Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Population "Problem"

Shanghai authorities are urging couples to have more children

For decades, most urban Chinese families could have only one child. China’s birth rate is among the lowest of developing countries, nearly four decades after the country restricted most urban couples to having one child. An ageing society threatens to slow down China’s booming economy and overload its pension system when too few workers will be supporting growing numbers of the elderly.

“It’s very clear that the next 10 to 15 years down the road will not be so good-looking,” said Yong Cai, a sociology professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “China should have changed this policy at least 10 years earlier when the economic and social situation was quite different. My view is quite pessimistic, that the policy change announced last year was too little, too late.”

Many Chinese couples are refraining from having more than one child as education and other costs soar, Yong said. Birth rates in neighbouring Asian countries, as well as in Hong Kong and Taiwan have also dropped.


Anonymous said...

The process of population reduction is an inevitable stage of capitalism, because having children becomes expensive and the rural outflow is not as significant as it was. Many people also tend to go back to their rural hometown after living a certain period in urban areas, and the motivation to do so can vary, but it is undeniable that some people didn't achieve their goal as they expected in the city. But I also wonder if cheap labor is actually necessary, since modern capitalism is boosting machines that replace precarious labor that used to be performed by humans. Even intellectual labor is being replaced by machines now-a-days and although machines make labor more productive, in the current economic configuration, they are not introduced to maximize the common well-being, but to merely increase profits. I don't know why the chinese government and companies are worried about China's low birth rate.

ajohnstone said...

Perhaps it is about the price of human labour v labour saving machinery.

Having lived in India for a while i noticed it is cheaper to employ people than invest in any technology...true story ...I watched a man with a hammer and chisel breaking a huge rock in a building site for a week rather than the company use a pneumatic drill which would have accomplished the same in a day...Until it is more expensive, businesses won't switch from people....i think its now taken that because of wage rises, robotics are being increased in China ...or outsourced to even cheaper labour intensive countries such as Cambodia or Bangladesh.