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One Child Policy

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#1
Vesper

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Okay, so this debate is in two parts.

Part one is about China, where a one child policy is currently in place (except for some exceptions which I will discuss later). The policy was introduced in 1979 to alleviate the problem that a booming population was causing, it was and still is, very controversial. Some people believe that it is a persons inalienable right to have children, others worry about the problems that this will cause in terms of an "ageing population". In China people over the age of 60 now account for 13.3% of the population, people under the age of 14 equals 16%, and year-on-year population growth stands at 0.57%.

Pros and Cons

Population:
Pros -
  • China's "one child" policy is the key to stabilising the global population. Global population is considered by many to be the crisis of our times - do you agree that by the China's government upholding this law that they are leading the way for a stable future?
  • China estimates that it would have three to four hundred million more people today were it not for the policy.
  • One child policy forestalls problems associated with overpopulation such as slums, overwhelmed social services, strain on ecosystems and epidemics.
Cons -
  • Condoms/better sex education is a better way of controlling the population. Countries such as Indonesia and Thailand simply increased access levels to contraceptives and have managed to cut their fertility level. Is this better than government enforced policy?
Fairness/Rights:
Pros -
  • Extreme overpopulation warrants extreme policy? Do desperate times call for desperate measures
  • One child generally improves the living standard of the Chinese.
  • China gives exemptions from "one child" in special circumstances. In the countryside, if the first child is a girl then the couple is allowed to have a second. In the city, the law is absolute.
Cons -
  • "One child" policy violates the rights to reproduce and found a family. But is this everybody's inalienable right?
  • China often forces abortions on women, violating human rights.
  • China's forced sterilisation is cruel and violates rights.
Gender

Pros -
  • The policy increases health care benefits for women.
  • One child liberates women to concentrate more on their careers and on their own lives.
Cons -
  • One child policy causes the abortion of daughters, and thus a demographic shift.
  • One child will create a generation of men without women to marry/partner.

These are just some of the categories with pros and cons in them. Others you might think about are whether the policy is good for living children in China, how it effects economics and whether it is truly beneficial to the environment.

At the moment China is in the process of replacing it's government and choosing those who will be in power for the next ten years, one of the key questions is whether the one child policy should be scrapped. What do you think? Is it fair?


Part Two is fairly simple and more questions than explanation.
  • Do you believe that there should be a cap on children throughout the rest of the world?
  • Would Western Populations "stand for it"?
  • How are we to sustain the population growth?
  • Do you believe that it is a human right to have children?
  • Is sterilisation a direct infringement of human rights?
  • Should religion have any say in something that is gravely affecting our world?
  • Is sex education and better access to contraceptives/health care a better way forward?

Just a few thoughts...

#2
WhatsUpLucas

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I think abortion, sterilisation and not allowing second/third/whatever-born kids to have their rights as humans are stupid stuff.

There obviously needs to be a way to control the demographic growth of countries like China, India and other giant countries in Asia, but I don't think it needs to be forced as it is at the moment. Asian countries are famous for their education and they should use their ever so famous education to 'teach' people that having more than one child for the next hundred years or so will only bring doom (bad word choice, maybe?) to their country and they need to watch for that using condoms, anticonceptional pills and stuff.

Kids should be able to be registered, go to school... Basically, they should not live illegally.

#3
Vesper

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I think abortion, sterilisation and not allowing second/third/whatever-born kids to have their rights as humans are stupid stuff.

There obviously needs to be a way to control the demographic growth of countries like China, India and other giant countries in Asia, but I don't think it needs to be forced as it is at the moment. Asian countries are famous for their education and they should use their ever so famous education to 'teach' people that having more than one child for the next hundred years or so will only bring doom (bad word choice, maybe?) to their country and they need to watch for that using condoms, anticonceptional pills and stuff.

Kids should be able to be registered, go to school... Basically, they should not live illegally.


I don't think kids live "illegally" as you put it.

And also to the first line - surely if they're not born then they don't have any rights? I personally don't think that anymore than two kids is a good idea when you look at our current environmental situation but...

#4
alaniluau

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I've studied the dangers of overpopulation extensively, and I'm an advocate of the One Child Policy. The earth simply can't sustain the number of humans that inhabit it already, let alone more. While some might be offended by the childbearing limit, they need to realize that overpopulation is greater than them. We're talking about a global issue that needs to be addressed--the stakes are much higher than merely personal preference. I applaud China for taking action. All things considered, the benefits of the policy outweigh the drawbacks.
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#5
Vesper

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I've studied the dangers of overpopulation extensively, and I'm an advocate of the One Child Policy. The earth simply can't sustain the number of humans that inhabit it already, let alone more. While some might be offended by the childbearing limit, they need to realize that overpopulation is greater than them. We're talking about a global issue that needs to be addressed--the stakes are much higher than merely personal preference. I applaud China for taking action. All things considered, the benefits of the policy outweigh the drawbacks.


Do you think a two child limit could be sustained? In terms of parents simply replacing themselves?

#6
WhatsUpLucas

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I don't think kids live "illegally" as you put it.


Don't parents have to pay enormous fees if they have a second kid? If they don't want to pay the fees, they just pretend the kid doesn't exist. That's what I mean by "living illegally".

I personally don't think that anymore than two kids is a good idea when you look at our current environmental situation but...


Me neither. I meant that they shouldn't impose that one-child policy the way they are imposing, rather investing in education so people will naturally not have more than one kid.

#7
Vesper

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Don't parents have to pay enormous fees if they have a second kid? If they don't want to pay the fees, they just pretend the kid doesn't exist. That's what I mean by "living illegally".

Me neither. I meant that they shouldn't impose that one-child policy the way they are imposing, rather investing in education so people will naturally not have more than one kid.


They have to pay a fine yes. I think it would be quite difficult to hide a child from the authorities in China.

But don't you think there has to be some form of legal system in place? Just to bring the issue down a bit, if a school says you can't wear trainers but then there's no punishment, surely people are going to do it anyway?

#8
WhatsUpLucas

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They have to pay a fine yes. I think it would be quite difficult to hide a child from the authorities in China.

But don't you think there has to be some form of legal system in place? Just to bring the issue down a bit, if a school says you can't wear trainers but then there's no punishment, surely people are going to do it anyway?


The fine thing, for me, would work quite well. If they raised the fine to a certain level, people would release they wouldn't be able to support their family if they had more than a child.

The key point to why I don't like the current policy in China is the cruelty to children/mothers.

#9
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The fine thing, for me, would work quite well. If they raised the fine to a certain level, people would release they wouldn't be able to support their family if they had more than a child.

The key point to why I don't like the current policy in China is the cruelty to children/mothers.


I agree with the cruelty to mothers part. Not quite sure where you're coming from on the cruelty to children part.

#10
WhatsUpLucas

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I agree with the cruelty to mothers part. Not quite sure where you're coming from on the cruelty to children part.


When you make an abortion, you take a life. When you take a life, you "murder" someone. The victim of that "murder" is a child. That's the cruelty to children I meant.

#11
Vesper

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When you make an abortion, you take a life. When you take a life, you "murder" someone. The victim of that "murder" is a child. That's the cruelty to children I meant.


Heh.



Must. Not. Turn. This. Into. Abortion. Debate.
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#12
Amanda

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In theory it may make sense to have regulations in place to control a massive population, but I'll never forget watching a documentary called The Dying Rooms.

http://en.wikipedia....oms_(1995_film)

Video in spoiler. Warning: Possibly upsetting content.

Spoiler

Edited by Poison Ivy, 21 September 2012 - 02:06 PM.
Could be distressing.


#13
WhatsUpLucas

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Heh.



Must. Not. Turn. This. Into. Abortion. Debate.


My thoughts exactly. The last thing I want to discuss is abortion. But you get my point, don't you?

#14
Vesper

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In theory it may make sense to have regulations in place to control a massive population, but I'll never forget watching a documentary called The Dying Rooms.

http://en.wikipedia....oms_(1995_film)

Video in spoiler. Warning: Possibly upsetting content.

Spoiler


I understand where you're coming from, but how else might we approach this massive issue?

My thoughts exactly. The last thing I want to discuss is abortion. But you get my point, don't you?


No. I understand your point about cruelty to mothers. But as I said, let's not go there. :P

#15
WhatsUpLucas

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No. I understand your point about cruelty to mothers. But as I said, let's not go there. http://www.greendaycommunity.org/public/...


What I tried to say right from the start is that I agree that there needs to be some kind of policy to prevent overpopulation, but I hate the way they do it in China because of all the cruelty.

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#16
Vesper

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What I tried to say right from the start is that I agree that there needs to be some kind of policy to prevent overpopulation, but I hate the way they do it in China because of all the cruelty.


Okay then, how else do you believe the issue might be dealt with/approached?

#17
WhatsUpLucas

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Okay then, how else do you believe the issue might be dealt with/approached?


As I've mentioned before, by increasing taxes and educating the citizens. With a decent education that tells them good reasons not to have more than one kid (overpopulation, starvation, global warming, etc) and the simple fact that people hate paying taxes, I believe that this can be changed. Maybe we're not talking short-term, but I think there could be a significant improvement in a decade or so.

#18
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As I've mentioned before, by increasing taxes and educating the citizens. With a decent education that tells them good reasons not to have more than one kid (overpopulation, starvation, global warming, etc) and the simple fact that people hate paying taxes, I believe that this can be changed. Maybe we're not talking short-term, but I think there could be a significant improvement in a decade or so.


If we're talking economic sanctions, doesn't that make it more viable for the rich to flout the rules? Also, don't you think by simply educating people you're relying too much on people's good nature/will?

#19
Amanda

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Did you watch the video clip before thinking it might be distressing and needed putting into a spoiler, Bryony?
I'm guessing not, as I posted it 7 minutes ago and it's 8 minutes long. Don't be put off by the title, I wouldn't post anything that might upset anyone. Believe it or not, I was admin here for several years.
There's nothing in that clip that wouldn't be shown on daytime tv.

#20
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If we're talking economic sanctions, doesn't that make it more viable for the rich to flout the rules?


Rich people usually don't have more than one kid. At least not here. Also, they are only a small percentage of the population, so it wouldn't make such a difference, would it?

Also, don't you think by simply educating people you're relying too much on people's good nature/will?


Perhaps. I have that problem.

#21
Vesper

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Did you watch the video clip before thinking it might be distressing and needed putting into a spoiler, Bryony?
I'm guessing not, as I posted it 7 minutes ago and it's 8 minutes long. Don't be put off by the title, I wouldn't post anything that might upset anyone. Believe it or not, I was admin here for several years.


Okay, I apologise and no I didn't watch it as i'm watching something else at the moment. I still thought it might be a good idea. I stereotyped what with the title being "the dying rooms" and me having read the wikipedia synopsis.

Rich people usually don't have more than one kid. At least not here. Also, they are only a small percentage of the population, so it wouldn't make such a difference, would it?


It's not what difference it would make, but if you're going to make state and life changing policy, surely you have to at least attempt to make it equal to all?

#22
Amanda

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Okay, I apologise and no I didn't watch it as i'm watching something else at the moment. I still thought it might be a good idea. I stereotyped what with the title being "the dying rooms" and me having read the wikipedia synopsis.


Fair enough, but the clip is less upsetting than the RSPCA/starving kids in Africa ads that are shown every 15 minutes on telly.
The full documentary has some horrible parts, but I would never post those.

#23
alaniluau

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Do you think a two child limit could be sustained? In terms of parents simply replacing themselves?

I wouldn't be opposed to a two child limit, especially in nations like the US where there's currently no limit whatsoever. However, assuming each female bears only two children (unlikely, considering factors like remarriage), we're still not making any headway against overpopulation. We don't need a sustained populace; we need a smaller one.

#24
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It might, however, be a start.

#25
Trotsky

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I think from a utilitarian perspective, China's one child policy actually did more harm than good, partly because its effects both perceived and actual and have been unsettling to Westerners and probably tainted potential for people to embrace voluntary population control worldwide.

I do not feel that direct coercion by governments is ever a good idea except as a last resort. It is true that we are facing a substantial overpopulation problem, and likewise true that China's policy has slightly decreased the problem - but I wonder about the overall impact. China may have preventing a large population spike, but it is still a huge contributor to anthroprogenic climate change. Especially most recently, it's embraced its new economic boom and it is my opinion they're going to crash twice as hard as the West did in 2008 when the that time comes.

In fact, it almost seems like the success of population control has given China the complacency to act even less sustainably as a whole - more cars are filling their roads than ever before, and while they claim to be pioneers of electric cars, nearly every one of their vehicles now are petroleum based. They are starting to follow to path of America and encourage rabid consumerism.

To deal with overpopulation without dealing with the insustainability of agribusiness and petroleum, and without dealing with putting a halt to our species' influence on climate change, is as useless as deciding to put out half of a wildfire.

Back to the main point though - the world is trending towards democratization, even if very slowly. Maybe this will be the case with China one day, maybe not. Regardless, populist support for major changes is essential. I don't think any of you want to live under a government that forces abortions and sterilizations, or places large families into state-controlled poverty as a deterrent.

Incentives are a complicated problem. The fact is that offering tax breaks or other benefits to compliant families and penalizing non-compliant ones does have a tangible effect. But I am very uncomfortable with a government widening a class divide in order to serve their own agenda. And I think all children deserve a basic standard of living no matter what.

So overall, I'd have to say China's policy was a mistake. It is going to be very hard to convince people in the Western World to voluntarily participate in making new, sustainable population trends now. Any effort by a government, no matter what good faith it is based in, will be perceived as authoritarian and will be resisted - and if you don't think mindset of people matters, that would be a terrible miscalculation.

The best way we can deal with overpopulation is to stress a voluntary and collective move towards renewable energy, eco-friendly practices, local consumption especially in regards to food resources, and finally raising the standards of living of the world's poor. Remember that those living in the worst circumstances have good motivation to have as many children as possible - it is as many people who can contribute to the survival of the household. Therefore I think bringing down worldwide levels of poverty will result in a natural stabilization of population across much of the world.

The humane option is usually the better option and this is no exception. It will be slower than using coercion, but the benefits to our species will be worth it in the long run.
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#26
fukingcounterstrike

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What John said :P

#27
CristhyneS

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Sigh. Well... I've been in an MUN conference for the past two days, on the UN-Habitat committe, and one of the issues we must adress on the agenda is overpopulation and meassures to try to solve, or at least control, that issue. So I've done a lot research and heard lots of different point of views, and I'm looking foward to reading what you guys have had to say about this and give in my views on it, in cases they aren't already represented in someone else's posts.

But not right now, I'll come back on Sunday once this MUN conference is over. I only wish we had had this discussion before my committee started, maybe there are some interesting ideas around here that I could have suggested aslong as they were on policy with my country.

#28
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Without going into it with big words, over population is a serious problem, so since I learned about it in school I immediately decided that I will never have children, and I will not contribute to it in any way. If I ever want kids, I wanna adopt.

When that's said and done, many people don't share my view and really want kids of their own. Not being able to because of law seems really wrong to me, especially since my mother had 5 children and aborted the 6th. Forced sterilization is going way overboard, I've heard a lot about infants being "thrown away" simply because it's not the preferred sex. It doesn't get more brutal than that.

going into this thread, I was shocked when I read the OP, the first thing that popped into my head was "human rights". I googled the rights (no, I don't know them. Shame on me.), and when I read article.5, it said that "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.". Isn't forced sterilization a direct break?

#29
spark in the night

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Wow this is tough. I agree with both sides of the coin. But in reality you can't have both.

Perhaps the focus should be shifted towards people living longer. Technology, Science, and Medicine all strive to people living longer. Whether it's treatments for diseases to anti-aging products. People want to live as long as they can. Advances in medicine are making people live longer..thus creating an in-balance in population and creating massive growth rather than balance. Birth and death are polar opposites of the life spectrum. When one person dies, another is born, thus keeping the natural balance in check.

I think I'm rambling off topic. Basically I'm torn on this debate. I don't like the idea of hindering someone from growing a family, but then again, how can they have a good life when it's too fucking crowded? The earth can only sustain so much life.

#30
Trotsky

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Wow this is tough. I agree with both sides of the coin. But in reality you can't have both.

Perhaps the focus should be shifted towards people living longer. Technology, Science, and Medicine all strive to people living longer. Whether it's treatments for diseases to anti-aging products. People want to live as long as they can. Advances in medicine are making people live longer..thus creating an in-balance in population and creating massive growth rather than balance. Birth and death are polar opposites of the life spectrum. When one person dies, another is born, thus keeping the natural balance in check.

I think I'm rambling off topic. Basically I'm torn on this debate. I don't like the idea of hindering someone from growing a family, but then again, how can they have a good life when it's too fucking crowded? The earth can only sustain so much life.


The problem with extending lifespans is that it creates a top heavy world, so to speak. A growing elderly population ultimately means a smaller chunk of the overall population active in the labor force. This can be a good thing or a bad thing; if a society manages itself well, it will bring unemployment down to record lows and stimulate the economy. But if a society is not well prepared for it, then crises result.

This is the reason politicians are always screaming about the baby boomer generation imminently crashing social security and medicare.
Russia is in way deeper shit than the US though, because their birth rate has consistently declined ever since the breakup of the Soviet Union. Their society is going to be so top-heavy they probably won't be able to deal with it.

Of course it is desirable to increase life spans, but more specifically, it is desirable to increase the quality of human life.
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