Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Consequences of China’s One-child Policy?

Yesterday, the Chinese government announced the first major change to its one-child policy in thirty years; the government will now allow parents to have a second child if one or both is a single child (“China easing one-child policy amid elderly boom,” and “China to ease one-child policy, abolish labor camps, report says”).  The government implemented the program fearing Malthus’s four horsemen of natural population control: famine, misery, plague and war.  In “What to Expect when No One’s Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster,” Jonathan Last outlines some of the social problems the one-child policy has birthed: too few workers, i.e. taxpayers, to fund the retirement of the elderly, a labor shortage, and a dangerous sex imbalance of 1.23 boys for every girl. On the sex imbalance, Last writes

The inevitable result of this is a large cohort of men who—as a matter of mathematics—cannot marry.  The world has seen sex imbalances before.  From ancient Athens to Bleeding Kansas to China’s Taiping Rebellion, a skewed sex ratio has often preceded intense violence and instability.  So in addition to everything else, the Chinese will have a large cohort of military aged, unmarried men—tens of millions of them—floating around at precisely the moment when the country is facing the burden of its uncared-for elderly…

All of which suggests that what America needs to prepare for in the coming decades is not a shooting war with an expansionist China, but a declining superpower with a rapidly contracting economic base and an unstable political structure…

By midcentury, China will be losing 20 million people every five years and engineering a soft landing at an “ideal” birth rate will be difficult.  He suggest that supporting religion as a solution noting that “People who regularly attend church have more children than those who do not.”  I know of one religion that would be happy to supply missionaries to preach the gospel. 

No comments:

Post a Comment