Friday, March 14, 2008

Population Control in China continues.

From The Wall Street Journal

China will keep its controversial family-planning policies for at least another decade, the country's top family-planning official said, damping any expectations of a change.

The policies limit most urban couples to having one child and to-date has prevented an estimated 400 million births.

Critics of the policies have pushed for change, saying a lower birthrate may actually lead to social difficulties because there will be fewer young working adults to pay taxes and look after the elderly. Coerced abortions and sterilizations have also been connected to the rules, and critics blame them for the current imbalanced sex ratio in China.

Comment: Those that continually espouse the dangers of population, environmentalists and Malthusians alike, may take some solace in China’s continued role as a nation that constrains its population growth: It does so by force which is an act of a totalitarian state. In truth, proponents of population control do not believe in freedom and that the free-market actually works efficiently to balance the supply and demand of population. Even though there is ample evidence to suggest that the free-market does just that.

Notice that most of the nations with the highest standards of living and with the largest economy’s also have some of the lowest birthrates (in some cases, below replacement level): For example, Italy and Japan. Poor nations tend to have the highest birthrates.

The best way to slow population or to encourage families to have fewer children is to let country’s become richer through the free-market. The higher the standard of living experienced by parents, the less they are inclined to have many children to act as social security in their dotage or as farm hands tilling the soil. Additionally, the more subsidization there is in an economy, the more likelihood it will be that couples will have more children than they could afford without subsidization (think welfare).

Lastly, capitalism has proven that “carrying capacity” does not exist for human beings as it does, for example, the Kaibab mule deer population that naturalist Aldo Leopold observed in the 1920’s. Leopold is famous for devising the concept of "carrying capacity" for his observations and study of the population explosion and subsequent crash of the Kaibab mule deer. Because human beings have the greatest resource at their disposal-their capacity to create and invent technologies coupled with the efficient incentives that capitalism helps provide-it has allowed farmers to feed more people with fewer farmhands and less land then population doomsayers and their socialist enablers could ever understand.

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