William Thien

An Observation About The Net Effect of China’s “One Child” Law

Posted on: November 15, 2011

While in college I did a stint at The Daily Cardinal in Madison, WI. The editor asked that I write an editorial on the subject of “Infanticide in China,” something I hadn’t heard anything about at the time.

I was surprised to know that China had a “One Child” law and that there was a massive problem with parents killing their female babies. Because the male child carries the family name and because males can do more work in the field, peasants in particular were killing their female babies due to a law in China that penalized parents for having more than one child, the law being implemented to control China’s ballooning population.

In the countryside in particular it was not uncommon to find female fetuses floating in the local drainage ditches. Dead female babies were found in the most unlikely places.

Yet, I digress.

The net effect of the “One Child” law is that Chinese parents were no longer strapped with raising large families, and they had large amounts of time on their hands.

Enter China’s new industrial age. With huge numbers of adults with nothing to do just sitting around in the countryside, the time was ripe for China’s new Industrial Age to arrive. There was a massive supply of labor which could be had at very low cost. China’s leadership recognized this. China realized there were so many restless peasants with nothing to do. China needed to put them to work, to keep them busy.

This made it possible for China to begin a massive new industrial age.

While parents in the rest of the world were busy taking care of larger families, Chinese parents were manning factories in the new industrial centers which China had created outside of its major cities.

China’s One Child Law, even if the accidental result of policy meant to control China’s population, made it possible for China to suddenly race ahead of the rest of the world industrially as it could staff its factories with ready and willing labor. What difference does it make if they staff their factories with adolescents today when they laid the foundation for their new industrial age with single-child families?

This of course is just an observation and there is nothing scientific about it except for the fact that it is exactly what happened.

Why make the observation in the first place? Well, if you consider that certain religions forbid the use of contraceptives and there are particular political groups that are against abortion, it poses by default the question, are such positions really beneficial to an industrial economy?

But it also makes you wonder if that was China’s original plan in the first place, to have large amounts of unwed males to work on labor intensive projects around the world? It would not be the first time China has created such an army. And everything has seemed to work out so perfectly, except for the fact that there is nobody to take care of all of the elderly Chinese. Just another observation.

As an aside to the era now there are too many males in China and not enough females for them to wed. Furthermore, there is an increasingly large population of elderly people with nobody to take care of them.

Of course China has put those circumstances to good use as well as now China has a massive work force of males with no wives that China can essentially deploy around the world in labor intensive projects, which they have done in landscapes with difficult and inhospitable terrain such as regions of Africa and South America.

Copyright © William Thien 2011

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2 Responses to "An Observation About The Net Effect of China’s “One Child” Law"

More people mean more potential industrial labor ——- yet, the Chinese one-baby initiative was meant to lessen the amount of people, and thus, potential laborers.
I mean, maybe there was too many people, but if there were that many more, that fact certainly wouldn’t have driven UP labor wages (which are controlled top-down anyhow, in the case of the Peoples Republic of China).
I highly doubt that a pure, unfettered capitalistic urge of ‘market demand’ determines wage rates in China.

I would agree with you except for the fact that American Industrialists have begun to bring production home to the United States because Chinese labor has become too expensive in many circumstances, due primarily to demand, the most significant market force of them all.

Copyright 2012 William Thien

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