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Yishu Liu
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From Hardin’s the Tragedy of the Commons, the quote “freedom to bred will bring ruin to all” stuck me the most. It is a bold statement to make and Hardin supported it with some very strong points. However, this statement only stands in some cases. As with everything else in economics, the answer is it depends. For example, China is an example of a country with population control policies. There is a government limit on “freedom to bred”. China’s one-child policy, recently changed to two kids, was very efficient in curbing the fast growing population. The initial decision for the policy was due to the inability to provide enough food for the fast growing Chinese population, which led to many years of famine in China. Since the sanction, the average number of kids per woman has decreased from about 2.5 in 1980 to 1.5 in 2005-2010, compared to 6.3 in 1970s. Like Hardin said, “a finite world can support only a finite population; therefore, population growth must eventually equal zero”. This is an example of a success story, where command and control regulation has slowed down population growth. On the other hand, Denmark is having the opposite problem as China. In the past decades, the Danes have been faced with declining birth rates. As of 2012, the average number of children per family is around 1.7. Denmark has not enacted any policies to block the “freedom to bred”. Advancements in sexual education in Danish schools definitely play a factor into the low birth rates. Contrary to the Chinese government, the Danish government is trying to encourage couples to have more kids. They are intervening with population growth through moral suasion and providing incentives for Danes to have more children. For example, the Danish government subsidies the costs of raising a child through helping all families pay for daycare to college. In addition, advertisement campaigns are encouraging Danish couples to “do it for Denmark”. As much as I agree with the need for population control as pointed out by Hardin, I think this is a problem that every country has to tackle by itself. The optimum population is nearly impossible to determine, but I believe we are quickly approaching that number.
Toggle Commented Jan 22, 2016 on ECON 255 for Friday at Jolly Green General
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Jan 21, 2016