On July 11th, 1987, a baby girl born in Beijing hospital at midnight was what the government of China called “baby five billion”. Whether or not the infant actually brought the total world population to five billion at that time, no on is certain. What is certain however, is that statistics continue to indicate that the number of people on this earth is increasing at phenomenal speeds. A quarter of a million a day to be exact!
The issue of overpopulation is one that is not new to the ears of environmentalist. The dangers, caused by our over indulgence of earth finite resources to satisfy our exponential population growth, are indeed very real.
Experts have postulated that at the present rate of growth, the amount of food needed to feed the world”s population will soon outstrip production, resulting to global starvation.
Tied closely to overpopulation is the phenomenon of species degeneration. The most successful members of the race are the ones having fewest children. The vast majority of the species population growth is in areas where newly arrive children have a fairly poor chance of having a successful life. ( ‘successful” denoting safety, food, comfort and education)
In view of this dilemma the pragmatic Chinese have adopted what is known as the ‘one child policy”, permitting no more than one child per couple. Their intentions were economics and political: to reduce population, raise the average standard of living and thus achieve political stability. The policy has meant 300 million less mouths to feed and has enable China to open up both economically and socially.
China is an excellent example of the benefits which are possible in the implementation of the one child policy.
Although many pro-life and pro-choice activists may hastily rise to the occasion to argue that the one child policy is a violation of human rights, their arguments are dwarfed by the great advantages the policy can bring to its upholders and their country.
Our shamefully blase attitudes towards reproduction dominates our society. This policy however will promote safer sex reducing incidents of, unwanted or teenage pregnancies and cases of sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS.
What will the policy mean for people who desire a son due to ethical background though?
Revolutionary genetic technology has enable these couples to choose the sex of their baby making sure it is born free of any detrimental diseases. One healthy child per family, who is extremely loved and wanted and who receives the best food and education will mean that our species can continue to evolve stronger and live on.
Time though, is fast running out for our civilisation. Our fragile institutions of hard won freedoms, our legacy from all those who in the past have fought for progress, our freedom of speech, of movement, our systems of welfare and education, our right to form unions and so on, won’t survive once the food supply is outstripped by population growth. Hungry billions will be tempted to take drastic action in order to survive, anything may happen in such an unstable future. If any policy can help prevent such a catastrophe it is one policy certainly worth implementing.