Another demonstration of the relationship of money and intelligence

In my previous post, I suggested that there was an inverse correlation between intelligence and wealth. Look! I got another data point!

i don’t know who needs to hear this but having children is *literally* free
can we please stop with the “kids are expensive” nonsense?
your lifestyle is expensive, not children
Elon Musk: Exactly

Speaking as a parent, we basically drained our life savings to raise three kids. And that was with public schools and a lower class lifestyle.

Speaking as a biologist, there’s a vast literature on energy budgets and the cost of reproduction.

Children have never been free. Maybe they seem free to billionaires for whom the expenditures on food and nannies and private schools and so forth are a tiny fraction of their ill-gotten wealth, but they really aren’t.

Maybe really rich people think their kept women pop out larvae that scuttle off into the woodwork to forage on pigeons and rodents, only to emerge years later with a magical trust fund, but that doesn’t work for the rest of us.


  1. larpar says

    “Giving birth costs $18,865 on average, including pregnancy, delivery and postpartum care, according to the Peterson-Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Health System Tracker.”

  2. robro says

    It’s very sweet of Vittorio to encourage parents not think of their children in dollars-and-cent. I don’t think of my son in cost accounting terms. However, I’m guess Vittorio hasn’t seen the hospital and doctor bills for being in labor in the hospital for 48 hours with an emergency C-section at the end. Obviously she doesn’t know about all the other costs of raising a child, particularly one who had neurological issues in a society that values fetuses but throws actual children under the bus.

    Elon is just a jerk. I would rather be near a bear in the woods than near Elon anywhere.

  3. xohjoh2n says


    I would rather be near a bear in the woods than near Elon anywhere.

    I note that given two locations and three entities, there are a total of eight possible arrangements, of which you appear to have only considered 2, possibly 3.

  4. raven says

    i don’t know who needs to hear this but having children is *literally* free.

    Cthulhu, that is cosmically stupid and obviously as wrong as possible.

    .1. Just adding up the costs of pregnancy and childbirth without considering the monetary costs, they are still very expensive.

    Pregnancy costs around 30,000 extra kilocalories total. In our society, the extra food isn’t that hard to get but it isn’t free either.
    Pregnancy also takes a huge toll on a woman’s body and health. You won’t be the same afterwards.
    You may end up with permanent injuries of one sort or another or if it really goes wrong, you will end up dead.
    Before modern medicine, it wasn’t unusual for a man to have 2 or 3 wives. Because women often died due to childbirth.


    According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture study published in 2017, the average cost of raising a child from birth through age 17 was $233,610 for a middle-income married couple with two children. This estimate was based on a family of four and excludes any college costs.

    Taking into account the effects of inflation, that same couple can now expect to spend roughly $306,924 to raise a child born in November 2023.

    Those free kids aren’t free.

    The average cost of a middle class child through age 18 today is $306, 924.
    You could add another few hundred thousand for college.

  5. Rob Grigjanis says

    Vittorio’s handle is Iter Intellectus, “the path of understanding”. Someone appears to have tied his shoelaces together just as he set out on the path.

  6. raven says

    This Vittorio has an excuse at least.
    She is obviously very stupid and/or completely out of touch with reality.

    .1 Has Elon Musk every actually said anything intelligent?
    I’ve seen a lot of his comments in passing and they are invariably very stupid, often just weird, and often just malevolent and reprehensible.
    He is after all at least a Nazi adjacent right wingnut.

    .2. Has Elon Musk ever actually exhibited any sort of benign humanity?
    I’ve never seen anything but a not very bright guy who hates most humans.

    Even his oldest kid is estranged and had nothing good to say about Elon Musk.

    These are rhetorical questions but if anyone has an answer, surprise us.

  7. raven says

    The other cost of those free kids is something Vittorio and Elon Musk are incapable of understanding.
    They may know that there are 8 billion other people on the earth, but those people aren’t real and don’t matter to them. They are just abstractions to people lacking any sort of empathy or social awareness.

    Those kids become adults and they are putting a lot of stress on our planet right now. One kid might not be noticeable but 8 billion kids certainly are.
    We collectively are costing the earth a lot.

    Global warming, mass extinctions, pollution, and resource wars aren’t free either.

  8. says

    Tried to find that tweet so I could have a laugh at Elmo’s dumb ass, but I found one of his masturbatory “Cybertruck iz awesum!!” tweets and pointed out that they are all being recalled.

    Think he’ll suspend my Xitter account…? 🤣

  9. raven says

    The other cost of a pregnancy is something few people have bothered to consider.
    It takes almost a year out of your life.
    It is work. Usually unpaid work at that.

    These days you can do what Elon Musk did, and hire people to be pregnant with your future children. This is paid work.

    The going rate for a surrogate pregnancy carrier is $100,000 to $200,000 per pregnancy.
    There is nothing free about the time and effort people put into being pregnant.

    We are lucky that a lot of people think the cost in time, money, effort, and health is…worth it.

  10. Michael says

    I saw a car yesterday with a “Expensive financial burden on board” instead of “Baby on board”.

  11. lotharloo says

    Elon is not a father, except in genetics sense. His degree of fatherness is exactly like the dude who walks into a clinic to jerk off in a cup and then walks away. In fact, I bet very few of these rich men are fathers in any real sense of the word.

  12. says

    i don’t know who needs to hear this but having children is literally free

    If that were ever true, then NO ONE would need to hear it, on any social media, from anyone.

  13. outis says

    Maybe we could propose an addendum to the various handbooks of diseases:
    – Billionaire’s Disease
    Class: brain-rotting malady
    Vector: money in excessive quantities
    Symptoms: the sufferers become convinced that whatever old crap they spout must be absolutely correct, because they are very very rich, so there.
    PZ should hurry and publish, I smell a Nobel here…

  14. jack lecou says

    What does that weird “your lifestyle is expensive” comment mean?

    I feel like he probably thinks that’s an “out”. Like maybe he’d be ready to concede that a hospital birth is X tens of thousands of dollars if called out on that, but getting medical care for a birth is just like, a lifestyle choice man. You could deliver the baby in the spare bedroom. Ditto food, clothes, education for the child.

    And yeah, in a very limited sense, I suppose it’s theoretically possible to have a baby with no real monetary cost. People in, say, uncontacted Amazonian settlements must do that all the time. But it’s Kola borehole levels of stupid on any other level, no different from pretending that people can just opt out of society (or the monetary system) by living in the woods. There are legal and social reasons it’s not actually possible to do that, and common sense reasons you shouldn’t even if you could. The high monetary cost (for things like proper nutrition and health care) is there precisely to (partially) mitigate the astronomical non-monetary costs of pregnancy and childbirth (like all the health risks mentioned up thread).

  15. garnetstar says

    Um, 18 years worth of food? Hardly see how Vittorio and Elmo could miss that.

    (And teenagers eat like horses.)

  16. jack lecou says

    If men like Elon had to give birth to their own kids, there’d be a LOT more investment in artificial womb technology then there currently is. Bearing children is hard.

  17. microraptor says

    jack lecou @16:

    What does that weird “your lifestyle is expensive” comment mean?

    I believe it means the same thing as the “Millenials could afford houses if they stopped wasting all their money on avocado toast.” Namely, that he’s talking out of his ass.

  18. says

    No children aren’t free and the children of the obscenely wealthy are definitely not free. They are a burden of everyday low and middle income earners whose taxes fund the generous government grants that provide the carpet on the classroom floors and the air-con in the rooms, not to mention the music labs, computer labs and science labs that cash starved public schools can only dream of. Meanwhile public schools who receive less government funding per student than the wealthiest private schools struggle along trying to provide a basic education with limited resources and underpaid teachers who have to fight against book banners and predatory ideologues who want to impose their version of the truth on vulnerable children.

  19. numerobis says

    xohjoh2n: I would rather be close to a bear in the woods than have a bear close to Elon in the woods.

    I wish no ill to the bear.

  20. numerobis says

    Wait, are we reading this nonsense to be anything but MRAs trying to get out of paying child support?

  21. xohjoh2n says


    What makes you think the bear is at risk?

    “There’s a significant overlap between the smartest bears and the dumbest humans.”

  22. says

    If this thread is accurate, the kid with the OP isn’t even out of school, not even done being spent on most likely. Just a measure of how oblivious he is.

    vittorio @ GJ @IterIntellectus –
    i don’t know who needs to hear this but having children is *literally* free can we please stop with the “kids are expensive” nonsense? your lifestyle is expensive, not children O25K 539K

    Hamza Mezerreg @ @HamzaMezerr…-
    Do you have children? 749

    vittorio @IterIntellectus –

    Hegel @xxclusionary –
    Why? They are literally free? How dare you turn down free fun. HOW DARE YOU!

    vittorio @IterIntellectus –
    im still in school lol

  23. raven says

    What does that weird “your lifestyle is expensive” comment mean?

    It’s just gibberish.

    If you try to unpack it, it means exactly nothing coherent.

    .1. Kids are free to you if…you impregnate some girl or woman up and then run away. She is the one paying in time, money, health, and future life success.
    She can and often will dump the baby on the foster care system.
    The kid still costs society a lot, but it isn’t costing Mr. kids are free anything.
    Unless in rare case the cops come after him for child support. It’s uncommon but it happens.

    .2. Kids weren’t even free in pre-modern civilizations.
    Those extra 30,000 kcals for the pregnancy and 300,000 to breastfeed for two years are going to be scarce and hard to obtain for a lot of people a lot of the time.

    Half your kids will die anyway because the child mortality rate ran around 50%.

    WIthout modern medicine, women had a high risk of dying of pregnancy and childbirth complications. Women were a scarce and valuable resource back then.
    For most of our history as a species, the human population grew extremely slowly and we were at high risk of extinction.

    It costs the tribe and community a lot when a breeding age female dies.

    Vittorio is just a good example of someone very stupid who managed to learn how to read and write.

  24. raven says

    Throughout most of human history, global population growth was very low; between 10,000BCE and 1700CE, the average annual increase was just 0.04 percent. Therefore, it took several thousand years for the global population to reach one billion people, doing so in 1803.Feb 2, 2024

    World population: time taken to grow by one billion 1803-2088

    Statista › Society › Historical Data

    This is how cheap and easy it is to have children.

    For almost all of our history as a species, population growth was very slow.

    This source says it took 11,700 years for the human population to reach 1 billion.
    It isn’t quite right though.
    The H. sapiens species is roughly 200,000 years old. Population growth was a lot lower than that and it took roughly 199,700 years to reach 1 billion humans.

    Modern technology makes having children cheaper but not by much. It is still a major life investment.

  25. llyris says

    Are they outing themselves as serial impregnators who refuse to pay child support?

  26. chrislawson says

    Musk’s view makes perfect sense from the perspective of a cuckoo or a parasitic wasp.

  27. says

    Musk won’t be so happy with the “lifestyle choices” some people might make as part of having kids. Like putting off buying a new Tesla car and driving their existing car a while longer.

  28. StevoR says

    @27. llyris : “Are they outing themselves as serial impregnators who refuse to pay child support?””

    Yes? Er, wait, wrong ending. Yes.

  29. says

    Quotes that seem to indicate that rational thought completely eludes these people:
    – having children is literally free
    – Jewish space lasers
    – kill the misbehaving puppy
    – windmills kill whales
    – always trust your feelings
    – there’s no vaccine that is safe and effective
    It makes me wonder if the brains of some of these prominent people have been taken over by a defectively coded Artificial Intelligence

    ‘Free speech absolutist'(ROFLMAO) the elongated muskrat is demanding that anyone who takes down an american flag and puts up a palestinian flag should be deported.

    I wish we could deport him and his insanity.

  30. stevewatson says

    @28: Only $800/year to own a cat? Even allowing US/CAN currency conversion, that’s low-ball. By quite a bit. Trust me, we’ve had a dozen of them over the last 45 years.

  31. predicated says

    Even if we generously grant that conceiving and giving birth to a child is free (assuming you do it cro-magnon style, with zero medical or other assistance, and everything works out in your favor), vittorio is still being disingenuous, because most people understand that the expression “kids are expensive” is not simply referring to conceiving and giving birth to a child, but also to RAISING that child, which no rational person could argue is free. This is scornful stupidity masquerading as rational intelligence — totally Musk’s thing.

  32. unclefrogy says

    like a lot of pop bs economics and politics it only can look like they have some insight because of the level of prosperity and security we have managed to acquire in the “modern developed world” . It is akin to the how some people have a romantic attachment to libertarianism as some kind of ideal utopian society which is only possible to contemplate in a place that is based on the rule of law and is prosperous and secure.
    Always it seems advocated by the most self-centered a**h**** available

  33. says

    Obs, the “having children is literally free” refers to the impregnation process by natural means, no more.

    Um, no, “obs,” in standard usage, the phrase “having children” does NOT refer only to “the impregnation process.”

  34. John Morales says

    The allusion was to the distinction between having a child and keeping and raising a child, Raging Bee.

    Thus, foundlings.

    (cf. Hansel and Gretel — they could have them, just could not afford to keep ’em)

    Even destitute people can have children; sadly, often more than non-poor people.


  35. says

    If “having children” refers only to getting pregnant, then the original comment is thoroughly irrelevant to any current social discussion. When people say “kids are expensive”, they’re not referring to the expense of having sex and no person who was even slightly in touch with reality could think that they did.


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