Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

A conversation with a client about China’s one-child policy

Posted by Lissa on July 6, 2012

For the most part, I don’t talk politics with our clients. Or rather, if they want to talk politics I’ll throw out interesting anecdotes or amusing stories either from their side of the aisle or that are politically neutral; it’s not my job or my place to convince a client that he or she is wrong.

But there are some topics on which I can’t just be neutral.

Mr. H is a zany, scatterbrained, all-around nice guy who jumps around from topic to topic like a little kid playing hopscotch. I mentioned my grandmother, who was born and grew up in China, and he immediately asked for the motivation behind Chinese young women coming to America. “I go to these Chinese restaurants and there are these women who just left their families behind and don’t speak more than few words of English and why do they do that? Is it because of the one-child policy?”

I allowed how the one-child policy was pretty terrible so I could certainly understand that being a motivating factor for some of these women. He interrupted to tell me that he thought the one-child policy made sense for China.

Um. No, I don’t keep my mouth shut on this.

In a very pleasant tone of voice, and without at all attacking him, his views or his statement, I told him that I understood the goal of the one-child policy. I understood the desirability of cutting down on population growth, especially since the few fertile parts of China were chronically overpopulated. However, the one-child policy did not make any sense economically, in that it led to one child having to support four grandparents in their old age, which is just financially and demographically impossible. Furthermore, while I could understand the desirability of Chinese people having fewer children, the actual policy as it was carried out and enforced was nothing short of monstrous.

He had no idea what I was talking about.

It’s not hard to find what I’m talking about. It *may* very well be desirable for the Chinese people as a whole to slow their population growth. But I invite any of my readers to click on these two links – hell, one will probably do it – and then argue that the policy is NOT evil.

Link 1
Link 2

An article from The Economist will give you the gist without inducing vomiting.

It’s not my place or my job to change people’s opinions. But it appears that opening people’s eyes to evil masquerading as public policy is something I have to do.

3 Responses to “A conversation with a client about China’s one-child policy”

  1. momiss said

    I can’t get the links to come up but I bet you money I posted one of the them on my FB page the other day. It was a woman taken by force at 7 months and featured a picture of her afterward with the baby beside her.
    Not too many appreciated it on my page, but you are right: A lot of people have no idea.
    Personally I have observed that these same people usually have favorite they are cheering on for Dancing With the Stars or American Idol…..
    Opening people’s eyes to evil masquerading as public policy is a noble calling. Keep up the good work!:)
    I will look for you on FB. I’m Melinda Moss there. 🙂

  2. Brad Kruse said

    I think one of the assumptions getting in the client’s way, is the concept of saving and providing for your own retirement. My reading claims that Chinese save a lot, 25-50%. The problem starts with the ruling Communist party that sets savings account interest at 1%, and a government policy that sets inflation at 4-7% at all times — that is, savings *shrink* about 3-6% (or more) every year, by design of the government. Those savings are mostly loaned to various enterprises chaired by high ranking party members, at very low rates and little oversight. Another Automatic Earth post covers the weakening growth of China’s economy — and the fragility of so very much of China and the world with respect to slowed growth. (http://theautomaticearth.com/Finance/meet-chinas-new-leader-pon-zi.html)

    And that is without getting into how many families want only a boy — meaning finding mates will get interesting for the next generation.

    I wonder how many people understand the one-child family rule, without any social services available to elders, is a natural progression from a government that has no checks or balances — or that routinely ignores the law.

  3. Liberals (assuming your client is one) love how efficient Communist governments are, at least in theory. The reality is, as you point out, much messier. The demographics of one child per couple mean that in a few generations the Chinese will not be able to field a military capable of defending their nation. That’s in addition to the other problems that you mention. Of course, a government as efficient at keeping people from having more than one baby no doubt can find an “efficient” solution to the problems of a too large elderly population.

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