Most are probably familiar with China’s infamous one-child policy; the family planning law instituted in 1979 in an attempt to control China’s vast population. Many around the world criticize this policy as immoral, against basic human rights, or unconscionable. This article is for those of you that hold this opinion, for I have come up with a plan that can solve the problems that the one child policy aimed to solve, and it can be done without continuing this harsh law…but it will need your support.
First of all, let’s look at the problems that this law aimed to solve…problems the Chinese government felt were so compelling, that such a dramatic measure had to be taken. The first obvious problem is food. Obviously with a population of 1.3 billion, it’s fairly difficult to make sure that everyone is fed sufficiently. It’s estimated that currently there are some 150 million Chinese that don’t get enough to eat.
The second problem is space. Although China is a large country in terms of raw square mileage, it has more than its share of deserts and mountains which are barely habitable, so pushing that 1.3 billion people into the areas that are livable causes serious problems when trying to give everyone their share of space to live. And of course we must continue to let the rich buy more space than the poor if they please…we don’t want China to revert back to socialism.
Third is the problem of energy. Every week 2 new coal plants go online in China just to try and keep up with demand. And although we like to demonize China for using such dirty polluting energy, they are actually diversifying into other forms of clean and renewable energy as quickly as their economy allows. But even with every possible source of energy being exhausted, there are still frequent blackouts in many parts of the country, while others still don’t have any electricity at all.
Finally there is the problem of jobs. Although the government has tried its best to create countless bureaucratic “middle-man” jobs and essentially useless “door-holder” jobs, it’s still having trouble keeping everyone employed. Even those who do manage to find jobs often have to leave their family, travel across the country, and work 90 hours per week at a hard labor job just to get by…and those are the lucky ones. Having such a huge population insures that the competition for these jobs that most Americans would never consider accepting, stays fierce.
China’s one child policy aimed at curbing its rapid population growth so these problems could be mitigated. It is estimated that since the policy was enacted, about 400 million extra births have been prevented. These problems may be less severe than they could be, but still very much exist today without the benefit of an extra 400 million people. So what solution could solve these problems for China, while still allowing their families to have multiple children? Simple, let some of them come here to America.
You may be thinking that many of them are already coming here, but right now only about 50,000 Chinese immigrate to America each year. I’m talking something much more significant. Let’s say a mere 30% of their population, or about 400 million. This would relieve the burden of their huge population and allow families to start having more children. But won’t this disrupt the lives of the Americans already living here? Yes, but isn’t it the moral thing to do? And it would hardly be an impossible notion. America could easily sustain this population influx. But we will need to make a few changes. A few changes that will require us to live a little bit more like the Chinese do.
Let’s look at the first problem of food. America and China are essentially equal in terms of land mass, however, the land that is arable in China only makes up about 13%, while America enjoys about 19% arable land for a mere 300 million people. So with more arable land than China for 1/4 the people, we could easily take on at least 400 million more people. While we already do use much of our arable land, there’s still a lot more we could grow on. Just take a drive through central Kansas and you’ll notice just how much perfectly good land isn’t being used for anything at all. If you go anywhere in China where food could possibly grow, it is…and even in places you couldn’t imagine food growing. Almost every patch of land, no matter how small, is being used for farming. It’s perfectly normal to see a family growing vegetables on the five square feet of outside land that they own, not because it’s their hobby, but because they have to.
We could also get rid of our golf courses so that hungry people could be fed rather than rich people have such a wasteful expensive hobby. Then we could stop the practice of burying our dead so that vast tracks of land previously reserved for cemeteries could be used to serve the living. Being buried in China has become illegal in many areas, and so expensive in the rest that most have long since given up this tradition. If 400 million Chinese came to America, you can be sure they would make use of all this wasted land and it wouldn’t affect your food supply one bit.
Next let’s look at the problem of space. Once all the available arable land is used for farming, where can we put everyone to live? Simple, everyone will just have to live in smaller houses and live in places not previously thought possible. The average middle class, $100,000 house in America would be seen as a bourgeoisie mansion in China. In the cities people are packed into cramped 2 bedroom apartments that are often as expensive as $100,000. And there are typically a child, parents, and 2 sets of grandparents occupying each of these apartments. Outside the cities, there are homes tucked into every nook and cranny imaginable. There are still an estimated 1 million Chinese that still live in caves. Honest to god caves! So let’s let these people out of their caves and into America. You and your family will probably need to move into a smaller home, or even one of America’s vast networks of caves, to accommodate these extra 400 million Chinese immigrants, but isn’t it the moral thing to do?
Next let’s deal with the problem of energy. It’s true that right now, our energy system couldn’t bear a sudden more than doubling of our population, so we’re going to need to make a few changes. Moving into our new smaller homes should cut down our energy use significantly, but that alone still won’t be enough. Central air and heat in these houses is just not going to cut it. Most Chinese don’t have an air conditioner or heater at all regardless of the climate they live in. Those that are well-off enough to afford them still aren’t so frivolous as to heat or cool every room in their home when they are only occupying one at a time.
We’ll also need to throw out our dryers. In my 2 years in China, I have never once seen a dryer. Why have a huge machine gulp up so much energy when you get the same results with a length of rope and a little patience? Finally, many of you will need to give up your cars. We don’t have enough oil or space on our roads for a sudden doubling in our traffic. In America we have 1 car for every 1.2 people, while China has 1 for every 67 people. But I’m sure you won’t mind riding a bike or catching the bus for the noble cause of letting Chinese families have more than 1 child.
Finally let’s move on to how to employ these new neighbors. Where will they work? Well they’ll work in the same place you do. Sure some of them can do menial labor that most Americans feel they are above, but much of the Chinese population are very educated and hold jobs well beneath what they are qualified for. It’s not uncommon for someone in China to study religiously all through school, get perfect grades, earn a Ph.D in a practical field, and then be unable to find a job where they can make enough to comfortably support a family of 3. So when our 400 million new neighbors arrive, they may bring a little healthy competition to the workforce. It should serve as a good wake up call to any Americans who aren’t working to their full potential. And surely you can’t be mad if you lose your job to someone who has worked much harder and is far more qualified than you, right?
So when my solution is instituted, China’s population will shrink to a mere 900 million and ours will grow to a still modest 700 million. Then Chinese families will be free to have as many children as they want…until of course their population crawls back up to 1.3 billion, which, if history is any indicator, could easily happen within one generation. Sure China is already relaxing the one child policy. All of the 55 ethnic minorities are allowed to have 2 children as well as those parents who were themselves both only children. And anyone willing to pay a $400-$10,000 fine is allowed to have as many as they can afford. But if you are truly moral and this isn’t good enough for you then surely you are willing to make the modest changes I’ve laid out here. So I urge you to write your legislators and tell them to support my plan.
 United Nations Food and Agriculture Association
 Migration Information Source
CIA World Factbook
 U.S. Bureau of Transportation
 National Bureau of Statistics of China