The perils of ignoring the relationship between family stability and economics

Is the health of the family related to the health of the economy? John Hood, President of the John Locke Foundation, gives some examples of why the answer is “Yes” in his new daily journal column:

In my latest column for Business North Carolina magazine, I argue that policymakers who seek to make North Carolina’s economy more competitive can’t afford to ignore the seemingly unrelated issue of family stability.

“Economic and social policy often follow separate tracks,” I write. “But when it comes to the health of the family, the tracks converge. While people can continue to disagree about the religious or moral foundations of family life, there is simply no room for debate about the larger consequences of family stability. Higher rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births raise the cost of government and, thus, act as a drag on economic growth.”

Strong families are the building blocks of strong communities, and thus strong economies. Their economic role as producers of valuable goods and services in the household, and as investors in the human capital of future generations, may not sound romantic or “fun.” But it is fundamental to how human societies really function, or fail to function.