Behind Population Control

Posted in America, China, Desert Bloc, European History, India, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on March 6, 2012

The price China is paying for accepting ‘free advice’ on population control – which ‘uneducated’ Indians rejected.

US plans for India and China

After WWII (1939-1945), the US initiated the program of population control for India and China. First implemented by USAID, Ford Foundation, Carnegie Endowment, this programme was later handed over to UN, World Bank and IMF. Economic and other aid to China and India, was tied to implementation of the population control agenda.

Within a matter of 15-20 years, population control was rejected by the Indian population – though embraced by India’s English-speaking elites. Family control pressures contributed to the electoral defeat of Indira Gandhi in 1977.

After that, the Indian system lost all motivation to push this program.

Trojan of Population Control

In China, however, the Government and the people implemented the population control dogma very effectively.

After a few decades into the implementation of one-child policy, China is now staring at nightmare.

China had an extreme youth bulge until the 1960s. | Image via Wikipedia

China had an extreme youth bulge until the 1960s. | Image via Wikipedia

Expanding China’s rudimentary pension system to all workers would cost 7 percent of GDP, or $411 billion, rising to 15 percent of GDP by 2050, as the number of pensioners triples, according to Richard Jackson, director of the Global Aging Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. The pool of workers able to pay taxes will fall by 233 million to 682 million, UN projections show.

“To experience that level of aging with basically an unfunded retirement safety net is a recipe for serious trouble,” said Stephen Roach, a professor at Yale University and former non-executive chairman for Morgan Stanley in Asia.

Cai at the Carolina Population Center estimates an end to the restrictions would cause the fertility rate to rise only temporarily before falling back to 1.5 within five years. Jackson sees it rising to 1.8 or 1.9, while Wang says there “is no reason to believe it can go up to 2,” the rate a nation needs to prevent its population shrinking.

Japan’s fertility rate is 1.42 while in the U.S. it is 2.08.

Without measures to relax the one-child policy and encourage more children, China’s rate may slump to close to 1 within 20 years, said Cai.

China is “shooting itself in the foot” and should offer incentives to families to have more children, said Wang. In Shanghai the fertility rate was about 0.79 in the year ended October 2010, according to the latest data from the city’s statistics department.

Worse still, the policy (of population control*) led to thousands of aborted fetuses, many of them female because of the importance of male children in Chinese society, causing a gender imbalance. A 2007 study by the State Population and Family Planning Commission said that by 2020 there will be 30 million more men of marriageable age than women, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.A “large group of unhappy, dissatisfied” men, unable to find wives, “is clearly a serious social concern,” said Wang.

Some parents travel to Hong Kong to have a second child in an effort to circumvent the rules, according to hospitals in the city. More than 230,000 babies were born to mainland mothers in Hong Kong in the decade to 2010, according to the city’s Census and Statistics Department.

“The one-child policy is definitely one of the important reasons mothers come to Hong Kong to give birth,” said Cheung Tak Hong, who runs the obstetrics and gynecology department at Hong Kong’s Prince of Wales Hospital. “China’s community, like in most Asian countries, still has deep-rooted values in liking the idea of a bigger family.” (via China’s One-Child Policy Dilemma for Leaders – Businessweek; * marked text, supplied).

English: Population pyramid of China, 2009  |  Image via Wikipedia

English: Population pyramid of China, 2009 | Image via Wikipedia

Tradition and history

Population control in its modern form has been a recurring theme in Western thinking for the last nearly 200 years. It most famous and early proponent was Thomas Malthus (1766-1834). However, relatively speaking, Britain was seen in Europe as more successful at growing its population.

It took the combined weight of French authors like Voltaire, Diderot and Helvetius to increase incidence of marriage in France. Added to this, were the arguments by Montesquieu, that Catholic France suffered due to celibacy, in comparison to Protestant Britain. France in 1920, re-introduced an anti-celibacy surtax to stem decline in French population. And Italy followed soon after in 1926.

Malthus recommended prostitution as a solution to population increase. The number of prostitutes in Europe and the USA, the covert encouragement of pornography are part of Western pattern of showing themselves as champions of ‘freedom’ and ‘individual’ choice. This narrative hides a systemic bias against marriage and cynical on-off ‘tolerance’ towards prostitution.

Maybe even a political motive!

Neo-colonialism in Asia

After WWII, a new kind of colonialism came into existence.

America waged wars in SE Asia to impose its puppets – instead of sending viceroys and governors as rulers. Pax Americana in Asia came at a huge cost of Asian lives.

For instance, after killing 20 lakhs Vietnamese, the American Empire only counts its own 60,000 killed. In Iraq, after 10 lakh dead Iraqis, the US Empire counts, its’ own less than 5000 dead. The wars of Pax Americana were (and are) fought covertly and by unprecedented use of propaganda.

Pax Americana is a new kind of Empire. Covert and by proxy.

How McNamara fought in Vietnam

Managed by Robert McNamara, Americans lost the Vietnam War. McNamara’s unique contribution to the Vietnam War was ‘body count’

he was so impressed by the logic of statistics that he tried to calculate how many deaths it would take to bring North Vietnam to the bargaining table … (later) he wanted to know why his reckoning had been wrong, why the huge casualties that he had helped inflict had failed to break the will of the men in Hanoi …

His ruminations about this began at the Americans’ April meeting in Washington, where he, Cooper and General Vesser agreed that casualties did not seem to weigh heavily with North Vietnam …. “Was there any consideration of the human cost in Hanoi as they made these decisions?” McNamara asked. “Is the loss of life ever a factor?” He noted that while 58,000 Americans had been killed, the most authoritative estimate — in a September 1995 article by General Uoc — put the number of Vietnamese deaths at 3.6 million. “It’s equivalent to 27 million Americans!” McNamara exclaimed.

To explain this to himself, he remembered … There were some people to whom life was not the same as to us, he reasoned as he stood one evening in the hotel lobby. (Ellipsis, bracketed text mine).

McNamara was right.

Only he could have killed an equivalent of 27 million Americans – and still talk about the value of life, with a straight face. For American neo-colonial objectives.

What McNamara learnt in Vietnam

The technology gap is temporary.

Against a determined enemy (like the Viet Cong), the technological edge that America had, was not very useful. Worse, American technological edge, was only temporary.

The experience of the Vietnam War, preyed on McNamara’s mind. The Vietnam War brought home the reality that India and China could raise an army bigger than the entire population of United States.

Against America’s temporary technology superiority, the population superiority that the Indians and the Chinese had, was permanent. India’ subsequent rise in technology (with engineering skills in software, pharma, automobiles, etc.) and the Chinese rise in manufacturing proved some of McNamara’s ‘fears’ true. McNamara’s legendary quantitative skills made him a convert to The Population Crisis propaganda.

The anti-War protests in the US during the 60s, combined with the experience of the British nation, during the Boer War, faced with a shortage of soldiers, is not lost on the West.

Specially, the USA.

Extract from - Gender and power in Britain, 1640-1990  |  By Susan Kingsley Kent - |  Source & courtesy - Google Books |  Accessed on 2012-02-24 15-13-36-1.

Extract from - Gender and power in Britain, 1640-1990 | By Susan Kingsley Kent - | Source & courtesy - Google Books | Accessed on 2012-02-24 15-13-36-1.

2 Responses

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  1. ramkumaran said, on March 9, 2012 at 2:14 am

    India didnt entirely reject pop control. economy has imposed it now on us.it is rare to see households with more than 2 children now. we can see the case of determined opposition against us in case of pak and taliban too they have withstand them for a decade and are now resurgent

    • Anuraag Sanghi said, on March 9, 2012 at 1:14 pm
      Decrease in fertility rates have been linked in to:

      1. As child mortality rates have decreased, number of children per family have also decreased.

      2. As large joint families became small nuclear families, more children also became less practical.

      So, limitation in family sizes as a natural outcome and choice by the family is not family planning.

      State mandated family limitation is family planning.

      In China it is one-child families. In India was sterilization and vasectomies. Now this has been rejected in India – as a practice.

      You are right to the extent that the rich, English speaking, elites want the poor to have smaller families. These sections have embraced the idea of State-enforced family planning.

      we can see the case of determined opposition against us in case of pak and taliban too they have withstand them for a decade and are now resurgent

      Can you elaborate on this point. I am unclear on this.

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