China is famous for many reasons and infamous for many. But one policy of China has made it famous and infamous at the same time. The One Child Policy is a masterstroke by many accounts and a horrible law for many. It is debatable if there should be such a policy and that debate has raged on for more than three decades now. There are many benefits of the one child policy and no one can deny that. But there are many shortcomings or adverse consequences of the policy that cannot be ignored either.
List of Pros of the One Child Policy
1. China was the most populous country fifty years back and it is still the most populous country today but it has managed to control the population growth by the virtue of the one child policy. China was a ticking time bomb back in the sixties and seventies. After China became relatively stable in the post World War II era, when a hundred years of civil wars, unrests and epidemics had become a thing of the past, there was a boom in its population. It wasn’t much different from how the populations boomed in Europe and Americas but the troubling reality was that China had a huge population to begin with.
As the population rose further during the sixties and seventies, China found it increasingly difficult to feed everyone. Had the population growth remained unchecked, no one knows what kind of unrest or civil war would have shaped up. Not only has China managed to contain its population growth with the one child policy but it has managed to become a superpower with healthy citizens. China claims that it has prevented or averted four hundred million births in the last three decades, that’s much more than the population of the United States.
2. China’s manpower was an advantage back at the time when Mao initiated rapid development and industrialization. Even today, China is the most populous country and the manufacturing hub of the world. One child policy did not affect that, which was feared by some.
3. The one child policy has economic ramifications and environmental impact. An unchecked growth of population would have made China poorer. More doles, more expenditure in welfares or support schemes would have cost the exchequer and the country would not have become one of the largest economies. It would have been debt ridden and there could have been an economic collapse. Unchecked population would also have had a bearing on the environment. There could have been worse impacts on carbon emissions and global warming. The controlled growth of population helped companies in the country to keep offering jobs and families too could find livelihoods more affordable because of having only one child. Traditionally, Chinese families used to have several people living in one house and they were often poor simply because of the number of people that needed to be fed.
4. Quality of healthcare, education and the society in general has fared much better with the one child policy.
List of Cons of the One Child Policy
1. One child policy has actually failed, according to many critics. China is the most populous country with more than 1.3 billion people. Every year in the last three decades, there has been more than twelve million births or a new Greece created. That is surely not an achievement or success of the one child policy. There was a secret experiment in a county in China where a two child policy was adopted. After twenty five years of the experiment, the 2010 study found that the population growth was less in the county than in the rest of the country and the gender ratio was also healthier. This goes on to prove that one child policy is not necessarily what has curtailed the rise in population.
2. The one child policy has created many problems. Today, there is a dismal male female ratio in the country. There are fifty million more males than females. This is not natural and it is detrimental to society. The natural ratio is about a hundred and six males for hundred females. China’s male female ratio is very unhealthy. There are millions of men who don’t have wives and don’t have any girlfriends, nor do they have a chance of having one.
3. The one child policy has ensured that there is an ageing population in the country which will take away its advantage of being the most populous. With more elderly people, there would be a rise in healthcare costs, a dip in the manpower available and it would have a bearing on the economy.
4. One child policy makes life difficult for kids. According to tradition, parents stay with their kids when they get old. A man has to take care of his parents, the parents of his wife and the wife if she is not working. This puts enormous pressure on an individual. The same is applicable for a working wife. This is one reason why so many people in the country barely live from one check to another, despite the country recording unprecedented economic growth. Having siblings could have lessened the financial burden of the entire family of two, three and possibly four generations at the same time on one person or one couple.