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jim kirby

Both Becker and Posner fail to mention the effect of the one-child policy on skewing the male-female ratio of babies. Since the Chinese favor a boy over a girl if they can have only one, fewer female fetuses survive to adulthood.

A more human policy would be to allow couples to have as many babies as they wish until the first baby boy is born. This would preserve the sex ratio and amount to less than a doubling of the TFR.

Becker's statement that China's one-child policy "has done more harm than good" is his opinion. To me, breeders in a packed world suffering fuel, water, food and air shortages are to be discouraged. For every happy parent, there are a couple of us footing the bills for breeding and subsequent education of kids who will compete with us for scarce resources.

Terry Bennett

Mao was once asked about the prospects for Sino-Soviet war. He explained that on Day One the Chinese would surrender one million troops. On Day Two, they would surrender another million. Within 30 days, the USSR would surrender.

The country needed to lose population. They hardly needed to resort to forced abortion - or its slightly less refined cousin, infanticide - to do it, as substantial compliance would have been achieved if Mao had simply framed it as a cultural imperative. He could have included it in the little red book, and gotten the job done without another word, especially since as Dr. Becker points out, modern realities were about to push the rate down anyway.

At death, a tiger leaves its skin and a man leaves his name. So say the ancient sages of China. A male heir is thus highly prized, even today. Per Jim's comment, I delight in the unintended consequences China and India have inflicted upon themselves. Amnio clinics have come to dot Indian cities like gun shops here. Eventually however, supply and demand rear their magnificent heads, and suddenly the female dirt under an Asian man's shoes is an item of great value. High time if you ask me, for centuries of arrogant chauvinism to reap its comeuppance.


And once again the "Malthusian Specter" haunts the Land and the "voice of the Turtle" is heard. It's all about the "Carrying Capacity" of the Land and "Wildlife Management" or is it "Spaceship Earth"?


If we are to achieve lower population growth rates one of the things we'll need to learn in every nation is how to provide social and medical security in older ages even as the "workers per retiree" ratio worsens.

The suggestion to "work longer" has a number of problems with the current biggie being not enough jobs for the existing workforce, much less having older workers hang on longer.

Still, many in their "productive years" are often overworked and could use some help either domestically or in the formal job market.

Were we serious about encouraging older workers to remain in the workforce we'd devise more flexible schedules with shorter days and shorter work weeks.

In short, we'd need to really understand and become comfortable with the fact of those working in physically demanding trades crafts "burning out" sooner than those in many professions. And, of course, that's not always true either as some professionals become, forgetful, while some in the trades carry on into their 80's.

We'll have to get used to some leaving the workforce as "disabled" for their craft and perhaps never becoming re-integrated in another profession or craft.

Lastly, ONE means of providing social and medical security for older folks is that of reducing the GINI (income inequality disparity) or Ha! finally kicking off the long awaited "trickle down" that after a doubling of productivity has produced few gains for those doing the work.

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