Recently, I saw a documentary which featured the problems of overpopulation in The Third World countries. After watching the programme, I realise that it is everybody’s essential responsibility to confront and address the problems of an expanding world population. This is necessary because we live on the same planet and share the same resources, both renewable and non-renewable.
Population control is defined as the systematic regulating of the number of people in any given country to redress the problems of overpopulation and underpopulation. The methods vary from country to country, ranging from encouraging the use of contraceptives-to legalising abortion and providing incentives for government birth control policies in overpopulated regions, whereas in places with low or zero population growth, Intra-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) programmes are introduced to reverse the decline.
Generally, overpopulation in a country gives rise to social evils such as overcrowding, unhygienic living environments, poverty and unemployment. At this point, it is only necessary that some population control measures be enforced. However, in the real world the answer is never really simple or definite. One must always consider the political, social and economic consequences of population control.
China and India will make good case studies as they are the two most populated countries in the world.
In India, the human population has hit almost a billion. Although the country is rich in natural resources and its military technology is on par with Superpower nations like America or Russia, to date it is still, considered a third world country because a majority of its population lives within the poverty belt. Given this dire situation, it seems imperative that drastic population controls should be exercised. Despite government efforts to educate the Indian masses on birth controls, they have not succeeded in eliminating the population problems since India is a democratic country and cannot infringe on the people’s freedomBy contrast China, which is the largest communist nation in the world, has enforce -one-child policy with serious penalties for those who do not conform. The Chinese government has predicted that their economy cannot cope with overpopulation. However, since most traditional Chinese families prefer sons to daughters, it has led to numerous tragic instances of parents killing their girls in the hope that the next child will be a boy. Whatever it is, infanticide cannot be condoned as a means to population control.
Another point is that population control that brings desirable consequences in the beginning may backfire in the long run. For instance, during the 70s in Singapore, the government furiously campaigned for couples to stop at two. Later, this idea became deeply entrenched; that today, we are facing the problem of a greying population. Since our economy depends on its human resource for growth, this can be a serious threat. Currently, the government has reversed its policy to encourage couples who are financially stable to have more than two children.
In conclusion, I believe that population control is often necessary. However, trying to control a large percentage of the human population is a complicated process and often has unforeseeable consequences. As such, any government should proceed with caution.
Dasun, Jack, The War Against Population, New York: Ignatias Press 1998 (225 pp.).
Pritchett, Lant H., “Desired Fertility and the Impact of Population Policies,” in Population and Development Review, Vol.22 (no.3), March 1996 (pp.1-55)Rothwell, Betsy, Reproductive Rights & Wrongs: The Global Policies of Population Control, Boston: South Press 1992 (388 pp.).
The growth of population during the twentieth century was very quick. In 2013 the total world population was estimated at about seven billion people. It increased dramatically during the past century. The most significant world trend is the death rates are currently falling in poor and rich countries. Birthrates remain high in most poor countries and low birthrates in most rich countries. The world’s population is growing at a rate of 1.33% a year and is predicted to reach 9.3 billion people by the year 2050. (Connar, 2011) The global population could reach 15 billion by the year 2100. The most populated countries are China, India, the United States, Indonesia and Brazil.
The world’s most populated country is China. China holds about 1.3 billion of the world’s total population. It’s predicted to grow to 1.6 billion people by the year 2030. (Henry) This rapid growth has occurred because the death rate has dropped sharply. The birthrate has also fallen but the total population is huge. There are so many young people. ‘In 2020 China’s working population, age 15 to 64, will total around 1 billion.’ (Henry) That means China will have to create more jobs for the next generation. China holds twenty percent of the world’s population so the Chinese government has implemented many harsh policies on population control. It’s a debate if the government is taking the right actions to solve the issue. The 2013 population was estimated at nearly 1.3 billion. China’s annual increase has been estimated at .5% annually. India’s population of more than 1.2 billion people is increasing at a rate of 1.3%. (Census Bureau) India will more than likely surpass China’s population. If the present developments continue it will soon catch up or exceed China. The world’s oceans can only supply a limited amount of fish. Farm production is restricted by the amount of available land that the farmers could use to produce food. If the demand for food, and materials surpasses maintainable levels; this will further increase the population and it will mean each person will get less.
‘By 2015, nearly 50 percent of the people in the country will live in major cities such as Beijing and other urban areas, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD) said Monday.’ (Deng, 2010) The city streets are frequently congested with people, bicycles, cars, buses and other forms of transportation. Most Chinese people live in the rural side. These people plant rice, crops, fish, and manual labor. Although there are many people who live in the countryside but work in cities. The Chinese are very hard and good working people. Its fast growing population can stop China from achieving a high standard of living. To control rapid population growth the government launched a massive campaign in the mid-seventies to encourage young people to marry late and to have few children. In the 1980’s the government called for a family size of three. China introduced many laws to limit the number of children to one and in special situations two. (Henneberger) These measures slowed the population growth. China continues to have about sixteen million new births each year and nine million deaths each year. The population continues to grow.
Over population does not mean its right to take away human life. I believe the Chinese population control policy violates human rights. This is a very controversial issue. There are many different views on this subject. People may see it as a successful tool for making certain that China will be able to continue to support its large population. Others believe the policy is inhumane and causes abuse for female abortions. I believe China is not going about this problem the right way.
One of the slogans of the population control program is ‘If your first baby is a boy, stop there; if your first baby is a girl, try again four years later. Complying with family planning policy is a glorious obligation of every citizen.’ The one child policy is way of life. China can’t punish couples for having more than one child. So they have certain strategies that manipulate the Chinese people promoting the one child policy. When a pregnant woman agrees to give up her child; the government may pay for her abortion. A woman who had an abortion was rewarded with a paid vacation. China’s policy implements postponing marriages and child birth. China encourages couples to only have one child. Statistics show that the one-child policy has reduced the country’s population. ‘Given that the policy has been in place for 30 years, I respond, and given that each year the government aborts between 10 to 15 million women, the total number of unborn children whose lives have been sacrificed is somewhere between 300 and 450 million.’ (Mosher, 2011) The mixture of methods has been used to achieve this goal. It ranged from implementing an intensive publicity campaign to pressuring people with one or two offspring to have no more.
If you only have one child you can provide more to that child. The child can have a better life. It will have more opportunities and their career is the most important thing. Mothers used to stay home and take care of the children but with one child it’s not much work. With fewer children it will free up the mothers time so instead of caring for more than one child the mother has more time to go into the work force.
The huge population growth over the past few decades has been a cause for concern globally. Before 1979 the Chinese government issued a policy for family planning called birth-control program and promoted the use of contraceptives. Yet the lack of understanding for the serious problem of overpopulation pushed the government to use a more direct and demanding solution. In 1979 the Chinese government has implemented a method known as the one child policy or family planning to control the fluctuation of the population
However some people might argue that the one child policy is a violation of human rights. Most Chinese families prefer male children to female children. The reason for this is the men are stronger and will be able to take care of them in their old age. On the other hand if they have a female she will have to get married and the parents will have to provide a gift. As a result to this increase boy demand and you can only have one child. If the female has a girl they might kill the infant. Hundreds are being drowned, smothered, and abandoned. The couple may try again for a male. One example of this is the story of Mei-Ming which means “no-name”. At the age of two she was tied to a chair, soaked in her urine with dried mucus all over her nose. She was dying slowly and painfully with no food or water. No one visits her in her room. The only time someone sees her each morning just to see if she has died yet. Her parents abandoned her and the orphanage is doing the same thing abandoning her in the “death-room”. The reason they are doing all this is because she is a girl.
Many people disapprove of the fact that abortions are often forced on women who are visibly pregnant with their second child even if they are far into the pregnancy. I believe that a female can decide the number of children she wants. Instead of the government funding for family planning they could spend the money improving hospitals and educating to have more teachers. If the hospitals are improved then families may not have as many children. They’ll know if they only have two children those two infants will live to old age and be healthy. If the couple doesn’t get permission to have a second child and that child is born. That child cannot be registered and therefore does not legally exist. The child will not be able to attend school. Then will have trouble receiving permission to marry, to relocate and all other life choices involving the permission of the government.
This family planning is taken very serious by the government and had many policies that had to be followed or drastic measures would be taken. First off, adults had to be married and could only have one child. Then all pregnancies had to be authorized by the government and if they were not the pregnancies would be terminated by abortion. One doctor used forceps to crush the baby’s skull or injecting pure formaldehyde into the soft cap of baby’s head during or upon birth are means for aborting fully developed babies. Drowning or Smothering occurs in rural areas. Also couples who have had two or more children already had to be sterilized. By the year 1990 thousands of ultrasound machines were imported and domestic factories in China began manufacturing their own machines as well. This was because the government wanted more males born than females. In accordance with Chinese tradition, daughters join the families of their husbands upon marriage and are seldom able to offer support or care for their parents in old age. Even though the use of ultrasounds was banned for the use of sex selection later on the ban was not ever abided. “Between 500,000 and 750,000 unborn girls are aborted in China every year as a result of couples having access to the ultrasound scanner that reveals the sex of a fetus.” (Ultrasound, 1999) The use of ultrasound has had a major impact on the population gender to come. Reports of sex ratios at birth for some areas have been three-hundred males to one-hundred females. A 1991 article in a Shanghai journal warned that if the sex ratios continued to rise by the end of the century China would have an army of bachelors numbering some 70 million strong.
This population pyramid from the 1990 census gives us a good overview of China’s population over the years. This focuses on age and gender. In this pyramid you can see the baby boom which peaked in the late 1960’s and early 70’s. Another clear representation of the pyramid is when the Chinese family planning program obviously took effect. The amount of births rapidly declined. Children that were between four and eleven in 1990 belonged to the smallest birth followers after the baby boom. They were born between 1978 and 1985. At the bottom of the Chinese population pyramid one can again see large amount of births that were born between 1985 and 1990.
They are almost as large as the baby boom years. However this large number of births is just the echo effect of the baby boom between the mid-1960s and mid-1970s. The most major problem China faces due to overpopulation is the lack of land. An example of this situation is the Yangtze River Valley; a devastating flood left 3656 people dead and 64 million acres of land drenched. The expanding population forced housing projects desperate for land to deforest the areas like the Sichuan province in the Yangtze River Valley because the people have nowhere else to go but the mountains and deserts for living space. This encourages the erosion which magnified the effects of the flood.
Another major problem the Chinese people face is the lack of water. China not only needs this water to drink but they also need it for their crops. This pretty much carries the country’s needs for water. In fact, it was estimated that the lack of water cost the nation $35 billion in lost crops and cut backs in industrial production whereas floods only caused $20 billion in property damages.
Pollution is also another problem China must deal with. The amount of pollutants in the air is reported to be 4 to 9 times higher than the levels recommended by the World Health Organization guidelines. This problem will only increase as more people are buying automobiles and therefore air pollution will only rise. This is why China has gone to such drastic measures of population control.
With so many strict policies the government had some extreme consequences for those who wish not to abide by the family planning act. Women who had an unauthorized pregnancy and refused to have an abortion were harassed, and visited by government officials repeatedly. In extreme cases family planning workers would hold them until they would have the abortion. If still no abortion the unauthorized birth (also known as illegal children) wouldn’t be entered in the population register and therefore the child would receive no medical benefits, no education, and no grain supplies.
One of the newer weapons the Chinese government has brought into effect has be the introduction of the abortion vans. 600 white vans equipped with beds, body clamps and suction pumps will now scour the countryside to find offenders of the one-child policy. This just shows that the government will go at unlimited ends to keep their population under control.
Although I do not agree with the Chinese government as there are many horror stories about the one-child policy The government is doing all it can for its country to survive. The policy is a desperate attempt to lower the immense population. Food production cannot keep up with the growth in population. China must feed 1.3 billion people on just 7% of it arable land. Compare with America which feeds a population just one-fifth the size of China’s but has almost double the area of arable land. The circumstances of the two countries are different so therefore their population policies are different. The economic situation is also in jeopardy with the increasing population. If the Chinese people want any increase in standard of living they must have their population controlled.
On the other hand, why I do not agree with the one child policy is due to they’re being no freedom involved and the brutal measures they take on their own people when really their policy is not drastically changing anything. The only thing that’s going to change the Chinese population anytime soon is going to have to deal with some sort of demographic change. Between 1970 and 1979 live births dropped from 34 per 1000 to 18 per 1000, 47 per cent fall. Yet the one-child policy was not implemented until 1979! Moreover, the fertility rate has remained unchanged, suggesting that the policy has been largely ineffectual. All of this strongly suggests that China has entered the stage, or is rapidly approach it, of the demographic transition.
Since the one child policy wasn’t adopted until 1979. You have to look at years previous to the policy and years after the policy went through. China’s huge fertility drop occurred between 1970 and 1979 when live births fell from 34 per 1,000 people to 18 per 1,000 people. Since the introduction of the one-child policy in 1979, there has been no large drop in fertility and in fact China experienced a slight increase fluctuating around 21 births per 1,000 people in the 1980s. It shows how the demographic effect plays a major role in the future population. The number of young adults of reproductive age (20 – 50) will reach its maximum of more than 660 million around 2010. This explains why the period between 1995 and 2025 is the most critical for the country’s future population growth. There is a reason for the failure. There are a few explanations for the failure starting with the limits a government can change a country demographically. “Policies emphasizing later marriage and fewer children in the 1970s clearly played a part in lowering total fertility rates. Contraceptive usage in China by the early 1980s, for example, was extraordinarily high for Asia at 71 percent of women of reproductive age. Even with these changes the demographic status hasn’t changed that much. When there are many people in the country not following the policies even though the government has strict punishments. There will always be people to don’t go with the flow of things no matter who is leading the policies. Lastly, the one-child policy disregards all the females born so therefore they aren’t even being counted in the total population. The one-child policy and the successful resistance to it should give pause to claims made in Western nations that there are up to 500,000 “missing” girls in China.
Therefore, now you see all the controversy brought upon this subject. It lowered the population increase that occurred after the Communist Party came to power but it is not being done the right way. It’s not ethical to force females to abort their second child. Some may say yes for the good of the country. Some believe one child is enough but not everyone thinks like that. They shouldn’t have to suffer. China is violating the peoples’ rights. In some ways yes but the government thought this policy was necessary in an attempt to control population. It is obvious that the human population needs to be controlled. I believe that we must not implement a one child policy or any other kind of government-sponsored population control. The reason for this is simple. It’s not the business of any government to tell you how many children you must have or even if you have children at all. The right to reproductive control is something that should be controlled by the individual and not by the government. Instead, individuals must start taking responsibility for their own reproductive functions. Our planet is dying and unless we all do something fast we will end up killing the planet and ourselves. The only alteration is the planet will regenerate itself and continue living. Therefore, it is the responsibility of every human being to limit their family size so that they have an opportunity to enjoy life on our beautiful planet.