China’s Gross and Unintended Consequence of Central Planning

Blog, Economy, David Seymour

The Globe and Mail carries a piece on China’s first Census in ten years.

It is three decades since the one child policy was introduced by China’s communist central planners, and the Chinese government claims that the population would be 400 million higher without it. However:

…the sustainability of the policy – which was only designed to last for three decades –seems certain to come into question as the country ages, eventually leaving a growing number of retirees dependent on a dwindling number of working-age citizens. The census found more than 13 per cent of Chinese are now 60 or older, up from 10 per cent in the 2000 census. In parallel, those under the age of 14 now make up less than 17 per cent of the population, compared to 23 per cent a decade ago.

The aging population is a major challenge for all countries including Canada, however it is a much greater challenge in China. More pernicious is the gendercide that has resulted in a culture where everyone wants a boy and you’re only allowed to keep one:

Males now account for 51.3 per cent of the population, a gap that has grown because of a preference for male children, particularly among rural families. The ratio among newborns over the past 10 years was 118 boys for every 100 girls.

People who favour grand schemes for society need to be reminded that this is the gritty reality of such plans’ unintended consequences.