In Landes and Posner’s famous, The Economics of the Baby Shortage, the authors consider the possibility that baby buyers are likely to self-selecting monsters. Not so, they argue, as
“Moreover, concern for child abuse should not be allowed to obscure the fact that abuse is not the normal motive for adopting a child. And once we put abuse aside, willingness to pay money for a baby would seem on the whole a reassuring factor from the standpoint of child welfare. Few people buy a car or television set to smash it. In general, the more costly a purchase, the more care the purchaser will lavish on it.”
I’ve always found these lines to be particularly bizarre (even in the context of an otherwise famously provocative, probably misleading, essay). In any event, they came to mind when a student in my L&E class forwarded on this chilling story.
“KIEL, Wisconsin, Sept 9 (Reuters) – Todd and Melissa Puchalla struggled more than two years to raise Quita, the troubled teenager they’d adopted from Liberia. When they decided to give up the 16-year-old, they found new parents to take her in less than two days – by posting an ad on the Internet…”