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It’s this simple: If we – each one of us – wants to be coming from a place of justice, we have to prioritize giving every child a fair start in life.

That means reforming our family planning systems – through high incentives and entitlements – to ensure all future children minimum levels of welfare, approaching birth equity, and a meaningful role in their democracies. It means stopping pushing women to have kids.

That’s the message in a new peer-reviewed book, containing articles originally published by Yale, Duke, Northwestern and other university, by folks at the Fair Start Movement. As the book details, the way we think about having kids is the product of a power grab by elites in the Twentieth Century who wanted to evade their collective obligations to invest more in kids. This fact is indisputable: Those who designed our family planning systems 1) created something unsustainable, that 2) benefitted those in power and 3) hurt the most vulnerable.

Those systems make most claims about us making the world a better place misleading; our creation norm and paradigm contradicts and is busy undoing the things we claim.

Making the fair start change means moving from family planning policies focused on the unsustainable growth big business wants, to a universal child-centric Fair Start model focused on parental readiness, leveling the field between rich and poor kids, and promoting more sustainable families for all. That is the most effective solution to the crises we face today, from the climate to inequity, and starting from a just place frees us.

How? Every day we do things that show we wish to be self-determining people, to be free and not determined by others. But there is a cognitive dissonance at work here blocking that from happening. The level at which we can be self-determining first depends on who we are – on our creation and our initial relations to others. If we don’t use fairness at that point, we end up with power differentials that subject some person to the power of others. We never constitute, or come together as free nd equal people under an ongoing condition of limited and decentralized power.

Take Action: The most just solution to our crises is also the most effective

Our nations are not constituted by god-like founders in the past. They are constantly being constituted by people, as we create and care for them – and the majority of people and whose rights matter, will live in the future. If we don’t start that process fairly, at Fair Start, we always come from an unjust place. We remain preconstitutional. We can do better. 

1. Join us in this simple discourse, in which we admit to each other that every child’s right to a Fair Start limits our right to wealth and makes it partially subject to the needs of future generations. No nation, or its legal system, can claim any form of political legitimacy without prioritizing every child’s right to an ecosocial Fair Start in life, which transfers power – or constitutes – from the most powerful to the least.

Let’s come together from a just place.

2. Let’s urge the United Nations to make Fair Start – under Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – a universal standard. Nothing exists outside the frame of justifiable we, and it starts with the creation of future generations.

3. Finally, please urge any groups you support or work with to join our call for mandatory population policy disclosures. We need to know who, among us, promotes putting an unlimited number of children, without any guaranteed levels of preparation, equity, or influential role in their democracy, into an increasingly degraded ecological future.

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