Monday, December 14, 2009

China Teaches Selfishness with Great Success but Finds Unselfishness Harder to Teach

China is famous for it draconian and oppressive one-child policy. The State presumes to tell couples whether or not they can have children and how many they can have. Fines, forced abortions and other outrages have been perpetrated against the people and propaganda has brainwashed two generations into thinking that the one-child policy is a good thing.

But now with a skewed male-female ratio and a plummeting fertility rate, China faces the prospect of becoming as old as Japan while being nowhere near as wealthy. Who will support retirees? Who will keep the economy running? Unlike Western democracies there is no line-up of potential immigrants just waiting to get into China. (Perhaps Diane Francis, who so admires the coercive one-child policy, as discussed a few posts ago, might consider immigrating. We would favor that.)

From a story in The Washington Post:
"More than 30 years after China's one-child policy was introduced, creating two generations of notoriously chubby, spoiled only children affectionately nicknamed "little emperors," a population crisis is looming in the country.

The average birthrate has plummeted to 1.8 children per couple as compared with six when the policy went into effect, according to the U.N. Population Division, while the number of residents 60 and older is predicted to explode from 16.7 percent of the population in 2020 to 31.1 percent by 2050. That is far above the global average of about 20 percent.

The imbalance is worse in wealthy coastal cities with highly educated populations, such as Shanghai. Last year, people 60 and older accounted for almost 22 percent of Shanghai's registered residents, while the birthrate was less than one child per couple.

Xie Lingli, director of the Shanghai Municipal Population and Family Planning Commission, has said that fertile couples need to have babies to "help reduce the proportion of the aging population and alleviate a workforce shortage in the future." Shanghai is about to be "as old -- not as rich, though -- as developed countries such as Japan and Sweden," she said."

Hmm. . . so they managed to educate the population through propaganda to be selfish and only have one child. Well, now that they need to reverse the message and teach the population to be unselfish and have two children, how are they getting on with that?

"Almost overnight, posters directing families to have only one child were replaced by copies of regulations detailing who would be eligible to have a second child and how to apply for a permit. The city government dispatched family planning officials and volunteers to meet with couples in their homes and slip leaflets under doors. It has also pledged to provide emotional and financial counseling to those electing to have more than one child.

The response has been underwhelming, family planning officials say . . .

Chen Zijian, a 42-year-old who owns a translation company, put it more bluntly. For the dual-career, middle-class parents who are bringing the birthrate down, he said, it's about being successful enough to be selfish. Today's 20- and 30-somethings grew up seeing their parents struggle during the early days of China's experiment with capitalism and don't want that kind of life for themselves, he said.

Even one child makes huge demands on parents' time, he said. "A mother has to give up at least two years of her social life." Then there are the space issues -- "You have to remodel your apartment" -- and the strategizing -- "You have to have a résumé ready by the time the child is 9 months old for the best preschools."

Most of his friends are willing to deal with this once, Chen said, but not twice.

"Ours is the first generation with higher living standards," he said. "We do not want to make too many sacrifices."

So let's see if I've got this straight. An anti-capitalist government instilled in the population the idea that more than one child is too expensive, too difficult and too constricting - surely a materialistic, consumerist attitude if there ever was one. This government, not giving a fig for natural law, God or tradition, employed murderous policies to kill unborn children until the population showed signs of decline. Panic then ensued as they realized that their policy was leading to economic catastrophe and the reversal of all the gains made by industrialization (which would cause serious problems for the powers-that-be and their hope of staying in power).

It sure sounds like "You reap what you sow" or "Pride goes before a fall" or maybe "God will not be mocked." Who could have predicted that it would be so much easier to teach people to be selfish than to teach them to be unselfish? (I mean, besides the OT prophets, Jesus, Paul, Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, Luther, Edwards, etc. . . . not to mention Confucius).

The so-called communist revolution, which is one of the many forms of statist, totalitarianism that dominate the historical landscape, has been a failure and the coming decades will reveal the scope and implications of that disaster.

So now, with the one-child policy discredited and apparently unfixable (if they thought coercive abortion was hard, wait till they try coercive childbearing!), I suppose it is time to cue up the Western liberal chorus of voices crying out for the implementation of the one-child policy here in the West. It is all so depressingly predictable.

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