Wednesday, May 14, 2008

One child future?   posted by Razib @ 5/14/2008 11:40:00 PM

Over the past few days I've heard some coverage of the horrible earthquake in China, and the anguish of the parents whose children were lost as schools collapsed. I was struck when one reporter noted that for many of the parents this was their only child.... That got me thinking about the implications of the one child policy, which is now approaching its 30th year. Most of you who read this weblog know that I think that the Bare Branches argument is a serious one; in short, that the sex imbalance within China due to son-preference will result in social instability. But what about the fact that for so many older Chinese they have only one child to support them in the future? Obviously the greying of the Chinese population is something to keep in mind when we postulate the path of the power of the People's Republic; China's active workforce will start to shrink in the near future, while its dependent class will increase in proportion. But in terms of the irratonal bellicosity which is par for the course for ascendent powers attempting to stake out a place in the sun...I wonder how eager the Chinese will be to send their sons abroad if so many of them are their only sons? Does anyone know of any social science correlating levels of international conflict with TFR? There are obviously angles to analyze this problem theoretically via social evolution, assuming that each offspring is one iteration in a "game"....