get married, their sense of responsibility and drive to provide gives them the incentive to work much harder. This translates into an average 27-percent increase in their productivity and income. With the retreat from marriage, instead of this “marriage premium,” we get more single men (who work the least), more cohabiting men (who work less than married men), and more divorced men (who fall between the singles and cohabiters).
All this is visible in the changing work patterns of our country, resulting in real macro-economic consequences. Fifty years ago family life and the economy were quite different.
Around 1960, just prior to the sexual revolution, the United States was the world’s heavyweight champion in economic productivity and earnings. Today we can still lift a lot, but, to extend the metaphor, we are moving down to the middleweight class. My colleague Dr. Henry Potrykus has shown that divorce alone has reduced the annual growth rate of the economy by at least one sixth since the mid-1980s, which with its compounding effect is by now quite significant.
No matter which way you look at it—through the lens of income, savings, or poverty—marriage is the great engine of the economy, with every household a building block that either contributes or takes away, millions of times over. Put all these families together, and we have the team that runs the American economy.
Monday, April 7, 2014
What's the great economic engine? You might be surprised.
It's marriage. That's the theme of this article by researcher Patrick Fagan of the Family Research Council. Sadly, there's little to no discussion of the importance of marriage and family. Many people are too busy trying to deal with the symptoms of the problem, redefining it, or simply ignoring it.