Thursday, May 24, 2018

China and children

Good post at The Interpreter:  Will China finally end its one child policy?

It makes the point that China has two clear demographic problems - not enough workers and not enough women:
By 2050, one in four people in China will be a retiree. This will definitely put an incredible strain on China’s one-child generation, who will have the 4-2-1 problem of taking care of kids and elderly parents, with but a nascent social safety net for support. With fewer workers paying into the system and more pensioners drawing from it, China’s pension shortfall could by 2050 reach trillions, according to a Deutsche Bank estimate.

There are, of course, other countries with greying populations. Japan takes the lead, but it has a far smaller population and a per capita GDP four times larger than China’s. That is why there’s the common saying in China, “We’ll get old before we get rich”.

It is hard to escape the conclusion that China shot itself in the foot demographically with the one-child policy. From having five people to support one retiree, the country will soon have 1.5 workers per retiree. Its bachelors need brides, its elderly need caretakers, yet its women were reduced by the one-child policy. Coupled together with a long-standing cultural preference for sons, this has led to a shortage of 40–60 million females.

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