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Thursday, October 29, 2015

A horrific policy becomes a little less horrific.

China no longer has a one child policy. 

It now has a two-child policy.

The ever-wise and knowledgeable central planners in Beijing have finally noticed the demographic iceberg, and are screaming "hard a'starboard!"

As with Captain Smith's helmsman, the turn is too late:
Opponents say the policy has created a demographic “timebomb”, with China’s 1.3 billion-strong population ageing rapidly, and the country’s labour pool shrinking. The UN estimates that by 2050 China will have about 440 million people over 60. The working-age population – those between 15 and 59 – fell by 3.71 million last year, a trend that is expected to continue.  
There were no immediate details on how or when China’s new “two-child policy” would be implemented. But [Stuart] Gietel-Basten [a University of Oxford demographer] said the policy change was good news for both China’s people and its leaders, who stood to gain from ending a highly unpopular rule.
“From a political, pragmatic perspective, loosening the policy is good for the party but also it is a good thing for individual couples who want to have that second child. It is a kind of win-win for everybody,” he said.
“Millions of ordinary Chinese couples will be allowed to have a second child if they want to – this is clearly a very positive thing.”
 Experts said the relaxation of family planning rules is unlikely to have a lasting demographic impact, particularly in urban areas where couples were now reluctant to have two children because of the high cost.
“Just because the government says you can have another child, it doesn’t mean the people will immediately follow,” said Liang Zhongtang, a demographer at the Shanghai Academy of Social Science.
Gietel-Basten said: “In the short term, probably there will be a little baby boom particularly in some of the poorer provinces where the rules have been very strict, like in Sichuan or in parts of the south. But in the long term I don’t think it’s going to make an enormous amount of difference.”
But entirely aside from efficacy--at least some of the horrors of the old policy will be lessened. And that is worth celebrating.

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