China has recently put an end to their one child policy, which banned women in China from having more than one child. This was enforced by forcing women to have abortions, posting ludicrous fines on families and massive forced sterilizations. For peasants living in the country side, these fine have a much greater weight- they could be several times their income, stripping them of their home, their land and possessions. It is clear that the one child policy has been effective in reducing fertility and population from the graph below.
This one child policy has ironically caused such a backlash that China has decided to reverse it. There are too few babies and far too many unmarried single men. China’s culture places emphasis on the value of male children over female children. If couples are only allowed to have one child, they would much rather that the child be a male. Furthermore, the rapid aging of the country has created a need for new youth. Who will care for the elderly if they significantly outweigh the population of the youth and middle aged people?
My question is what the smaller proportion of young people as a result of this policy will have on the impacts of potentially entering conflict with other states as well as civil wars. As we discussed in class, a states desire to enter conflict is not always means enough to enter conflict. Rather, the state must have the means to do so. If a state such as China has such a high population of elderly men i comparison of men who are eligible to be soldiers, there is less means to fight, especially when the state takes into consideration that we need a certain amount of people to care for the elders- there is such a small relative population of women in the country (as evidenced by the overwhelming single men problem) that women are not a viable option as a main resource to care for the huge population of elders. So my question is, essentially, will/has the unbalanced population structure that is a result of the one child policy been a deterrent to war? Perhaps we will see a higher rate of wars (civil and interstate) in China as the population balances as a result of the end of the one child policy.