Tuesday, March 11, 2008

China's One Child Policy Sticks --- for now

According to the New York Times, China's One Child Policy will remain in place for another decade or so. The population minister, Zhang Weiqin, was quoted as warning a change in the policy "would cause serious problems and add extra pressure on social and economic development.”

As the largest country population-wise, and as a developing country China obviously has some special circumstances. But a universal challenge facing human societies is a declining worker/retiree ratio, which is the natural result of population aging. Under a one-child policy, that pressure is only increased.

To be sure, rapid growth in per capita incomes works to offset that pressure to some degree. Annual growth in income per person in China has averaged about 7 percent, resulting in a doubling every 10 years or a quadrupling or more each generation.