With over 1 billion people, the Chinese government has taken drastic steps to limit the number of children a couple can have. Principally the government has relied on a system of monetary fines to keep the policy in check.
But it seems that well-off families who could easily pay fines for violating China’s “one child per family” policy were completely ignoring it.
Government officials decided to up the ante by creating a stiffer penalty. Those who violate the family planning policy will now get a “black mark” on their credit report, which is expected to create sufficient embarrassment to keep families from having a second or third child.
Urban couples are held to strict standards – one child per family, period. In some rural areas, apparently couples who get a girl on the first try are allowed to have a second child, in hopes of creating a boy. (My feminist sensibilities are greatly annoyed by this, but that is not the topic of this article…)
This may seem drastic to Americans, but the Chinese understand that without population controls in place they will not be able to support their exploding population.
One of the arguments we often hear in the child free community is that humankind will go extinct if we don’t reproduce. Nonsense!
I was recently doing some research on the 1920s and was shocked to discover that our population has more than doubled in the past 80 years. MORE THAN DOUBLED! That is an awful lot more people in a pretty short period of time. With our shaky economy in transition, it seems like a very scary time indeed to be adding to the population.
I often wonder if people who tell me I should have a baby actually believe we will all become extinct if I don’t. I mean, even though the number of child free is growing, we are still a vast minority. I don’t think the decision of any one of us will cause some kind of global catastrophe. We are more likely to destroy ourselves through war, global warming, excessive pollution, or some natural disaster.
And even though a child isn’t something I want or need in my life, people who argue the population point seem to think some esoteric “moral obligation” should erase my desire NOT to have kids. Can you think of a warmer, fuzzier image than telling your child he or she was born “to ensure the existence of the human race”? Now there’s a Kodak moment!
The bottom line is this. No country in the world has licked the problem of poverty. Too many people and not enough resources causes it. Until we can figure out how to evenly distribute wealth across the globe, controlling the population seems like a good idea.
Unless we colonize Mars or the Moon. Or dispense with money all together, like they do in the future on Star Trek.
In the meantime, I think I’ll stick with my own choice, which actually doesn’t have anything to do with population control. It has to do with the simple fact that…
I JUST DON’T WANT KIDS!!!