Monday, April 2, 2018

Promoting Fertility in China

Back in 2012, I wrote:
I expect that within ten years China will be promoting childbirth rather than discouraging it.
It didn't take that long. Carl Minzer:
There are two intersecting trends here. First, Party ideology is steadily morphing away from Marxism and towards "tradition." That opens to the door to a full-on re-embrace of conservative views on the role of women that were formally rejected in the early 20th century. Second, dramatic demographic trends are creating new pressures. Declining birthrates and an aging populations are leading bureaucrats to face the questions such as "How do we convince people to have more children?" "Who should take care of the elderly?" . . .
Rather than promoting childbirth with free daycare and other subsidies, as they do in Europe, China is going to start by pressuring party cadres to man up:
You're likely to start seeing a range of pressures brought on Party cadres and SOE [state-owned enterprise] employees to have more children. Those pressures aren't simply going to be applied to women - they'll be applied to the (heavily male) ranks of Party and government officials to convince their wives to have more children. And as that pressure works its way through the system, it's going to create serious challenges for a generation of Chinese women.
So, basically, to get promoted, mostly male party officials and the like are going to have to have two or three kids, which is going to make a lot of trouble if they are married to career women who don't want them.

I predict that this will have only a small effect, just as the "one child" policy sped the decline in China's birthrate only a little compared to Korea and Japan.

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