Yiyang Hao

This is a response to a comment to geekgirl's response to Dave Pollard. Yes, a response to a response to a response. This response of mine should appear here. But it doesn't. Oh well.

morph says [in the comments]: “The 1 child policy is something I really respect China for. It would be better to have a western style of pop control but something needed to be done. It is a good idea but I think there are cultural problems that arise from its implementation.”

The One Child Policy, while fairly successful in curbing population growth both in China and the world (the policy accounts for most of the recent decline in world-wide birth rates), it has introduced significant costs to Chinese society. One is the increased "worth" of females, "worth" in terms of declining supply, and increased demand, which has meant increased kidnapping and forced prostitution. It's also meant a surplus of young men, and where do states employ surpluses of young men? Typically the army. Boys born to families are treated liked royalty (hence the term Little Emperors) because a) boys have historically been prized as babies and b) if they can only have one, that means that boys are increasingly prized.

Granted, the one child policy has meant that a lot of women who already have a child, when they become pregnant, take "vacations" to the countryside for 9 months or so. This means that some babies go accounted for (my mom asked me what happens to these unaccounted-for babies as they grow up, and it's a question I didn't have a good answer to), which means that female babies are actually undercounted in surveys. So the problem as I described above isn't as stark as it could be. My point is that the one child policy is a coercive measure which has introduced costs, such as abortions and unaccounted-for children, as well as, in some respects, the decline in the status of girls.

While in China, though, you see all across the countryside painted on fences and walls: 生男生女一样好 ("sheng nan sheng nü yiyang hao"). That roughly translates to "having a boy and having a girl are equally good". I always thought it was funny that "sheng nan" was the first one mentioned.

Time passes, and Tina writes in saying that a major social problem was created from the one-child poilcy. Her argument, in my words: when only-children meet (when only-child boy meets only-child child girl) and marry, as they grow older, they are expected to support their parents, but instead of multiple couples supporting them, only one couple supports two sets of parents. It strains budgets and it strains traditional family ties, “especially”, Tina says, “in a society where the social safety net is rapidly breaking down”.