Politicians and bureaucrats believe that with their intelligence and knowledge, together with their decision-making power, they can overcome all challenges facing their countries. These individuals often fail to take into account the unexpected consequences of their masterful plans.
This has happened in regard to government policies on population control. Political leaders and bureaucrats have visions that strict regulations by the government on population growth will result in sound economics, social peace, and happiness for its residents.
Little do they know that they are plunging their countries into a tangled heap of nettles and thorns from which their countries cannot be extricated, try as they might.
A case in point is the city / state of Singapore
Singapore’s Demographic Dilemma
In 1965, Singapore had a booming population with its maternity wards being some of the world’s busiest. The government of that time, under Prime Minister Lee Kuam Yew (LKY), viewed this as a problem. He believed the swelling population was a burden and contributed to overcrowding and excessive social demands. He also regarded the high birth rate as a lack of self-restraint, and he campaigned in 1970 for citizens to stop at two children. He then implemented a massive family planning system.
By the 1980s, however, the government became alarmed that Singapore’s best educated elites were not breeding as it believed they should. This caused the Prime Minister to reverse his policies in order to promote marriage and procreation among highly educated residents. For those without a high school diploma or bachelor’s degree, sterilizations and abortions remained readily available. However, these policies did nothing to entice the highly educated couples to have many children.
Prime Minister Lee was working under the false assumption that the poor and uneducated members of society could not give birth to strong, intelligent children. He apparently forgot that most of the individuals who had developed Singapore were peasants, jungle villagers and manual labourers from southern China, the Malay Peninsula, and the Indian sub-continent. Many of these were illiterate when they settled in Singapore, and yet, their clever grandchildren built the most modern city in East Asia. Similarly in Canada, the illiterate or poorly educated immigrants who arrived in Canada, mainly at the turn of the 20th century, have descendants who are intelligent and well-educated, as well as industrious, and who have become the very backbone of Canada’s economic wealth and success.
The current Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong (son of LKY), has admitted that Singapore is now having economic troubles because of the lack of procreation by its resident Chinese majority. Singapore has always tried to maintain its Chinese identity, which it is now losing because the Chinese portion of the population is having only 0.98 children per women of child-bearing age. That is, Chinese Singaporeans are on the way to demographic collapse. On the other hand, Singapore Malays are enjoying a rebound in the fertility rates due to a resurgence of their Muslim religiosity. The Singapore created by LKY in the 1960s by the Chinese majority, has developed a rich and successful nation by the efforts of these infertile Chinese, for the benefit of the fertile Malays! The latter are different from the Chinese both in regard to language and culture. This spells trouble for Singapore’s military, which relies on conscription for its troops. Also, the culture and language of Singapore is rapidly changing to make Singapore, in many ways, a different country.
Consequently, in 2019, Singapore’s family planning policies were reversed, and the country is now trying desperately to implement some of the world’s most pronatalist policies. Unfortunately, so far, it seems to be having limited success as Singapore’s fertility rate is 1.14 children per woman of child-bearing age, which makes Singapore one of the world’s least fertile nations.
China’s Population Problems
No discussion of government population control policies can be complete without a review of the situation in China, which introduced such policies in 1979 in order to slow population growth and to bolster the economy. These population control policies changed China’s demographic course. Unfortunately, they have caused disastrous problems for China’s economy, gender balance and its very future. For example, China’s one child family planning policy has led to forced abortions and sterilizations, which has resulted in 23 million abortions per year. This has also led to sex-selection abortions and the infanticide of baby girls because of China’s cultural preference for male offspring. As a result, China has become a nation of bachelors. According to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the nation’s leading think tank, there are 24 million men in China who are unable to find a bride. These men are described in China as “bare branches” because they are unable to complete a family tree beyond themselves. This has created a host of social problems ranging from increased prostitution, kidnapping of women, baby boy trafficking, increased crime and violence, and social instability.
Because China’s one child policy has been so successful in lowering its birth rate, it is now faced with an ageing population whose elderly have always relied on their children to support them when they could no longer work. It is estimated that by the year 2030, a quarter of the population in China will be over the age of 60. The population control policy has resulted in a shrinking work force, which has created pressure on economic and social development and slowed economic growth.
As a consequence of these difficulties, China attempted, in 2015, to rectify the problems by allowing couples to have two children. However, this plan is not going well, as couples are deciding against having more children due to the slowing economy and high cost of raising children in urban environments. That is, because of the population control policies, many of the villages in China are empting out, with people moving to urban areas to find work, which is not conducive to large families.
The loss of Chinese babies has devastated that country and indicates that population control policies are harmful.