One, two, three, China's new policy


Capitalism is hardwired with one command economy feature: making supply meet demand, and vice versa. When it comes to having an optimum labour force and a consumer pool, things are no different – except that keeping a just-right-sized working-consuming population means getting into citizens’ reproductive choices and capabilities. And, the Chinese State isn’t shy about getting into those areas like bashful democratic countries. Which is why on Monday, Xi Jinping, a parent of one daughter, okayed China‘s new three-child policy. For those unaware of China’s decades-old one-child policy that was scrapped for a two-child one in 2016, this latest removal of a prophylactic policy does not mean making it mandatory for couples to have three kids. It just means that they won’t get penalised as they did the last five years for breaching the maximum two-child mandate.

How Beijing plans for its citizens to procreate and rear a ‘just so’ number will be interesting, considering that Chinese couples don’t seem to be keen on having more than one child. An ageing demography is making mandarins nervous. If ‘three offsprings’ is, for the time being, the right answer for China, a seductive policy – that also sees parents rewarded for turning out three able adults over time – rather than a policy nudge, could be a practical solution.



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