China’s parents have begun to rebel

SPECTATOR:

China’s parents have begun to rebel

   Brendan O’Neill says that the state’s cruel and antiquated  one-child policy is being propped up by British environmentalists with  an agenda — but the Chinese are striking back

      Professor Yang Zhizhu is a brave man. In flagrant defiance of  China’s womb-policing one-child policy, he and his wife have chosen to  become outlaws by having two children and flat out refusing to pay the  second-child fine (around £18,000). ‘Why should I pay money for having  my own kid?’ asked Professor Yang in an interview last month. ‘It’s our  right as citizens.’ For the crime of starting a two-child family,  Professor Yang was fired from his job at the Beijing Youth Politics  College and now faces an uncertain future.

Yet at the same time as this Beijing-based academic is taking huge risks to become, in his words, ‘a nail in the coffin of China’s one-child policy’, some British academics — of the miserabilist, misanthropic variety — are providing the Chinese state with new arguments for keeping the one-child policy. A Chinese teacher is trying to topple it, while British researchers are helping to prop it up.

It all started when Yang’s wife, Chen Hong, gave birth to their second child on 21 December last year. They were immediately slapped with the hefty state fine. After Professor Yang refused to pay — not, he says, because he couldn’t afford it, but because the one-child policy is ‘ridiculous’ — he was turfed out of his cushy job last month and will now live on ‘subsistence allowances’. As an illegal second child, his daughter, Ruonan, will not get the Beijing hukou, the permanent residency document that recognises her as a citizen. This means she won’t have access to public services such as education, medical facilities and, later in life, Beijing-based jobs. ‘I only pray that she doesn’t come down with some drastic illness,’ says Professor Yang.

Yang has become a hero across China — testament to the extent to which Chinese people hate the National Population and Family Planning Commission (NPFPC), the vast state body which employs an eye-popping 509,000 public servants to police and punish people’s reproductive habits. In a survey of 75,300 people carried out by a popular Chinese website, 91 per cent of respondents said they supported Yang. His university colleagues have written a letter demanding his reinstatement, arguing ‘it is time to adjust the existing family planning policy’. Even China Daily, the English-language state newspaper, admits Yang has won ‘tens of thousands of hearts across the country’.

Before Yang, tycoons and celebs had been infuriating the regime by simply stumping up the cash for the second-child fine in order that they could expand their families. One wealthy couple waltzed into their local birth control office, slammed some money on the table and said: ‘Here is 200,000 yuan £18,000]. Please do not come to disturb us.’ Poorer families, who can’t afford the fines, are having second children as secretively as possible. Meanwhile, experts argue that the one-child policy is giving rise to a demographic nightmare: China has a growing population of old people but not enough youngsters to provide for them. So some cities, including Shanghai, are starting to relax the one-child policy.

Interesting to see how totalian-loving "liberals" in the West respond.

No kidding about the liberals…if they had their way, it would be here as well.

So happy to read that the Chinese people are fighting back…God bless and keep them.

Are liberals happy to see humanity heading back to the Stone Age? How are we going to power the economy and spend at the rate we are at now if there are no people around to consume? They all want to live in McMansion, drive 7mpg Bentleys, and fly their jets around. Without people equals no econmic growth. No economic growth leads to eventual collapse of society. La dolce vita can’t continue if the eonomy cannot grow. Look at Japan. It has become a zombie nation where its economy has been trapped in stagnation cycle that it can’t free itself out. Japan is a doomed society where there are more people dying than giving birth. China is heading that way with its one-child per family policy. If China continues with that policy, sooner or later, it will face the music as well.

That’s awful, especially the second child being treated by the government as an “unperson”. £18,000 (US$26,000) is probably the equivalent hundreds of thousands in the West when purchasing parity is factored in (unless it already was).

I bet most of the Western liberals defending this totalitarian intrusion into family life on environmental grounds would be outraged if their government told them how many children they were allowed to have on pain of unemployment and destitution, or coerced or forced them into an abortion.

I presume if the child does get a terrible illness, the authorities will just let her die and deny medical treatment?

As well as the aging population, I also heard it’s responsible for a major shortage of women (already a problem due to infanticide, dowries etc. in much of Asia) since many prefer a son as their only permitted child and even abort females for being the “wrong” gender, leading to many men either marrying cousins or never marrying.

While the lack of domestic spending due to low population growth is a factor, Japan’s economic woes have had more to do with its virtual one-party rule. This has prevented changes in government policy that would have encouraged a more competitive economy. There are a number of other developed countries with low birth rates that have done much better than the Japanese.

While I do agree that the one-child policy has had some un-intended consequences at this point, I can completely understand why it was implemented.

China saw that it couldn't sustain the growth of its population in the long term and took measures to limit future growth. Good intentions with mixed results. Part of the problem is that Chinese women are not as valued as men so they are abandoned, aborted or sold. Women don't have the same oportunities that men do so their chances for success in life aren't as good.

The other thing is land and resources are not infinite and to be honest if we breed like rabits eventually there isn't going to be enough to sustain a large population. We will have eventually consumed everything. It might not happen in my lifetime but it will eventually happen.

People all over the world already don't have enough food to eat or water to drink. I would much rather put up with the difficulties of population control than the difficulties of using up everything that is left. I think the dustbowl during the Great Depression is a perfect example of what can happen. We consume and consume and consume and eventually we're just left with a big dusty field.

You act like we "evil liberals" are just out to destroy the world. Sure the one-child policy has had some very undesirable side-effects but I think the alternative could also have some bad side-effects, perhaps worse. What if the country were to collapse under the weight of its own population? Overpopulation is a worse problem to have than underpopulation.

The effect of overpopulation are not having enough fresh water or food, depletion of natural resources, high infant mortality rate, low life expentancy, filthy living conditions, higher crime rates, etc. The list goes on.

Yes, lets examine Japan for a moment here shall we?

Japan is roughly the size of California in land mass but it has to support some 126,000,000 people. California has somewhere around 38,000,000. Lets just round it off and say it needs to support 3 times the amount of people than our most populous state. Population growth is holding at around 2/10th's of 1 percent. Rather than giving them credit for stopping an obviously unsustainable growth in population we call them idiots and bag on them for their recession because obviously MONEY is all that matters. If they were to resume growing, how do you suggest they support their population when their resources are already strained?

The argument that population growth = prosperity is rediculous. A rising tide doesn't lift all ships. Nigeria is on track to tripple its population by 2050 but I don't see alot of economic growth there. India's population is out of control by any standard and there are alot of jobs there but much of the population lives in slums and is completely jobless.

There is simply more capacity for life than there are resources to sustain it indefinitely.

I got that from a quote by Biologist Garrett Hardin who said

*"I learned my first basic lessons about population and carrying capacity on the farm. All my life, I have been haunted by the realization that there simply isn't room for all the life that can be generated. The people who refuse to cut down on excess populations of anything are not being kind, they are being cruel. They are increasing the suffering in the world." *

This isn't a very hard thing to figure out.

So let me ask all the "has as many kids as you want" crowd.

What would you rather have happen? Would you rather allow people to have abortions and use birth control to limit the rate of population growth or would you rather let people have all the children they want to let them starve to death instead and there by forcing population control the hard way?

America is not the norm for the world. Much of the world starves to death on a daily basis and yet we are arrogant enough to try to tell others that they should continue to grow themselves into oblivion. Life for the sake of life is not a life I would want to live.

i read an article yrs ago about pregnant women in China being dragged out of their homes & abortion forced on them

does this only hapen when a woman has gone over 2 children?

Think about it. It’s so much more fun to be a rich man if everybody and his brother isn’t driving an SUV just like yours, or sullying the beaches with their common selves at the watering places the rich and famous like to visit. I mean, look at the ski resorts nowadays. Totally ordinary people go to them, and some even mess up the fresh powder before your manservant dresses you for skiing. :eek: And, too, it’s so much easier to have subservient domestics when most of the population is living on the edge. And it’s better still if you do it all in the name of “saving the planet” or something. You can feel so good about yourself.

“Rich” is relative to what the broad mass has.

[quote="j1akey, post:6, topic:199442"]
While I do agree that the one-child policy has had some un-intended consequences at this point, I can completely understand why it was implemented.

China saw that it couldn't sustain the growth of its population in the long term and took measures to limit future growth. Good intentions with mixed results. Part of the problem is that Chinese women are not as valued as men so they are abandoned, aborted or sold. Women don't have the same oportunities that men do so their chances for success in life aren't as good.

The other thing is land and resources are not infinite and to be honest if we breed like rabits eventually there isn't going to be enough to sustain a large population. We will have eventually consumed everything. It might not happen in my lifetime but it will eventually happen.

People all over the world already don't have enough food to eat or water to drink. I would much rather put up with the difficulties of population control than the difficulties of using up everything that is left. I think the dustbowl during the Great Depression is a perfect example of what can happen. We consume and consume and consume and eventually we're just left with a big dusty field.

You act like we "evil liberals" are just out to destroy the world. Sure the one-child policy has had some very undesirable side-effects but I think the alternative could also have some bad side-effects, perhaps worse. What if the country were to collapse under the weight of its own population? Overpopulation is a worse problem to have than underpopulation.

The effect of overpopulation are not having enough fresh water or food, depletion of natural resources, high infant mortality rate, low life expentancy, filthy living conditions, higher crime rates, etc. The list goes on.

Yes, lets examine Japan for a moment here shall we?

Japan is roughly the size of California in land mass but it has to support some 126,000,000 people. California has somewhere around 38,000,000. Lets just round it off and say it needs to support 3 times the amount of people than our most populous state. Population growth is holding at around 2/10th's of 1 percent. Rather than giving them credit for stopping an obviously unsustainable growth in population we call them idiots and bag on them for their recession because obviously MONEY is all that matters. If they were to resume growing, how do you suggest they support their population when their resources are already strained?

The argument that population growth = prosperity is rediculous. A rising tide doesn't lift all ships. Nigeria is on track to tripple its population by 2050 but I don't see alot of economic growth there. India's population is out of control by any standard and there are alot of jobs there but much of the population lives in slums and is completely jobless.

There is simply more capacity for life than there are resources to sustain it indefinitely.

I got that from a quote by Biologist Garrett Hardin who said

*"I learned my first basic lessons about population and carrying capacity on the farm. All my life, I have been haunted by the realization that there simply isn't room for all the life that can be generated. The people who refuse to cut down on excess populations of anything are not being kind, they are being cruel. They are increasing the suffering in the world." *

This isn't a very hard thing to figure out.

So let me ask all the "has as many kids as you want" crowd.

What would you rather have happen? Would you rather allow people to have abortions and use birth control to limit the rate of population growth or would you rather let people have all the children they want to let them starve to death instead and there by forcing population control the hard way?

America is not the norm for the world. Much of the world starves to death on a daily basis and yet we are arrogant enough to try to tell others that they should continue to grow themselves into oblivion. Life for the sake of life is not a life I would want to live.

[/quote]

Hmmmm. I was not aware that we "tell others that they should continue to grow themselves into oblivion." I'm guessing that perhaps your thought is more that we ought to tell them not to have children and somehow enforce that. If not, the thought itself is entirely idle.

Oh, and I don't believe I would cast India into the dustbin just yet. I have a feeling we'll be hearing a lot from India in the coming decades, as more and more of our industry and services are outsourced there.

This happens for any pregnancy after the first child. However, sometimes the woman can resist the torture/pressure and not give in to abortion.

I gotta be honest here, I was hoping someone might give me their thoughts on the actual point I was trying to make which is the problem of overpopulation, or answer the the question I had asked. Not nitpick a couple side topics but whatever.

Anyway, India currently has a population of about 1.2 billion people which is about 18% of the total world population. The population density of the country if you average it out is about 900 - 1000 people per square mile. They have about 4 times the population of the United States with about 1/3 the available land area. When I was referring to india I was talking about the population growing to such a size that it can no longer be physically sustained, eventually something needs to give. India may be the choice destination of skilled labor oursourcing but eventually I think the country will no longer be able to even remotely sustain itself if it keeps growing at it’s current rate.

I’m afraid you’ve mischaracterized my post. I didn’t suggest that money is all that matters. I said Japan’s economic performance in recent years can’t be blamed simply on low population growth. Whether economic performance is important or not is a matter about which people can disagree. However, it is easier to meet the needs of a population, whatever its size, if the government has extra money to throw around – and this is often determined by the health of the country’s economy.

[quote=j1akey]The argument that population growth = prosperity is rediculous. A rising tide doesn’t lift all ships. Nigeria is on track to tripple its population by 2050 but I don’t see alot of economic growth there. India’s population is out of control by any standard and there are alot of jobs there but much of the population lives in slums and is completely jobless.
[/quote]

I would agree that increasing the population of a country in extreme poverty is unlikely to increase economic growth. However, in the case of Japan, and most other developed countries, population growth means that a significant chunk of savings is taken out from under a mattress, or government bonds, or foreign stocks, and directed toward the needs of the new or expanding families. This pumps more money into the domestic economy.

I meant you no offense.

I believe India’s birthrate is just about at “replacement rate”, and it has been going down for some time. India feeds itself. Its real needs are commerce and industry, and it’s gaining on those. Singapore has a much greater density than India, and people there live very well notwithstanding that they import almost all food. “Capacity” depends more on what people do in a particular place than it does on how many people are there. The current populations of Australia, NZ, the U.S. and Canada could not possibly consume all the food they produce, and all could produce more than they do. And they’re not alone in that.

thats not what i heard. I heard there was no way a woman could resist. I’ve heard stories of women literally being dragged, kicking and screaming to the abortuary

China is a big place - I’m sure everything is happening somewhere. Here is an article that describes one recent atrocity, versus what the law supposedly is.

Good for them!

overpopulationisamyth.com/food-theres-lots-of-it

Why would you blame Japan’s troubles on its shrinking population?

There are many other reasons why Japan is mired in deflation and economic malaise:

I: Lower marginal return on investment/capital
For instance, Japan is a highly developed country with a very high amount of physical and human capital, and its economic maladies merely reflect this. One reason why Japanese stimulus failed because its infrastructure (physical capital) is already highly developed and further investment would have declining marginal returns. Furthermore, beyond a certain point, it would also seem that education (investment in human capital) suffers from this phenomenon also. One can see this through “credential inflation” where the value of educational credentials decline because most people have one negating the signaling advantage one receives through possession. Perhaps, beyond a certain point, education does not serve any utilitarian purpose such as augmenting existing knowledge and skill other than providing a signal for employers for innate intellectual ability and conscientiousness.

II: Competitive pressure from globalization

Declining birthrates may not be the disease but merely a symptom of another pathology. In another thread I posted:

How could it; if you wanted to maintain a K-selected strategy* for rearing children (of high parental investment where is invests a lot more resources per children in a competitive environment) then using birth control would be a rational way of doing it. This strategy is probably necessary in order to have successful children that are able to compete in the global labor market. Increased competition from globalization requires parents to heavily invest in their child’s human capital (usually education) in order so they could differentiate themselves in the labor market from their lower-skilled native countrymen, immigrant labor , laborers from all over the world. Having too many children prevents parents from apportioning the necessary resources to each child since their parental investment has to be shared among many children.

  • Referring the well-known Verhulst differential equation of population dynamics about the rate of population increase:

dP/dt= rP[1-(P/K)]

P is the population; r is the intrinsic rate of growth; K is the carrying capacity of the population; t is time.

The equation is the basic logistic curve when solved for the original function. As one could see when P is very low (near zero), then the rate of growth approximates to “rP” since the term in the brackets is close to one because (P/K) is near zero. But if P approaches K, then the rate of growth approaches zero since the (P/K) term is approaching one, which drives the term of the brackets to zero.

I proposed a counterrationalization justifying low birth rates assisted with contraceptive devices as a means for pursuing high investment parenting (the reason for high investment parenting is economic necessity from the competitive pressures of a globalized labor market which has little to do with ecclesiastical or spiritual concerns). I am not saying my rationalization is correct (from the Church’s point of view) but it could be understood with reason and intellect.

I said it was the preferred means for raising children who could compete in a global labor market for a finite amount of skilled (high paying) jobs to ensure one’s progeny’s success.

Japan can impose internal protectionist policies, but it cannot force other competitive trade surplus nations to stop invading its economic niches, or tell trade deficit nations to only buy its products. Japan’s export sector must compete with other nations, putting more competitive pressure, draining its vitality.

III: Global overcapacity

Globalization utilizing the mechanism of cross-border wage arbitrage causes overcapacity by exerting downward pressure on wages, decreasing aggregate demand.

According to the rules of neoclassical economics, over-consumption is a path to financial ruin. But overcapacity is also a path to financial ruin in a market economy. Capacity represents sunken investment which requires continuous positive returns. Under-utilization of capacity translates directly into inefficiency, a deadly sin in economics because idle plants are non-performing assets that result in financial losses. Overcapacity is not merely a temporary under-utilization of capacity; it is the systemic inability to achieve full or at least optimum utilization. Yet overcapacity is a structural condition in the world of scarcity economics, because excess capacity is the condition needed to prevent the emergence of shortages, which is another name for scarcity. But scarcity is needed to maintain economic value as expressed in market prices. Thus the market model of neoclassical economics must constantly be plagued with the curse of scarcity while simultaneously preventing scarcity with the more fatal disease of overcapacity. This contradiction is the internal paradox of neoclassical economics that traps the market economy in an arrangement of never being able to enjoy the full capacity of its productivity.

...

A more rational solution than planned obsolescence would be to end its inherent waste and to manage real demand to sustain full utilization of capacity to produce lasting quality products. This means consumers need to have sufficient income to buy quality goods and services produced by the market economy. But neoclassical monetary economics has created a financial scheme in which the people producing the goods cannot afford to buy them unless profit is greatly reduced if not eliminated, and the people receiving the profit from goods production cannot consume more of these goods. The reservoir of productivity is overflowing while the defective plumbing of neoclassical monetary economics continues to block the delivery of goods to a public deliberately kept thirsty for more goods. At times, needed aggregate demand is created by irresponsible monetary policy, either with the depreciation of money, which is the monetary effect of inflation, or with easy credit, leading to debt bubbles that can cause severe economic damage at times of reckoning. It is time to shift from the economics of scarcity to a new economics based on the concept of plenitude to cure the modern-day plague of scarcity in a land of overcapacity.

henryckliu.com/page8.html

But I also strongly respect "xenophobic" Japanese policy of restricting immigration to maintain the integrity of its national identity despite a putative demographic crisis. But I do not see how low skilled immigration would improve Japan's situation since immigrants would be competition for Japan's younger workers in the labor market and generally consume societal resources. The immigrants, in order to provide a beneficial effect of the Japanese population, need to provide service and capital that directly addresses the problems of an aging population. They should, for instance, invent inexpensive robotic instruments that are able to assist the infirm who are not able to perform the activities of daily living (ADLs) without any assistance or develop new pharmaceuticals and medical technology that can treat the symptoms of senescence afford ably. Besides providing low-wage labor for nursing homes, low-skilled immigrants tend to consume medical resources and tend to have a negative impact on societal welfare. I think Japan (and other nations) should accept its demographic fate and embrace its advantageous aspects such as a labor shortage which would bid up wages.

The Washington Post is very unhappy with Japan's government, which it complains (in a "news" story) "has all but ignored an impending demographic calamity." The calamity is a rising ratio of retirees to working age people.

The "calamity" in this story should be an intense labor shortage. That is not consistent with the relatively high (for Japan) unemployment rate that the country has experienced in recent years. Furthermore, it is not clear that a labor shortage is a "calamity" for the bulk of the country. Typically, a labor shortage would lead to a bidding up of wages. The least productive jobs, for example, the late shifts in convenience stores or parking valets, would go unfilled.

The Post however assures us that Japan faces a calamity because of "a growing clamor from business groups that predict ruinous decline because of a lack of workers. " Post reporters have apparently not be told about corporate lobbyists who sometimes exaggerate to advance their employers' interests.

prospect.org/csnc/blogs/beat_the_press_archive?month=07&year=2009&base_name=washington_post_invents_a_japa

prospect.org/cs/articles?articleId=11739

[quote="j1akey, post:11, topic:199442"]
I gotta be honest here, I was hoping someone might give me their thoughts on the actual point I was trying to make which is the problem of overpopulation, or answer the the question I had asked. Not nitpick a couple side topics but whatever.

[/quote]

People quite often make well meaning, but totally unfounded assumptions about population growth, carrying capacity and the need for central population planning. The most widely held belief is that humans always copulate like bunnies and make as many babies as possible unless they are forced or indoctrinated against it. History simply does not bear this asumption out. Since the Industrial Revolution a funny pattern has emerged: rural and impoverished populations have large growth rates while urban and wealthy populations have very small to negative growth rates. This isn't terribly recent either. In the 1800's, long before contraception, abortion, Paul Ehrlich or Mao came along, the pattern was already recognizable. When I read, I generally don't write down footnotes, so I don't have a handy web link for you. Use Google, I probably did.

It turns out that it really isn't all that hard to prevent pregnancy if you are motivated. Population levels take care of themselves when/if the population is provided with a fair legal and governmental system, education and access to markets for both goods and ideas. To the best of my reading, not one nation on earth provides all these things and has a POSITIVE population growth rate. No need for fascist tactics or indoctrination. Those things are overkill and result in counter-producive population declines.

You do realize that this is taking place in China, right? “Liberals” (whoever those boogeymen are) by your description are affluent and limit the size of their families, thus stunting economic growth. In the U.S., both conservatives and liberals are affluent and limit the sizes of their families. Where did your rant about liberals – and that of the other posters – come from? I don’t know of a single person who describes themselves as liberal and who supports China’s one-child policy. There must be some real issue that you can pin on liberals without making stuff up.

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