7 Billion in 2011: Should the World Adopt a One-child Policy?

By Sharon Moore on November 03, 2011

It has been a highly publicised demographic that this Halloween of 2011 witnessed the transition of the world’s population into a whopping 7 billion. This figure is more than double the size of the world 50 years ago, and nine times as large as the population in the early 19th century. The report of this data has now been sending alarm signals to various NGOs and concerned organisations about the future of Earth—where do we get our energy and food sources to feed this big a group? Can Earth sustain 7 billion people and the millions more to come in the following decades? How long will it take before the planet metaphorically collapses and becomes uninhabitable?

One-child Policy in China

Following the 1979 move of China to drastically minimise its population, several global organisations have now been pondering on the possibility of applying the same move to the rest of the world, given the explosive population growth we are experiencing. The One-child Policy stipulates that each couple is allowed only one child, with the exception of a mother give birth to twins. For the nation of China, this move resulted in a cut of 300 million people from their population. But clearly the policy has brought about a number of serious social consequences specifically in terms of sex discrimination.

The Pulse on One-Child Policy

According to Mr. John Bongaarts, the vice-president of Population Council (global NGO), the one-child policy is not a good idea. He explains that aside from the fact that no one is going to be able to stomach this kind of policy (aside from China), the world would just end up having the same predicament as Japan has now—how will we take care of a large population of old people in the coming decades? George Leeson from the Oxford Institute of Population Aging reports that if the world suddenly “turns off” the population flow, it can get very difficult to get it to run again once we decide to increase our population someday. Add to these facts the moral dilemma that the word would be facing once it is forced to only have one child per couple. Rod Dreher in Beliefnet expresses his disapproval of the one-child policy, saying that the idea is scary and “absolutely chilling.” And now, with fewer younger people to take care of the old in China, the country has been starting to have their doubts regarding the policy that they imposed.

Education and Birth Control: Strong Solutions

Mr. John Bongaarts further opines that instead of enforcing the one-child policy, governments around the world should strengthen education and birth control as primary action plans for population control. Firstly, birth control methods and contraceptives use should be introduced comprehensively to the public, especially to the women, and teach them how what these methods are for. Another option would be to build more schools and give extra incentives for girls who manage to stay in school and avoid getting pregnant. Recent research has repeatedly shown that educated women have the tendency to bear fewer children.

It is the hope of demographic organisations that the human race will gather together several intelligent ideas to discover other ways of curbing or accommodating the population. It has been noted by historians that in the past, the world has dealt with problems of the same intensity as this current one about population. Involved organisations worldwide remain positive that we can also overcome this population conundrum as we did with the other challenges that the human race has met in the past.

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