7 Billion People and “One Child” Policy Revisited

 

On October 31, 2011, our planet will have reached a population milestone; seven billion people will be competing for resources. Issues obviously arise when population growth is predicted to outpace our planet’s ability to sustain it. These issues are not new either; some may remember having read the gloomy predictions by Malthus in his Essay on the Principle of Population. Though it was written in the 18th and revised through the early 19th century before issues of peak oil use, water conservation, land use, and pollution became prevalent, Malthus nevertheless recognized that unchecked population growth leads to periods of severe societal distress.

Most modern and modernizing countries have taken affirmative steps to curtail rampant population growth through teaching proper use of contraceptives and other pregnancy prevention measures. India, with a current population closer to 1.2 billion individuals is set to eclipse China as the world’s most populous country within the next half century. As indicated in this CNN article, Indian officials go so far as to offer economic rewards to those who subject themselves to sterilization. While such measures may be questioned by some, they are defended as being totally voluntary. Still other countries have used far more draconian measures to slow population growth. The primary and often criticized case is China and its contentious “One Child” policy. Is this policy more attractive as a desperate measure to curtail population booms, especially in Asia where more than one-third of the seven billion people live? I argue that it is not, as its effects on the population and the socio-economic imbalances it has created will prove to be detrimental to China’s social and economic development in the long run.… <Read More>