Why The Birth Rate Is Dropping Here
? Essay, Research Paper
Probably no country in the world pays so much attention to its descendants as China does. The old saying, More children equal to more happiness , has been hold as a strong belief for thousands of years. It is well known that the large population was one of biggest burden of China s further development. Therefore, the Chinese government carried out the family planning policy in the late 70s, using this coercive means, in order to control the population growth. But, a unique phenomenon is that as the millenium drawing near, Chinese attitudes toward family planning policy is changing from passive to initiative. In those developed areas, the birthrate is dropping, especially that coastal area, the population is undergoing a negative growth. Many young couples are willing to have only one child. Even the western pattern of Dinky (Dual Income & No Kids Yet) has appeared here. Why the birthrate is dropping here? Is it the extreme result of family planning ? A long-term statistics from 1970 to 1995 shows that as time pass by, the policy s role in the population change is decreasing. In China the dropping of birthrate is just a problem of time. We may have many speculations about the problem. Comparing to the death rate, the dropping of the birthrate is a comprehensive result of economical, political, social, cultural factors. But in my point of view, the main reason for this phenomenon is that people s perception of time is changing. In this paper, through a brief analysis of this phenomenon, I ll try to illustrate some change in modern China, and make out some challenges and opportunities.Part 1: Motives1.More time wanted for self training. Traditional Chinese couples would choose to have a baby shortly after they got married mainly because there was little space for them to seek further development. Even if a young man worked hard in his office diligently for eight hours per days, there was still little chance for him to get a promotion because of the bureaucracy. The blur encouraging system hindered people form further self-making. For those young couple, time was abundant and of low cost and to bear a baby is a good way to kill time. From this point of view, children were more like some durable products or goods. But with the establishment of market-oriented economy, many new perceptions and ways of management flood in everyday. For the young people nowadays, everyday, they face with many challenges and opportunities. Job-promotion is just a common thing for them. Correspondingly, enterprises with ask for more highly qualified employees. Several years ago, a high school graduate would be of great value on the job market, but what enterprises seek now are MBAs and EMBAs. Young people need more time for further study. Their knowledge is refreshed every one or two years. And with the improving working efficiency, the eight working hours is just for working, then how to get time for self-making? For those young ones, time is the most precious thing. Bearing and bring up a child will consume time and relevant factors on three aspects. First, parents will have to decrease their working time directly. And then they will lose precious time and opportunities for re-training, thus, they can not get a better job and a higher salary. What s more, the family members leisure time will be reduced. However, bearing a child is a behavior of economical rationality, and it should conform to the principle of maxim benefit. Young couples are willing to have more children only when products exceed inputs. When there more attempting opportunities, naturally, they will choose to have one or even no child.2.A strong anticipation for future time Traditional Chinese couples tended to have more children even if they were very poor. Sometimes, young children should wear what their elder brother had worn. But nowadays, the living conditions are greatly improved, and most big-city young couples are highly educated and well paid. Then why do they choose to have one or no child? Objectively, there are four kinds of utilities that can children bring to his parents.1) Consumption-utility. Children can bring to his parents spiritual happiness and emotional contention.2) Economical-utility. Children can be taken as products that will bring economical benefits to their parents.3) Precaution-utility. Adult children can share the family risk with their parents.4) Guarantee-utility. Children will be a potential guarantee for their parents aged life. During the time of planned economy, it was just easy for people to get a stable salary according to the principal of equal benefits. But the income is only enough for daily expense, and would not leave much for saving. Life would be quite if everything was ok, but when there were some unexpected things, such as sudden disease or accidents, people would find themselves lack the ability for the precaution of risks. So, ordinarily, people feel ignorant about their future, what they can hold for sure is only now . Thus, Chinese used to put great attention to the economical and guarantee utility of children. The money parents spend on their children was seen as a kind of investment. Parents do expect returns, they hope strongly for the filial guarantee of their future; also they hope they can rely on their children for their aged life and future risks. In China, to bearing a child equals to buy a share of insurance. Some people even hold that depending on children is superior to buying insurance. But in the time of market-oriented economy, the so called iron bowl was broken and there are more risks then ever, such as the phenomenon of laid-off workers. Correspondingly, people have a stronger sense of risk-precaution. Those well-educated young couples will make a living-plan for a relatively long time. All kinds of insurance meet people s need for future planning and risk-precaution. And the change of the ways to provide the aged decides that people will only rely on savings and social insurance for old-time needs, instead of relying on their children. So what we concern now in Chinese society is the emotional and spiritual satisfaction children bring to their parents before they are independent. And the economical utility is of minor importance nowadays. So parental love today is purer than ever! Comparing with more children and lower living standard, parents prefer have one child and give him better life quality.
3.The change of bearing reason In traditional China, there are two criteria to test the quality of a child. First is sex, boys were always of a higher value than girls. People would not stop bearing until they have a boy. Then is quantity. From this point, the western theory that the filial quality can substitute the quantity could not be used in China. Most families took children as a tool to carry on the family blood. So both the cost and benefit perception of bearing a child are not clear. Parents hoped their children can be independent and have the ability to exist in the society as early as possible. But with the economical development and the improvement of education, people s perceptions are changed greatly. More concern is paid to filial quality. People begin to invest on their child the first day it is born. Parents hope their children can receive a higher education and are willing to pay for the increasing tuition. And in Chinese philosophy, Children can live and depend on their parents as long as they are not married. In the past, a ten-year-old child can help their parents to take care of younger brothers and sisters. But now, children will stay at school for a longer time. So not only the cost to bring up a child is increasing, but also it s more time-consuming than ever. So Fewer children and better quality has become the real need of people. People prefer to have one child and spend more time and money on him. Then it s easy to understand why the birthrate is dropping.Part 2. Problems. From the plain description above, we can know that the changing attitude of time does affect the birthrate in China. The low increasing pace does have a positive role in the social and economical development. But the sustainable development asks for a healthy population system and a rational control of population structure. A too drastic dropping birthrate will lead to an abnormal change in the population. Now, let s see some problems.1.New contradiction for the compulsory education The main contradiction for the fundamental education before was that there are too many children of school age but the education funds, housing, facilities are of great shortage. By increasing investment and improving the school condition, the problem can be solved. But with the dropping birth rate, the compulsory education will meet new contradictions. If we keep the former standard of school housing and teacher number, there will be a waste with the decreasing of children of school age. At the same time, the need for high education is expanding every day. So it s urgent to adjust the education structure and to give the available educational resource a rational arrangement.2.The problem of aged population.What aged people hope for is proper medical care, ways for entertainment andchances for contributions to the society. But we have lots of problems when entering the aged society. Most of the aged populations are lived in countryside. Many aged people are living alone and have lost their working ability. With the dropping birthrate, the problem will become more severe and might turn to a big trouble to the government and the society..3.The fluctuation of market demand. In the market-oriented economy, the development of an enterprises is determined by it ability to meet the market demand. The changing and development of population is an essential factor for the recognizing of consuming character, market demand scale and production pattern. Undergoing a low birthrate, the population will have a complicated effect on the market. There will be more drastic market fluctuation. If the enterprises lack the flexibility to adjust its production structure and development strategy, it will lose its competition in the market. And also, the economical development will be restricted. Part 3. Ideas Any change will bring opportunities to us and any phenomenon will give us implications. Anyone who find these secrets will be successful. So what ideas can we get from the dropping of birth rate? First of all, in such a big country as China, it s necessary to carry on the family planning policy. We should try our best to give a full play to the advantages of the low birthrate. We should strengthen the perception of sustainable development and focus on not only now time but also future. Second we should have a more clear anticipation of future, give a rational arrangement to educational resource, and improve the standard of teaching facility so that we can meet the demand. And we may take the low birthrate as an opportunity to improve the qualifications of the whole nation. We should face the problem of aging. We should increase the supply of medical care, aging products, and the services such as goods delivery. For enterprises, aging will bring a great variety of commercial chances. We should know how to make use of it. In short, as a special kind of resource, population can promote but at the same time restrict the sustainable development. In China, you can never make a brief conclusion whether the dropping of birthrate is good or not. The problem of population relates not only to now , but also to future . So any responsible decision should take both the two points into account. It s sensible to also concern the economical, social, and environmental factors. In conclusion, I would like to tell everyone in the world that with the birthrate dropping, what we seek in China is the sustainable development in real sense!