Does The One-Child Policy Will Save Us?

by magaliemasson on Septembre 12, 2016 - 10:58pm

Last year, at the end of October 2015, the most populous country in the world announced the end of the one-child policy. This public policy of birth control implemented by China since 1979 would henceforth allow the married couples to give birth to a second child, thing that was not recommended to do before. Intended to limit communist China’s population growth, the policy occured mainly by criminalizing parents who have more than one child or by implementing abortions and sterilizations by force. Not only does this practice was used to prevent overcrowding, but it was also intended to correct the imbalanced gender ratio between men and women. However, even if the policy has been retracted on January 1st 2015, limitations on additional births still exist in China. Indeed, the new birth control points out to the couple that the second child is only conceivable if one of the spouses is an only child. Other constraints are also applied, according to the place of residence, for instance. Implicitly, these amendments  give prominence to males.

According to the author Claude Leblanc, the initial rule is a demographic time bomb; the renewal of generations has not been assured and consequently, the Chinese population is aging. He proclaimed this practice should not have been applied this way.

Evaluating both sides of the social issues, arguments in favor of the one-child policy supports that the one-child policy is one of the greatest idea to control overpopulation and that it will be used by a growing number of countries over the years, seeing that our resources are decreasing and that they are limited. A second point agreeing with the policy comes from an economic motivation. By reducing the number of citizens, the allocation of resources may be more generous and improve the standard of living. From a contrary point of view, the one-child policy may create human trafficking and the increasing number of hidden babies. Furthermore, a study conducted by researchers specializing in development economics and published in January 2013 in the periodical Science, concluded that the one-child policy spawned a generation less competitive, less conscientious and more pessimistic (Thibault).

If we analyze the public policy from an ethical point of view, we distinguish moral claims and values behind the arguments.

Firstly, the side that supports the one-child policy instituted in a society defends the ethical principle that people should always act for the greater good. In the last decades, China asked its citizens to follow the new rule to avoid overcrowding problems and to slow down pollution. The standard of living would be improved and the economy prosperous. Thus, adhering to the new policy, people involved in improve the common good. The collective responsibility and cooperation are two values linked to the seek of common good and defended by people who believe in the benefits of the one-child policy.

Secondly, the opposite point of view arguing against the policy established in China stands up for the respect of people’s autonomy. The individual freedom and the equality of opportunity are values that support the last moral claim. Individuals are free to choose what they want to do with their body and how they want their family. By imposing such a policy, people are constrained in their choices and are neglected in their rights and freedoms.

After evaluating both side of the ethical issue, I am in favor of the one-child policy. I believe this can be a long-term investment for our future. Resources are running out at a high speed so we need to slow down our consumption and to think about our health and the one of our children in the future. Also, by restricting the number of children per family, the majority of the parents will have a single child and consequently, all the efforts and love will be concentrated on the child and his or her development. Finally, families will have the chance to live a richer lifestyle because there will have less individual to satisfy.

If we pursue this practice all over the world for some decades, will we see an improvement in our quality of life? Or have we already passed the point of no return?





Thibault, Harold. "La politique de l’enfant unique a rendu les Chinois pessimistes et moins compétitifs." Le Monde, January 12 2013, Accessed September 10, 2016.

Leblanc, Claude. "Pékin met la politique de l’enfant unique au placard." L’Opinion, July 23 2015, Accessed September 10, 2016