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Social Engineering
China Ends One-Child Policy

Faced with a rapidly-aging population and slower growth, China has announced it will end its controversial one-child policy. Bloomberg reports:

The party’s Central Committee approved plans to allow all couples to have two children, the official Xinhua News Agency said Thursday, citing a communique released at the end of a four-day party policy meeting in Beijing. The move, which had been expected, comes after a previous effort to relax the policy fell well short of the goal of boosting births by 2 million a year.

“It shows the party wants to take action as soon as possible, and shows there is no time to delay for China to modify its population policy,” said Wang Yukai, a professor at the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of Governance. “They couldn’t wait for the legislation to pass next year. The leaders want the new policy now.”

However, the one-child policy may be more ingrained in the culture than the Central Committee would like. When Beijing’s last effort to raise the birth rate failed, we wrote, “Human beings aren’t machines that can be adjusted in ideal ways every few years to ensure some sort of maximal societal utility.” It may be that even if they are allowed to have multiple children, Chinese parents will still choose to have only one.

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  • Jim__L

    If they’re all stuffed into cities, they may choose to have less kids.

    I’m curious how much of this is caving in to resistance (some of it Christian-inspired) against the horrible old policies of forced abortions. China’s social development, like the social development of the rest of the world (no matter how much the seculars think we have arrived at some kind of “end of history”) is still a story waiting to be written.

    • f1b0nacc1

      The real problem is that the cost of having children in China is very, very high. I have numerous friends there, and they all sing the same song….”it costs too much, fortunately we can have only one”
      Interestingly enough, the current rumor is that the government is doing this out of panic, as a means to boost their sagging popularity…if so, it isn’t working…

      • Andrew Allison

        My friend, the cost of raising children is a worldwide disincentive (hence crashing fecundity), but “fortunately we can only have one” is nonsensical. If fact, the tragedy of the one-child policy is that couples have kept trying until they got the boy they wanted. The government may well be changing the rules out of panic, but it’s demography, not popularity, that’s driving it.

        • f1b0nacc1

          I don’t disagree with you, but the quote I cited was from a Chinese citizen visiting the US. That is the standard joke (similar to the Russian “We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us” from the era of the USSR)….

        • Jim__L

          The cost of raising children has always been high.

          Support for motherhood has never been lower.

  • Fat_Man

    China is concerned about not having enough labor, and Europe has too much. This is an opportunity for a trade that makes both sides better off.

    The EU has a few hundred thousand unwanted “refugees” and no work for them. The EU should ship the “refugees” to China.

    The Chinese won’t let them sit on their duffs and collect welfare, nor will they tolerate jihadism.

    The Chinese could drive a pretty hard bargain on the deal and make the Euros pick up the costs of shipping, deworming, and feeding the “refugees” for a couple of months. But, it is clearly a win win.

    • f1b0nacc1

      The Chinese are far too smart….they will deal directly with the source, and let the EUnicks stew in their own mess…

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