What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

Is Having Children a Good Retirement Plan?

November 2, 2013, 10:00 AM
Shutterstock_125778269

Perhaps most people live in traditional societies, where agriculture is the main occupation and your retirement plan is your kids.  You take care of them when you’re young and then when you’re old, they take care of you.  And so it goes from generation to generation. 

That’s why these societies don’t have a social security system, and typically, they don’t have retirement. They don’t have pension funds.  But in our modern society, in this country, the United States, and elsewhere in the developed, industrialized world, it’s not like that any more. 

A parent will have children and each one of them is very expensive because they’re not going to be working on the family farm. They might not even be taking out the garbage every week. They’re going to be preparing for their careers. 

So you’re not going to get much of a return from them when they’re young—looking at it from the point of view of the parents.  And there’s a good chance that when they finish college and they’re prepared to earn a lot in the future, they move away. 

And so they are not your insurance policy.  Now, I keep telling my children, “Remember, you’re going to have to take care of me when I’m old and can’t take care of myself anymore,” and they laugh.  I mean, they don’t say, “Forget it.”  But I don’t want to depend on that.  And so, a lot of it is my attitude. 

I think most people in my generation want to be independent of their children.  And if that is the general culture and attitude, no wonder we only have a couple of kids, rather than 10 or 12. 

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Is Having Children a Good R...

Newsletter: Share: