China’s economic growth, over the past 35 years, has enabled its Economy, by measure of the Gross Domestic Product, to rise to be second only to that of the U. S. Ironically, many of the other nations of East and Southeast Asia have also done so, by similarly educating the girls, as well as the boys. Educating females doubles the labor force and, as the economy grows, the Chinese People advance into higher pay-scale jobs. The larger workforce also enables country to move-up, into more-advance ed industries, as we as increases the Nation’; several standard-of-living.
China, like India, is held back, however, by its extremely large 1.35 billion population. Unfortunately, China has been slow to expand beyond its initial economic explosion. Currently, only 25% of Chinese workers are employed in the Industrial Sector, while the remaining 75% are still less-educated, and work mostly on small family farms, or repair and retail shops. China should hardly be considered a fully-developed economy.
During the early years, following the Chinese Communist Revolution, babies were encouraged, and the birth rate per woman of child-bearing age rose to around six. In 1956, Premier Zhou Enlai encouraged women to voluntarily curb the number of babies they had, but that didn’t work. So finally, Chairman Deng Xiaoping established a One-Child Policy in 1980, which carried harsh penalties for non-compliance. Over time, the Chinese birth rate per woman declined from 4.4 to 1.64, which is now far too low to sustain a stable work force.
Such Social Engineering has been a considerable hindrance in maintaining a reliable labor pool, where one generation replaces another. Currently, only one-quarter of China’s population has high-paying jobs in the cities, while the large majority of Chinese are still living and toiling in small, inefficient jobs, and barely existing above subsistence levels. China also has some questionable policies, which seem intended to keep city dwellers tied to their home provinces. (But, that is beyond the scope of this post.)
There are three main problems, that I see, with the One-Child Policy: it has disrupted the natural rotation of generations into the labor pool, as a large portion of the current workforce is approaching retirement; although there were multiple exceptions to the One-Child Policy, they were not disseminated by regional and local officials; and parts of the policy—especially the Forced-Abortions—have caused anger and frustration on the part of many young couples.
Just last year, the Telegraph (UK) newspaper posted the linked article about a Chinese woman, who was eight-months pregnant, being forced by government officials to have an abortion, in order to save her husband’s job: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11858723/China-Forced-abortion-late-term-to-avoid-one-child-policy.html.
Additionally, consider the effect that forced-abortions, mostly involving girls, has had on the boy-girl ratio. When the babies born today reach age 20, consider the potential side-effects of many frustrated men looking for wives.
Yes, China has pulled-off an economic miracle; but, it has also created a social disaster. Educate the girls: yes, by all means! But, leave the social engineering to Mother Nature. Here’s my rough outline of what China needs to do: build infrastructure out to the rural areas, including lower and medium-level factories; emphasize consumer spending in order to increase domestic consumption; totally eliminate the One-Child Policy: and pay bonuses to move young women, from one region to another, in order to massage the deficiency of women in some regions–or even consider recruiting some from other countries, such as Malaysia, Singapore or Taiwan. China needs to clean-up its mess!