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Dr. Dudley Poston Discusses the History and Future Implications of China's One-Child Policy

by Nikki Tripp
25 April 2016

HOUSTON, April 25, 2016 — On April 12, Asia Society Texas Center hosted Dr. Dudley Poston, Professor of Sociology and George T. and Gladys H. Abell Professor of Liberal Arts, Texas A&M University, for a discussion on China’s one-child policy and its global implications. Dr. Poston believes there “will not be a baby boom and yes, there will be an economic bust.” He began by outlining the history of the policy from Mao Zedong’s take over in 1949 to the official start of the policy in 1979. He also discussed recent changes, including the current two-child policy established in October 2015.

According to Dr. Poston, the implications of the policy are numerous, including the declining demographic dividend, an aging population, millions of Chinese bachelors, and the potential for an AIDS epidemic. Dr. Poston noted that in 2013 the Chinese government hosted a “trial” that allowed certain families to have two children; the trial resulted in only a fraction of the expected births. As with other countries that have experienced substantive economic growth, most couples recently surveyed believe having more than one child is too expensive. Dr. Poston believes an economic bust is inevitable due to the declining demographic dividend and an aging population. He noted, “China is now the world’s manufacturer, and in 15-20 years, it’ll be gone.” In closing he asked several pertinent questions: “Will the Chinese and the world be ready for millions more Chinese elderly? Will China and the world be ready when China is no longer the world’s manufacturer?”

 

 

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