How many kids should people have given our overpopulation and environmental crisis? Should this ever be regulated?
– AP in Ann Arbor, MI
Full disclosure – I was tempted to break with tradition of putting actual sender cities there and put “Beijing, China” because it would crack my ass up. But I am nothing if not professional.
My answer to this is pretty straightforward – absolutely not. Two main reasons I keep coming back to whenever I think about this :
1) Relative impossibility to enforce productively and humanely.
If you look at China, the most obvious and largest example of this kind of attempted regulation, they are dealing with economic and social problems they don’t know how to address, on top of the obvious moral ambiguity of the practice. The clearest and most direct problem is the “4-2-1” problem, wherein one working adult will have to support two parents, and also the four grandparents it took to make those two parents. If you thought the American Social Security system was facing a questionable future, imagine the clusterfuck of economics the Chinese policy is going to create.
Then we must ponder the moral side of things, such as how
“The ‘one-child’ policy has also led to what Amartya Sen first called “Missing Women,” or the 100 million girls “missing” from the populations of China (and other developing countries) as a result of female infanticide, abandonment, and neglect.”1
Even if we’re not facing a one-child limit, any limit will eventually engender – albeit on a smaller scale – the same potentially cruel and duplicitous outcomes.