Over Population





One of the more extreme measures taken in an attempt to control population has been China’s one-child policy. Population advocate Garet Hardin suggests the rest of the world adopt similar policies. This paper is to show a country’s government acting on theories that Hardin is popular for and the ethical and environmental effects that it had on people and the land. Hardin fails to see the ethical problems laid out by governments that suppress peoples thoughts and beliefs.
Hardin states that throughout most of history there’s been no need for concern about population control. Nature would come along with epidemic diseases and take care of the matter for us. Disease has been the primary population controller in the past. Because widespread disease and famine no longer exist, we have to find other means to stop population increases (Spencer 1992, pp.61-2).
"Mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon" is a misnomer as Hardin routinely supports the actions of authoritarian governments who rarely seek consent for their actions. When asked about the one child policy Hardin said that the Chinese government didn’t go far enough. He gave the Chinese credit for officially recognizing that they have a problem and for having the nerve to propose the single-child program .. he thought the failure was by not making the directive universal throughout the country. The one-child policy is only enforced in congested urban areas. People in rural regions continue to have too many children -- so the Chinese haven’t solved their problems at all. (Spencer 1992, p.60).
Before 1950, there was an old Stalinist custom in China of rewarding “heroic mothers” giving birth to the largest number of children. This was more then a custom it was a way of life in China till Ma Yin Chu began to publish some articles on population. Ma Yin Chu was the president of Beijing University and was one of the first people to voice his concern over the steady growth of China’s population.
Between 1959-1961 there was a great famine in China that got everyone’s attention. Resources for such a large population were scarce. The government recognized that something had to be done about the population. Distribution of contraception’s, promotion of late marriages, and two child families were all part of a post famine campaign by the government. This lasted less then four years as China’s population began to increase again.
The government began to release propaganda. The slogan Wan Xi Shao, Later - Longer - Fewer, ran through the streets of China. The efforts focused on the postponement of marriages, increased spacing of births, and the limitation of family sizes. The government’s efforts were vastly ignored in the countryside.
Around the time Ma Yin Chu began to publish articles on population, the Communist rule took over in China. The Communist were ruled by Mao Zedong. Mao directed most of his energy into the Chinese economy. In 1958, Mao created an economic plan called the great leap forward. This plan called for the people to use their will power to improve the economy. The lack of technology and capital made the plan back fire and lead the people into the great famine.
In the early to mid 1960’s the Communist party split into the radicals and the moderates. Mao gave his support to the radicals and tried again to focus on the economy. Coming off the great famine many wanted Mao to find a solution to the growing population. China still was not ready to recognize the stress the population had on the country.
The United States relations with China had been weak mostly because of the Communist view. In 1972, Richard Nixion decided to visit China. Both countries began to recognize the potential economic benefits of trade between the nations. This improved relationship gave China a better look of the modernization that was currently going on in the west. In 1978, China decided that they liked what they saw.
Having more than one fifth of the world’s population, China had very little power in the world. In 1978, China realized they already had the manpower, so they set out to modernize the country. The efforts to modernize made China take a hard look at their population. They saw that foreign trade of their resources were limited because of the demand they had in their own