On October 31, 2015, Professor Sarah Conly gave her commentary on China’s recent change to a “two-child” policy for the Boston Globe entitled “Here’s why China’s one-child policy was a good thing”. Dr. Conly’s logical analysis clearly laid out the value of population control for the goal of conserving resources now for the purpose of avoiding resource shortage in the future. Dr. Conly decried China’s use of force to require abortions and sterilization as a means to enforce its population controls, but did lay out economic alternatives to enforce a one-child policy should America choose to adopt one.
The above-mentioned article lays out some of the problems with this view. I will add a couple thoughts. First, for all his boasting, man does not have the ability to tell the future. Every time governments try to micromanage any aspect of their citizens’ lives, it ends in disaster. Remember all the breadlines in Soviet Russia after the government claimed to know how many seeds should be planted in order to produce the right amount of grain for future eating? How well did that work?
Second, there is no need to adopt such a policy in North America other than to give the government the ability to persecute certain segments of the population. North America already has a below-replacement-level fertility rate. Canada’s fertility rate is 1.6, whereas the United States’ is 1.9 (source). China’s, by the way, is 1.7 (source). At these rates, the North American population will shrink and shrink and shrink (as will its economies). With North American birthrates comparable to that of China, arrived at with no draconian measures, the only thing a one-child policy would do is concentrate power in the hands of those individuals who want to dictate what the rest of us can eat, think, see, read, and do with our lives. The question is, will we let them?