One of the rallying cries of population control advocates is that population growth leads to the depletion of natural resources. These fears are unfounded, according to an article in the New York Times (“U. S. Water Use Fell, Despite Population Increase, Reports Says” New York Times, 10 November 1998).
The article cites a U.S. Geological Survey which recently found that, contrary to ‘“deeply seated conventional belief,” water use does not necessarily increase along with population growth. The Survey reports that during the period from 1980–1995, while the population of the U.S. was increasing by 16 percent, water use decreased 9 percent. Per person water use declined even more drastically, by 20 percent. The decreases are due to new technologies which allow us to use water more economically, as well as to recycle and conserve.
Although the decline has only been reported in the U.S., this has repercussions for the developing world as well. As industry develops in Third World countries, they will be able to apply the developments in efficient water usage that the U.S. has already made. This report confirms that, contrary to what the population controllers would have us believe, human beings are not ignorant wastrels, but are capable of responding creatively and positively to perceived problems, such as water shortages.
A recent article in the Washington Post reported on the sale of North Korean women to Chinese farmers as wives (North Koreans Export Girls for Marriage by John Pomfret, Washington Post, 12 February 1999). Unfortunately, while the article was very good on the “push” factors driving this trade — principally the collapse of the North Korean economy — it said nothing about the “pull” factors on the Chinese side of the border.
The only reason given for why these men are unable to find wives was that these men come from “villages that many young Chinese women have abandoned for the perceived brighter vistas of bigger cities.”
In reality, this trafficking of human flesh has only come about because of the one-child policy, and the consequent practices of sex-selective abortion and female infanticide, which has greatly reduced the number of young women coming of age in China. So serious is the shortage of women that the Chinese government admits that there are 20 million young men who will be unable to find brides in the years to come. There aren’t enough women in all of North Korea to meet this kind of demand. The bride traffickers, perhaps aided by the Chinese military, (nearly all of whom are single men, as it happens), will have to look further afield.
One-child Policy Blamed
The imbalance between men and women in China was further confirmed by a recent article in the Shanghai Express (Pro-Life Infonet, 8 January 1999). According to the article, the ratio of males to females in China has reached an all-time high of 120 men for every 100 women. Other reports place the ratio at 118 to 100. This is a dramatic increase from 1982, the year after the institution of the one-child policy, when the ratio stood at 108 to 100. Worldwide, the proportion is 106 boys born for every 100 girls, with the numbers evening out by adulthood. The San Jose Mercury News (“Sex-Selection Abortion in Rural China,” 12 February 1999) reports that ultrasound technology has contributed to this problem. Even in rural areas of China, couples have access to ultrasound scanners to determine the sex of their child. Baby girls are often aborted, so that the couple can try again for their only child to be a boy. Oftentimes these machines are unable to discover the sex of the baby until into the fourth or fifth month of gestation, leading to late-term abortions. Several other factors are involved in creating this disproportion, including infanticide, abandonment and neglect of girls, but they all stem from the one-child policy.
The Chinese government also acknowledges the one-child policy as the source of the problems. The Shanghai Express stated, “This kind of imbalance also surely has something to do with the family planning policy.” The State Statistical Bureau study, referred to in the article, concluded that “The basic reason is the selective abortion before birth.”
China’s response has been to issue strict laws out laws outlawing ultrasound machines.