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"You can't escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today."
—Abraham Lincoln

19-Aug-05


Population Trends in Asia (Part Three): Lots of Puppy-dog Tails

The third Asian demographic phenomenon highlighted by Nicholas Eberstadt ("Power and Population in Asia," Policy Review, February/March 2004, pp. 3-27) is gender-ratio imbalance. The "fact of life" statistic is that about 103 to 105 boys are born for every 100 girls.

In contemporary Asia, however, this age-old balance is coming undone. In large parts of the expanse, the sex ratio at birth has risen to unnatural and historically unprecedented levels over the past two decades—and in many spots this tendency appears to be continuing unabated, or even to be intensifying further.

In many traditional societies, boys are favored over girls; female infanticide is nothing new. However, ultrasound and cheap abortions have made it easier. Indeed, the problem is not "traditional," in that the gender imbalance is most observable in industrial areas of relatively high per-capita income. It is not as apparent in rural areas as in urban ones.

This is certainly the case in India, where urban, not rural, areas reflect the greatest gender imbalance at birth. The murder of the females generally takes place before birth: abortion, not infanticide. In the Punjab, the at-birth gender-ratio is 126 boys to 100 girls.

However, China's gender-imbalance receives the most attention in the popular press. Chinese citizens have labored under the government-imposed "coercive antenatal ‘one child policy'" since 1979. Under the rules, government disfavors child number two (and above). For instance, such a child is denied higher education and therefore privileged job opportunities. The government's rule itself is a violation of God's command to multiply, which means having more than two children.

It took only three years for China's gender-ratio to manifest itself as imbalanced. It became obvious in 1982, and has grown more marked every year. By 2000, it was 118 boys/100 girls. Three provinces of China actually show a ratio of 130+boys/100 girls. The overall Chinese ratio appears to be 120/100. This means that, overall, about 10-15% of Chinese men will be monogamously unmarriageable. They will not be able to be the one husband of a woman. The Chinese one-child rule has had the unintended consequence of attacking the nuclear family.

"The world," Eberstadt claims, "has never before seen the likes of the bride shortage that will be unfolding in China in the decades ahead, so it is difficult to imagine its many reverberations." The surplus of males, some commentators have offered, will make China more warlike over the years. Certainly, the Chinese government will "capitalize" on the situation, by making military careers more financially and socially attractive. Here are the seeds of the 200-million man army (Revelation 9:16).

Other commentators suggest that the unmarriageable male phenomenon will cause "social tensions in China—and perhaps social turbulence as well." Remember, unmarried does not mean "celibate." Sexual promiscuity will almost certainly rise and with it the incidence of STDs. The Chinese people's widespread, gender-specific abortion will bear bad fruit over the years. The government's one-child rule is as shortsighted as it is iniquitous.

Finally, China's gender imbalance is a classic example of the fact that man's solutions only worsen the problem they are devised to fix. China's one-child dictum only makes matters worse. Note: The problem of unmarriageable males will worsen every passing generation, as the number of unmarried women gets lower and lower and lower. Only something like a foreign war, in which a disproportionate number of Chinese men die, would balance the gender ratio. Of course, as most carnal men will aver, war is the answer. As Jesus predicts, "You will hear of wars . . ." (Matthew 24:6).

Eberstadt suggests that one nation is strategically well-advantaged in the midst of Asia's population challenges. It too is an Asian-Pacific power: The United States. According to the United Nations Population Division, America will

grow from 285 million in 2000 to 358 million in 2025. In absolute terms, this would be by far the greatest increase projected for any industrialized society; in relative terms, this projected 26 percent increment would almost exactly match the proportional growth of the Asia/Eurasia region as a whole. Under these trajectories, the United States would remain the world's third most populous country in 2025, and by the early 2020s, the U.S. population growth rate—a projected 0.7 percent per year—would in this scenario actually be higher than that of Indonesia, Thailand, or virtually any country in East Asia, China included.

In other words, America's population will increase such that, in absolute (as opposed to relative) terms, the United States population growth will match that of Asia. Furthermore, the continued immigration of young workers into America will flatten her aging rate. She will not age as fast as her neighbors on the other face of the Pacific Rim. Finally, American women will remain more fecund than their Asian counterparts:

The United States today reports about 2.0 births per woman, as against about 1.5 in Western Europe, roughly 1.4 in Eastern Europe, and about 1.3 in Japan. . . . [S]uch population growth would tend, quite literally, to have a rejuvenating effect on the U.S. population profile. . . . [M]edian age in the United States would rise by just two years (from 35.6 to 37.6). By 2025, the U.S. population would be more youthful, and aging more slowly, than that of China.

Eberstadt also points out that America does not have to contend with social problems attendant with gender-imbalance. There is no remarkable imbalance of this type in the United States today. While abortion abounds, the incidence of gender-specific abortion is not statistically significant.

To add to his sanguine analysis of America's situation vis-à-vis Asia, Eberstadt states the "obvious" fact that "a resurgence of HIV/AIDS . . . [does not] look to be part of the U.S. prospect over the decades immediately ahead."

Is that so? In the midst of every conceivable iniquity, secular America's prospect is so rosy. So, Israel today tells her prophets, as of old, ". . . Do not prophesy to us right things; speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits" (Isaiah 30:10).


 


 



 

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