My country has a problem with concentration of wealth, rich people have few children and they tend to intermarry with other wealthy people. The wealth concentrates in less and less hands and soon we will become oligarchy. All those charity funds are just shams to pay less taxes.

How to make them have more kids to spread the wealth?

Democratic capitalist country. By law every child gets equal share. Adoption is fine too. Anything that would decrease concentration of wealth. Taxes won't help much due to openness of economy and rich people using tax shelters abroad. There's a whole industry of accountants and lawyers to make wealthy pay less taxes. On the other hand it's hard to hide assets from your own kids, at least for majority of parents. They are insiders who know things that tax auditors could only dream of.

Wealthy don't have more kids due to cultural reasons. Wealthy get lots of education, then they start working their cushy jobs. Most of them start family late. And those who start earlier don't see need for more then one or two kids.

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    $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – Serban Tanasa Jun 28 '17 at 14:02

13 Answers 13


A simple change to tax codes could provide a huge incentive to the rich to have children:
Change the child tax incentives from fixed amounts with percentage maximums to a straight percentage deduction with no maximum amount.

For example, in 2017 in the US child tax credits and child dependent deductions max out at 6300 dollars (for 3 children) [source]. For the poor this amount could be significant, but for the wealthy ~6000 dollars is not a motivator at all. If however you were to reduce your tax rate by some fixed percentage this would be huge for the rich.

For example if you went to a fixed 5% deduction per child: A family making 30,000 would receive 1500 dollars per child (similar to current amounts), but a family with income of 1 million dollars would see a return of 50,000 dollars per child.

At high incomes you would hit a tipping point where the child would actually make you more income than it would cost. This would be a pretty straightforward tax strategy, I can see the accountants now, recommending having another child, or possibly pushing for surrogacy, adoption, or other non tradition options. This will save the rich lots of money immediately motivating them to have more children, and would as you desired, provide for more inheritors splitting the accumulated wealth upon their death.

  • $\begingroup$ It course, you then get the situation of people having, say, hundreds of children (via adoption), all of them raised by someone else. Not necessarily a bad thing, but probably not intended either. $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Jun 26 '17 at 21:38
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think you would get hundreds this way as it is a deduction eliminating the taxes taken not a credit, at some point (8 kids at 5% each eliminates a 40% tax rate) you would just not pay any taxes, so no further incentive to have more than that. $\endgroup$ – Josh King Jun 26 '17 at 22:15
  • $\begingroup$ @JoshKing it could be an exponential tax decrease, so it can never credit. $\endgroup$ – Mathmagician Jun 27 '17 at 5:41
  • $\begingroup$ The last I heard the total cost of raising a (middle class in the UK) child was ~£125,000. The cost of upper class children is of course significantly higher as you have addition staff (nannies etc) and education (fee paying school) costs. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Jun 27 '17 at 7:00

There's a general theme here of aggressively closing loopholes, but in practice you want to open a new loophole. Remember that the drive of the wealthy is to increase and retain control of their wealth. If you push them too hard they'll leave for some overseas tax haven. Give them new loopholes to use to keep them interested in playing your games.

Consider a loophole that for example, allows the family to bypass almost all inheritance taxes if the family wealth is held by a trust but only if there are at least 32* trustees. Add a quirk that means the trustees can be no more distantly related than second cousins and it becomes advantageous for the family to be larger while occasionally buying out and spinning off "junior" branches as they become too distantly related to the "senior" line.

Allow this mechanism to also protect the family wealth from divorce proceedings, something along the lines of each individual while apparently wealthy is merely being supported by the trust and has minimal personal assets, they're merely being allowed to live in trust properties while acting as a trustee. This can be emphasised by keeping entire branches of the family living in single large buildings. Should any behaviour bring disrepute to the trust they will be removed from the position and income cut off and evicted from the property. Getting divorced counts as behaviour liable to bring the trust into disrepute.

*arbitrary value significantly larger than the average family unit


Simplify the tax code, close the loopholes, and create tax on generational concentration of wealth. If family has 1 billion and they have only offspring they will have to pay 500 million in taxes. It will be up to them to decide would they have more kids, spend their money, or donate it.

Tax heavens are actually easy to deal with, if and only if there is political will.

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    $\begingroup$ "Tax heavens" is a pretty good typo. =P $\endgroup$ – Nat Jun 26 '17 at 19:25

What you asked

Fundamentally, you're asking:

How to [motivate] the rich to [raise] more children.

You also provide the following constraint:

By law every child gets equal share.

which allows us to ignore the possibility of children being disowned and disinherited.

But you also specified:

All those charity funds are just shams to pay less taxes.


here's a whole industry of accountants and lawyers to make wealthy pay less taxes.

So how do we motivate the wealthy to raise more children? By looking at what currently motivates them and structure raising children as providing a similar benefit. In this case, they are very clearly motivated by a desire to pay less taxes. Therefore,

Legislate tax breaks proportional to the number of kids raised.

Write the legislation so that the amount of money saved from taxes per child is greater than the amount of money spent to care for each child per tax year. This creates a net-tax break. Structure the legislation so that raising more kids returns a greater tax break. More importantly: do not cap it leaving it uncapped maximizes the generational distribution of wealth.

This creates a dangerous issue: exploitation

How does one protect the children from malicious upperclassmen who intends to exploit them for financial gain?

It would seem simple to legislate the following points: 1. Each child must be guaranteed a share of the inheritance. 2. Each child must be treated humanely (and this much be checked) 3. If the child dies or goes missing, formal investigations must be had.

But, we're talking about the supremely wealthy and their armies of lawyers and accountants. Obviously, if they'd like to maximize their tax cut, they will be motivated to adopt a massive number of children. In the short term, this benefits them; however, in the long term, they may wish to keep their wealth and not distribute it after their death. Similarly, they may wish to keep the children at a manageable age to reduce costs and psychological overhead. Anecdotal example: rich teens invokes far more legal fees than rich 10 year olds. Or, they could sell the kids (ex: females) when they reach a certain age and make a tidy profit. Therefore, they may attempt to trade or remove kids from their parentage, be it adoption to another wealthy family, or 'mysterious disappearances' (read: murder, human-trafficking, slavery, prostitution). Without heavy government oversight, it would be simple for the obscenely wealthy and obscenely malicious to exploit lower-class adopters for financial gain. Similarly, one can see them forming the equivalent of a foster home.

In essence, you'd be shifting the foster-care system to the wealthy; but, like the current foster care system, incredible oversight will be required to prevent exploitation.


Just limit how much a person can inherit. Say each child gets no more than 500 times the national median income. Close loopholes. Nationalize all other assets: Give every citizen an equal share of such estates, in the form of coupons they can trade (or use to partially pay their own taxes).

THEN The rich will have more children so they can distribute more of their wealth to their greater number of children and have less of it nationalized. Heck, if we don't demand their children be born in wedlock, and only consider genetic contribution; rich men might choose to have many dozens of children, "hiring" surrogate mothers with life-changing payments in order to provide them with more inheritors.

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    $\begingroup$ You can give a lot of money to your children while you're alive and old, so inheritance is just peanuts. $\endgroup$ – Rekesoft Jun 26 '17 at 8:09
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    $\begingroup$ @Rekesoft That is an example of a loophole. Tax that money as income to the children, and there is no complexity in a law that limits the size of such gifts to, say, $1M per year, which all reduce their maximum inheritance. We can also limit foreign income; forcing any citizen to pay taxes on all money he earns, no matter where or with whom. And so on; the existing laws are written for the rich by the rich. It is rather easy to devise laws and protocols that would leave them no options or loopholes; in the end it is just forcing good accounting upon threat of prison and confiscation. $\endgroup$ – Amadeus-Reinstate-Monica Jun 26 '17 at 11:26
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    $\begingroup$ What stops the rich from emigrating to another country with less draconian inheritance laws? This seems like a solution to the problem "how do I make all rich people voluntarily leave the country?" $\endgroup$ – Solanacea Jun 26 '17 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Solanacea Another loophole that can be closed. A country does not have to allow their citizens to emigrate at all; but if they do, they can also say if you forfeit your citizenship you may no longer enter the country you left ever again or do any kind of business in it. You can't own stock in any company based here. Further, we can establish a maximum amount a citizen can leave with: Say 500 times the median wage, all the rest is forfeit as an emigration tax. Same goes for corporations, BTW, relocate out of the country and you can't do business here anymore, or even enter the country. $\endgroup$ – Amadeus-Reinstate-Monica Jun 26 '17 at 17:25
  • $\begingroup$ A great way to further encourage emigration or revolution. $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Jun 27 '17 at 23:22

Well, raise taxes for the "wealthy bracket", but add generous tax deductions for having more than one child. The point is to make having children a strong way to save money.

However, rich people won't start churning out people like bunnies just because of that.

Raising children costs a lot of time and mental energy. Those are things that cannot be bought, and for the CEO kind of rich, it's in quite short supply.

You'll have to help reduce that cost. That's a hot topic on itself, but stuff like having an ample supply of babysitters that can be hired/fired on the spot (richies love being able to do that), quality boarding schools so they can have little contact with their children and still feel good about filling their needs, etc.

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    $\begingroup$ Nannies, au pairs and governesses, the name changes through the centuries but people have been paying other people to bring up their children for a very long time. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Jun 26 '17 at 14:48

Make men not to be afraid of losing property and money on marriage and divorce. Make divorce less beneficial for women. Having kids should not put at risk one's business.

Here in Russia more than 80% of divorces are initiated by women because it is very beneficial and most men, especially rich ones, are afraid of marriage and having children because in that case they would have to pay child support without receiving anything in return (such as sex or comfort). The child support here is calculated as a percentage of income and has no cap, it may reach up to 70% of income if the man has many kids, it has 1% a day interest rate for late payments and those who fails to pay are restricted in rights (cannot drive, go abroad) and finally go to penal labor, their real estate being sold.

As a result, the rich men usually strive to have no children while only homeless and released criminals want to marry (because they have nothing to lose).

In your world the following measures should be implemented:

  • Rising the prestige and status of men in family, making divorce highly detrimental to women

  • Kids and common property should remain with the man if he wishes so. All man's investments in business are protected against divorce.

  • Divorced women are seen unfavorably by society, if with children they receive no child support neither from former husband, nor from the state, but encouraged to find a NEW husband as soon as possible.

  • The kids are supported by the current husband of a woman, the one with whom she lives.

  • Women are discouraged from working, studying and building carrier. The family is financed primarily by the man, so that women need a richer man for family.

  • The women are encouraged to marry at as young age as possible and have no choice of their husband (at least the first one). It is their father who would chose (in absense of father, the choice should belong to mother). This is because only adults can judge a man regarding his wealth and accomplishments, women, especially younger ones would in such cases prefer "love" which most likely would be criminals or hooligans (at least, so the case in Russia).

  • $\begingroup$ i love this answer, btw, i'm a Russian, and i think divorce is done quite badly in our country. $\endgroup$ – vodolaz095 Jun 26 '17 at 14:19
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    $\begingroup$ It would help this answer if you balanced it out to where the person with the assets benefits instead of just assuming the men always have the assets. $\endgroup$ – Erik Jun 26 '17 at 19:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Erik well I am writing from Russian perspective where kids are given to the women in 97% cases at divorce so it is men who are paying child support nearly always. $\endgroup$ – Anixx Jun 26 '17 at 19:05
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    $\begingroup$ @Anixx I get that but to make it broadly applicable outside of Russia you can generalize the insight. Otherwise women in your world are being represented as second class citizens without any property rights, and your answer serves to strip women of wealth more than encourage more children. $\endgroup$ – Erik Jun 26 '17 at 19:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Erik well, in any case educated and carrier-oriented women tend to have less children because they have other priorities. To have more children the women have to start bearing them at younger age. To make them bearing the kids from rich men, they should be stripped of the right to chose their husband. It should be their father to chose (otherwise the women most likely would chose criminals or street guys). $\endgroup$ – Anixx Jun 26 '17 at 19:55

Out of the top of my head, here's three:

  1. Create a legislative upper bound on inheritance, e.g. 100m (the inheritance that is left to be held within proper institutions for children's children and so forth). [Not easy to play out right]

  2. Make many-children families all the rage in fashion and a sign of wealth, for example by making it extremely expensive to bear and provide for it. [this would have adverse effects on the non-rich population]

  3. Legislate inverse inheritance: a child can only inherit from the wealth that the parents have when it is born/adopted. [devious]

  • $\begingroup$ What would make them to keep wealth in this country, instead of country with better inheritance laws? $\endgroup$ – Mołot Jun 25 '17 at 20:49
  • $\begingroup$ @Molot As long as their existing wealth is not threatened, I think that they would probably stay in the country that they already are, because it is evidently good for their business. And incentive for staying in the country was not in the OP's question anyway; additionally, there's lots more things that people could do to transcend this, or any, law. $\endgroup$ – adonies Jun 25 '17 at 20:56

People keep on talking about inheritance. I don't think that is the best lever. Mega rich people like Bill Gates have already disinherited their children to a large degree voluntarily. If we're going to really go for this then we can be really draconian.

In order to ensure the wealthy have more kids push something like the following into law:

You need to have 1 kid minimum per $500k in assets you control

If anyone can show you don't meet your minimum then they can seize your excess assets with the government retaining any assets that would exceed their limit. For the coup d'etat reward people who find loopholes in the law with proof that the loophole is being exploited the same grant of assets seized.

This puts incentives in place to enforce the laws, as well as find loopholes, and forces people to have lots of kids if they want significant assets. Plus it makes "the new rich" from asset seizure adopt a bunch of kids just before seizure so they can hold onto the maximum amount of seized assets. Of course this is severe to the point of likely destroying economies, but it is a system where you get your desired result of rich people having lots of children plus checks and balances to make sure they adhere to the law.

  • $\begingroup$ What if you're a billionare? $\endgroup$ – Mathmagician Jun 27 '17 at 5:56
  • $\begingroup$ Then they have an orphanage worth of children. The $500k can be adjusted too depending on the requirements of the story. The framework is more important than the number $\endgroup$ – Erik Jun 27 '17 at 11:55

Can you work on the cultural aspects of large families? In current American culture large families are seen as religious wackados or hippy kid collectors, for example. However, wealthy serial monogamist who build three families in their lives don't really raise many eyebrows.

How to make large families cool? Cool nannies who are well paid. Make surrogacy cool and well paid. Bird nesting. This is where divorced parents move in and out rather than shuffling the kids from household to household. Rich people could do this in style and perhaps even add to their flock via surrogacy after divorce because their kids are just that awesome.

This redistributes wealth in novel ways since some of this money will go to nannies and surrogates rather than just tax accountants.


What you are implicitly assuming here is the idea that wealth is concentrated and there is little social mobility. The true rule of thumb is that without the sorts of regulatory roadblocks and crony capitalist support system in place, families go from "shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations".

So what is needed is to understand (and if necessary uncover) the ways which the wealthy try to "shut out" competition by ambitious and hard working middle class and poor people, and open up more channels for the hard working and ambitious to move up the social ladder. The reality, of course, is that this also means there are also more channels for downward social mobility as well, so rich people can suddenly find their families destitute, and poor people may remain poor due to poor impulse control and bad decision making.

enter image description here

You can move quickly in either direction!

"Enforcing" equality through other means like confiscating people wealth and property is both wrong and counterproductive. There are plenty of examples of this, with Venezuela being the most current.


You won't need to force equal inheritance between children to accomplish what you want.

Pass a law where money can be given to children through a trust fund. That amount can be deducted from their taxes at 120% (i.e. for every dollar they give their children, they get to keep a $1.20. That's huge.) The maximum transfer to each child is limited at 1/20th of the total taxable income. The trust fund no longer belongs to the parents, so the dispersion of wealth occurs instantly.


You can't make a wealth redistribution scheme that way. Money is usually need to make money, so billionaires having a lot of children would mean a lot of millionaires more. Some of them will fail and maybe lose their money, but if you have an idea, a lot of wealthy friends and acquitances and 50 million dollars to invest your chances of success are way better than if you have only the idea.

With your premise you would go from a situation where 1% of the population has 30% of the country's wealth to one where 2% of the population controls 90% of the wealth, thus making unequality way more extreme.

If you want to tackle concentration of wealth, just tax wealth (instead, or more like alongside income) and use the money to fund the great equalizers of the world: public education and social security.

  • $\begingroup$ Disagree completely, with 4 children per couple number of wealthy will rise exponentially per generation. 1% ->2% -> 4% assuming other have two point something on average. More of them would mean they will have to spend more and invest less truth-out.org/article/item/1820:roll-back-the-reagan-tax-cuts $\endgroup$ – Dajanon Jun 26 '17 at 11:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Dajanon Since the link you provided actually supports my position, I must conclude that you either didn't understand my answer, didn't understand the article you linked, or probably both. $\endgroup$ – Rekesoft Jun 26 '17 at 12:04
  • $\begingroup$ Only the taxing part corresponds to your position. There's also a part where it says that wealthy must spend certain level of their income on consumption. If there's 3 million wealthy people they must buy 3 million mansions, and hire 12 million staff (cooks, gardeners, nannies etc). if there are 6 million as per OP geometric progression they will have to but 6 million mansions and hire 24 million staff. Since working class rely on wages its better for them to have more jobs i.e. wealthy to spend more money instead of parking them in trust funds and creating bubbles. $\endgroup$ – Dajanon Jun 26 '17 at 13:06
  • $\begingroup$ Current problem now is that some countries (East Asia, Germany etc) act just like the wealthy people, they have surplus savings which they export through constant trade surpluses. See the book Fault Lines amazon.com/Fault-Lines-Fractures-Threaten-Economy/dp/0691152632 it starts with the chapter called Let them eat credit. Assuming OP can't or don't want to implement taxation, spreading the wealth through geometrical progression will do the job too. Whether that could be pulled of in a democratic country is entirely different issue. Hardly unless there's a strong political will. $\endgroup$ – Dajanon Jun 26 '17 at 13:14
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    $\begingroup$ Taxation is nothing if the wealth is too concentrated. If there are 100 billionaires with 1 billion each and one of them hates you could find job at his enemies. If there's only 1 person owning 100 billions you are serf no matter what kind of constitution and taxation you have. With so much money they will buy all the politicians and media. That's precisely how the feudalism worked. I actually start to like OP idea more and more, though I doubt it will be ever implemented. $\endgroup$ – Dajanon Jun 26 '17 at 13:19

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