COTTO: China's one-child policy is destroying America

The time is now for America to consider humane and reasonable population stabilization policies. Photo: Flickr commons

FLORIDA, June 28, 2013 — Several nights ago, a most interesting episode of Mary Tyler Moore was rerun.

Mary Richards delivered an on-air editorial about population control for WJM-TV. She detailed the harsh realities of population instability and warned that that Earth could one day be home to over seven billion people.  

Fast forward over forty years, and that day has long since passed.

Back in the early 1970s, when that prophetic MTM moment first aired, America was the world’s indisputable economic powerhouse. This nation had a national security apparatus bar none and a macro-level culture into which diverse groups assimilated. There were problems, to be sure. Violent crime as well as drug use were skyrocketing, and the U.S. was still coming to terms with the Civil Rights Era.

Nonetheless, one did not need a Bachelor’s degree to have a reasonable chance for middle-class life. Americans also seemed to have a greater degree of trust in one another, along with optimism for the future.

Today, the U.S. is kicking back as China, India, and other developing countries vie for world leader status. To say that the country is just kicking back is a bit of an understatement. America is actually reclining into a deep, dark valley of socioeconomic malaise. 

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Ragtag bands of terrorists the world over have waged constant war on this nation to the point that draconian defense policies are necessary; many of which allegedly tamper on constitutional rights. America’s fabled macro-cultural tapestry is being eagerly ripped apart by multiculturalist zealots.      

Even if one has a PhD, competing with far less educated workers for sub-professional-level jobs is anything but surprising these days. That’s not even considering the sort of job supply-worker demand imbalance that would come about if illegal aliens were granted amnesty. 

Terrible as all of these problems are, very few can agree on a core reason for them. Are they the result of societal values gone awry or wrong-headed economic policies?

Perhaps the answer is neither.

Pushing social issues and financial arguments aside, the crux of America’s dilemma is that there are too many people competing for too few resources. Some might say that this is nonsense as countries with larger populations are bound to be successful because more people means more innovation.    

If this is true, then how come relatively small nations like Luxembourg and Singapore are precisely what they are? On the other hand, why are exponentially large countries such as Mexico and Bangladesh in such dire straits?

Obviously, a nation does not need to have heavy population growth to thrive. Millions upon millions of unskilled workers will never outperform a handful of well-trained, practically-educated, and stridently motivated professionals.

China seems to have understood this decades ago; before Mary Tyler Moore was cancelled, in fact. Its one-child policy is often derided on emotional grounds here in the U.S. Nonetheless, it has created a society in which children are afforded the time and care they deserve, families enjoy a beneficial standard of living, and, last but not least, economic productivity is incentivized.

Compare this to what is found stateside. America rewards public assistance recipients with increased benefits for every new child, has relaxed welfare-to-work standards, and established prolonged unemployment programs which are rife with abuse. All of this is paid for on the backs of the productive, with the very wealthy excluded due to inane tax loopholes.

In short, the U.S. rewards scoundrels at achievers’ detriment. Of course, in an environment such as this, the former group are set to multiply greatly, while the latter group quite simply is not. Can there be any wonder why China is not only eating America’s lunch, but selling off the silver platter at a tremendous profit?

Things should not be this way. Not by a long shot.

The U.S.’s state of affairs has grown so unfortunate that population stabilization appears to be the only way forward. Needless to say, a one-child policy is not feasible here. However, there are strong alternatives.

Michael E. Arth, a prominent urban planner and arguably one of Florida’s most acute sociopolitical thinkers, has proposed something called a birth credit. It is surprisingly simple, and works like this: Should one wish to have a number of children that exceeds the amount necessary for zero-population growth, it becomes necessary to purchase a license for each new birth. The price of said license would be a matter of market value. 

While a program along this line is controversial, it seems likely to not only be a sure revenue generator, but a way of breaking the cycle of poverty.

Of course, reason dictates that public assistance measures would have to be retooled so they no longer champion a polar opposite reproductive strategy. Also, immigration reform is an absolute necessity. Not the kind which offers blanket amnesty, but the sort that admits immigrants on a skill-oriented basis in accordance with the nation’s needs. 

The list goes on and on. There are many rational and humane ideas, to be sure. The question is, when enough people eventually care to consider them, will it already be too late?

Population stabilization might be a difficult reality to face; especially for those attracted to instability-prone religions either secular or theistic in quality. Nonetheless, the time is now, not later, to embrace the concept.

America cannot afford anything less. China certainly can, though. 

Far-left? Far-right? Get realRead more from “The Conscience of a Realist” by Joseph F. Cotto 

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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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