Over at BreakPoint, our friend and Summit faculty member John Stonestreet offers an interesting update on the repercussions of the child policies in China. Stonestreet notes that the famous one child limit was raised to a two child limit a few years ago, and now Chinese officials are even trying to incentivize people to have more children. Now that the former fears about population control are subsiding, China is starting to see the serious negative impact that their child policies are having and will continue to have on their economic and cultural health as a nation.
The backtracking of the Chinese government on this issue is quite telling for what happens when communist governments make economic decisions for their citizens. At the root of this issue, the decision to implement this policy had a lot to do with economic concerns about population growth and sustainability. Regardless of how many strong economists a government has involved in its decision making, they cannot possibly understand the market and control it more effectively than the individual consumers can through their own free decisions.
Jay Richards, Senior Director at the Discovery Institute, points out one of the benefits of the free market in this Q&A session: “… the free economy channels both our legitimate self-interest, and to some extent even our selfishness, toward socially beneficial outcomes. I think that is one of the key virtues of the free economy.“
In a free economy, people generally act in ways that benefit their own well-being, which isn’t a bad thing. In fact, protecting the well-being of the citizens is exactly what the government of China was trying to do when it began regulating the amount of children people could have. Even so, the government cannot possibly keep up with what’s best for an individual better than the individuals can keep up with themselves. This is why there are many examples of free economies creating wealth and prosperity through free trade that makes all parties better off, and equally as many example of economies that are heavily controlled by the government deteriorating.
For this reason, it is no surprise that the Chinese government failed to accurately prepare for the future when trying to regulate this decision for the families of China. We need to evaluate these stories when we consider how to vote and how to manage our own economies.
“China is suffering the consequences of years of government overreach and interference with families due to misplaced population panic. Lifting the restrictions is a good start, but you can’t replace millions of missing children overnight.“