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Thursday, November 10, 2005



Well as you can imagine I really warm to this one :).

I have linked to you from Afem, and I recommend the academic paper I have there as a more in-depth analysis of the implications.


"Because of China’s one-child policy there will be fewer new workers under its so-called “4,2,1” population structure – four grandparents, two parents and one child."

[sigh] Overrrrated. Buddy, come on, do some fact-checking-- do you really think that Chinese families in general follow a "4,2,1" pattern? The One Child Policy is only really applied (and partially so) to urban regions, where a minority of the population lives, and even then to a demographic subgroup that has tended to opt for smaller families anyway of its own accord. It's hardly applied at all to the vast rural regions of China, where it's still quite common to have 4 or 5 kids for family. When I was in China 5 years ago-- after decades of the One Child Policy-- it was striking to me how many families still adhered to the traditional 4-5-kids-to-work-the-plow rule that we associate with rural countries in general. And in fact, that's pretty generalized. Official bureaucrats routinely undercount the numbers in Chinese villages b/c they get more financial rewards for reporting lower numbers, but Chinese vaccine makers always make much more vaccine than the official numbers b/c they know they're an underestimate. When you use more accurate data sources-- such as vaccine distribution statistics for example, or ob-ward records at rural health centers (which themselves, of course, don't count the number of kids born at home), you get a birth rate for China that's about 2-2.1-- just below replacement level and above that of Western Countries in general, with a total population of 1.4 billion and still growing.

As for the male-female imbalance problem? Yeah, they've got it, and it's their own damn fault, but the numbers are exaggerated. 120:100 M:F? C'mon, buddy-- once again, you've gotta be more rigorous about your figures. When Chinese families have daughters, if they *are* concerned about having more than one child (which, again, really isn't much of a concern on the countryside), they simply hide their daughters from the census-takers, sending them to relatives and friends, bribing the bean-counters, and so on. Every serious Chinese demographer knows that the number of kids in general-- and the number of girls in particular-- is vastly underreported. Even the official stats on e.g. the CIA Factbook and the Statistics Bureau show a ratio of about 111:100, and when the underreported figures are considered that drops to about 109:100. Still a big excess compared to the 106:100 ratio found in the US and the rest of the world, but not as bad as other figures make it seem. As for those poor farmers who do wind up without a pretty wife after all their hard work? That's why women from Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines are so popular. So what imbalance there is, becomes China's neighbors' problem more than China's itself.


"Gender balance can shape a society’s values. If men are in the majority, their negotiating position is weak and they have to be prudent and hard-working to win a wife. If women are in the majority, it is their negotiating position that is weak and men can get away with being irresponsible and feckless. "

I liked this. It reminds me of recent televised reports from the Animal Kingdom regarding behaviour.

We are, after all is said and done, still animals ... aren't we?


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I liked this. It reminds me of recent televised reports from the Animal Kingdom regarding behaviour.


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