In 1776, Adam Smith commented on the tendency of rich women (bourgeois ladies) to have less children than poor ones. (The Wealth of Nations):
“Poverty though it no doubt discourages, does not always prevent marriage, It seems even to be favorable to generation. A half-starved Highland woman frequently bears more than twenty children, while a pampered fine lady is often incapable of bearing any, and is generally exhausted by two or three.” (p. 75)
250 years ago, rich women had less children than poor ones. But things have changed. England, and vis-a-vis America, no longer has a bourgeois class. However, we do have a replacement for the bourgeoisie. Today’s the rich girl, or “pampered fine lady” as Smith calls it, is equivalent to the modern woman.
The bourgeois lady and the modern one are different in several ways. Whereas the bourgeois lady was concerned with dinner parties, the modern one is obsessed with PHD papers. While the bourgeois lady is concerned with powdering her nose, the modern one is fretting over a job interview. And while the bourgeois lady stared out the window of an estate, the modern one gazes into a cubicle.
Yet for all these differences, the bourgeois lady and the modern one are similar in one way…
They’re both less likely to have children.
I imagine that the bourgeois lady was happier. For one, she had servants to clean the house, get her dressed, etc. And her life was spent between dinner parties and social events. How bad could it be?
But most importantly, the bourgeois lady was not exposed to 24/7 feminism (like today’s modern woman is). That fact, in and of itself, was worth a million pounds.
See Related Article: Adam Smith: On Sending Your Adolescent Abroad