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Problems Related to the "One Child Policy"


wushijiao
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Thanks to everyone for a really interesting thread. It's wandered away from the one child policy a bit, but the topics of overpopulation, food scarcity and pollution are necessarily linked. It's also raised other issues that I would like to see in a thread. For example: can China ever reach an economic par with the developed world? At the mment, despite its enormous GDP, its per capita GDP still lags behind the Republic of Congo. Can 1/4 of the world's population ever find a market big enough to raise the standard of living to the level of Japan?

Japan did not solve its pollution by domestic means alone - they exported their polluting industries to other parts of Asia. And in order to attract investment, Asian countries have kept lax controls on pollution - a policy of 'get dirty, get rich, get clean'.

I know there are problems with the one-child policy: the greying workforce, inequality, insecurity for the poor in old age, and problems with corrupt practices in enforcing the law. But it staggers me that people disregard (as in the linked story) the inevitable overpopulation/food-scarcity problem which China will still face.

The one-child policy taken at a time when every other state ignored the advice of the father of the Green Revolution, Norman Borlaug. He said the Green Revolution would only be a temporary (30 to 40 years) reprieve from food scarcity. With looming environmental change and the crises it will cause, China will face tremendous problems. At the moment, all China can do is limit its population and try to raise the standard of living so that its people are in a better position to cope with the problems. If that means polluting further, I understand that. I wish it didn't.

We should all go take a micro economics class

I think we all need a geography lesson.:wink:

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I think any lack of food will be caused more by a small section of the population becoming very rich, fat and wasteful, more than loads of poor farmers who, if left alone, could probably survive on food they can produce themselves.

Thinking logically, a one-child policy will drop the population by half. It's not necessary.

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I think any lack of food will be caused more by a small section of the population becoming very rich, fat and wasteful, more than loads of poor farmers who, if left alone, could probably survive on food they can produce themselves.

Thinking logically, a one-child policy will drop the population by half. It's not necessary.

There is still plenty of land in this world that if used properly would be able to yield enough food for people to live at an above subsistent level. It's just about how we treat the earth.

Logging is not a horrid thing...clear cutting is. Going in and taking out the snags and the dead trees allow for the growth of new ones as well as prevent forest fire.

Keeping things green help with CO2 emissions, spacing people out and not keeping locked up in one place reduces concentrations. It's all about being smart about how we do things not in keeping our population down to 1 child per family, which now so many people are believing that children are too much money and too much hassle and not even bothering to have that one.

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Yes there is enough land to feed more people, given that other factors don't change. My demographer professor estimates 25 billion, but of course others would argue...

The same professor believes that factors will change: desertification is continuing, water table and glacial reserves are dwindling, and oil supplies are at peak (meaning they are falling). I know that peak oil is contested, but the fact is we are going to run out sometime.

The only reason we can sustain so many people is due to the use of inorganic fertilizers and pesticides - the Green Revolution. Prior to the Green Revolution we were about to exceed carrying capacity. So no fertilizers, and we are back to pre-1970s carrying capacity. There has been a 50% increase since then, which means, if oil ran out tomorrow, 33% of people will be hungry.

Yes, forests can be managed well. Even with land degradation and urbanisation, there is enough land, but only if oil and water supplies are guaranteed at current levels - which they aren't. There can't be another Green Revolution. But whenever the crunch comes, the closer we have remained to 1970s population, the better.

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I'm not following why you see oil as a necessity to this. Oil is something that can be done with out. So many products are petroleum based when there are other methods (it is just cheaper). If we got rid of oil all together there would be a hit in economy but it would not effect the other areas because there are other methods.

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If we got rid of oil all together there would be a hit in economy but it would not effect the other areas because there are other methods.

I'm happy to hear that we can do without oil. What could we use to replace inorganic fertilisers?

My point before was that the current level of food supply is only possible due to their use; the 50% increase in world population since 1970 was largely possible due to their use. Whatever the population level is when we lose oil, it will return to around pre-greenrevolution levels.

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We could always use ummm organic fertilizers...

I gather that you're referring to the traditional, beloved, composting toilet. Further discussed here.

There's a new form of energy credits in the wind that you should know about: It's a system that trades off the number of children allowed per family with the energy efficiency of the family. Those who rest their bottom on more organic methods get to produce more children proportional with the weight of their other ... errr ... output. :mrgreen: (j/k)

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