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The Multi-Million-Dollar Case for the Multigenerational Household

One of the leading causes of social dysfunction is the breakdown of the system of inheritances. 

More than just the mere inheritance of material wealth, this subject centers around the inheritance of qualities and practices that are best suited to endure and thrive throughout life on earth. 

It is the responsibility of every child-bearing parent to equip his or her offspring with the physical and psychological tools to survive, lest the parent risk imperiling his or her child through neglect. 

Unfortunately, many parents broadly misinterpret ‘neglect’ as the active forms of abuse that are visibly apparent, but ‘neglect’ is much more than that. 

In the context of parenting and families, ‘neglect’ takes the form of unmet obligations that are instrumental in enabling children to survive and thrive under the protection, guidance and provisions secured by those who have honored their responsibilities. 

As parents and as families, it is absolutely essential to clothe, feed and bathe our offspring, and it is incumbent upon us to promote learning, confidence and competence. 

In the modern world, where stringent regulations and heavy-handed laws have made life more expensive and less intuitive than before, it appears that the responsibilities of parenthood have grown commensurate with the development of those legal complexities and regulatory burdens. 

Whereas our predecessors once freely erected homes on available or, otherwise, cheaply-acquired lands, modern Americans and most of the Western world now develop properties and build homes at great expense by way of tremendous monetary costs and ongoing tax liabilities, in addition to the myriad costs of compliance with property regulations and ordinances. 

This is where modern civilization has witnessed considerable subversion of the customs that once prioritized family ethics and empowered families with stable home lives, that once brought three generations to live together to raise children and grandchildren, whereafter those children would inherit the family house to continue the tradition. 

In upholding this tradition, families achieved stability in the home with the benefit of pooled savings, wide ranges of skills and competencies, and men and women who could work together to raise their children and meet, or exceed, the family’s daily needs. 

In collaborating together, the family that stays together benefits the children through stability, and they also forego the marginal burden of building or financing another home where they would then face life without the benefits of those enjoyed synergies and shared costs of living; where the family unit will have been dissolved for the more than doubling of direct costs such as utilities and housing, in addition to those more obscure costs of time and labor in raising the children and maintaining the additional property and paying the additional taxes. 

Where those marginal costs can be expressed monetarily, we can find one of the many failings that has produced among us one of the most politicized outcomes in existence: poverty

In bringing a child into this world, one man and one woman have assumed express responsibility for the livelihood of a new human being, and ideally there is a supportive family to welcome the responsibility. 

Where that offspring inevitably fails or falters, it is the responsibility of the parents and the family to redirect the child and facilitate his development. 

In the existence of persistent failure, one can trace the outcomes back to the parents and the family unit, their genetics and their parenting methods, the mismatch between one set of expectations and the case of reality, and the divergence between situational demands and parental competency. 

Where one fails, it is not the responsibility of anyone other than that individual, and those who birthed and assumed responsibility over him, to rectify his station in life or otherwise accept the ultimate cost for continued neglect of that responsibility. 

Where parents calculatingly match their projected productivity, competencies and wealth with reality, and where they prove capable of remaining together, raising their children together, and providing those aforementioned essentials for their offspring, their heirs will stand the greatest chance of continuing that trend and empowering their own children to improve the lives of their descendants and so on. 

Where we so often find poverty today is where this chain has been broken; it is where parents have failed their children by their absence, by their abuse, by their ineptitude or inadequacy, or by their children misguidedly squandering their resources on needles excesses. 

In the modern context, one major example of needless excess takes the form of the additional home that invisibly amounts to a loss of wealth in excess of ninety-percent, as measured by the opportunity cost of homeownership. 

In deviating from the tradition of keeping the family together and raising the children with the complete family unit, the present case amounts to an opportunity cost measuring nearly $3 million over 30 years. 

This is the direct monetary cost of dissolving the family unit, and the fractured family unit is one of the primary reasons that we see so many individuals now hopelessly mired in debt or otherwise roaming the streets homeless, dejected and directionless. 

Rather than working for the benefit of a more plentiful or meaningful future, individuals and couples have pursued lives independent from their families and their own parents, where they work more than four months each year to afford housing expenses, from rent or mortgage payments to property taxes, maintenance and repairs. 

Alternatively, in the case of the multigenerational household, those funds can serve to bolster savings, investment and retirement accounts for further wealth creation, higher education and the enhancement of quality of life, advantages bequeathed upon subsequent generations who can continue the tradition. 

Wherever the family chain has severed, wherever familial accountability ceases to endure, one finds the establishment of a new standard whereby offspring are assumed exclusively responsible for themselves, where their failures reflect only on themselves and become the manufactured responsibility of other members of society instead of landing where they originally belonged, with their own families. 

These breakdowns of the family unit, though costly in the forms of wealth and opportunity cost, evidence themselves in a wide array of forms: one can bear witness to the homeless population, the drug epidemic, the incidence of single-family households, the labor force participation rate, the innumerable cases of academic and professional underperformance, the prison population, the record rates of household debt, the dearth of retirement savings, the death of entrepreneurship, and the tolerated (and even celebrated) expansion of government and the laws that bind, obligate and tyrannize its citizens. 

While the effects of family dissolution vary in form, they are evincibly expensive and dangerously destructive of the features that have long enabled mankind to flourish on planet earth. 

The historical record demonstrates that where families remain connected and accountable for each other, there can be plentiful advantages enjoyed across time for endless members of that bloodline. 

If only those families can stay together, or else prevent their failures from becoming the burden of others who have succeeded in sustaining their own, then so too can freedom and prosperity survive with them.


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