Who is the Population Policy Designed For?

In Media

25th November 2013

Who is the Population Policy Designed For?


Author: Eddy Lee Wai Choi

For many years, the Hong Kong SAR Government has been criticised for not establishing a distinct population policy. The proposed population policy has finally be announced, but triggered only anger amongst the public. So far, many constructive criticisms have been made, but the key problems of the proposed policy have yet to be named by these critics.

Scientists have pointed out repeatedly throughout all these years that endless economic growth will destroy the nature. Limits to Growth published by Club of Rome in 1972 is a milestone of this view. In 2000, 28 years later after this book was published, the United Nation eventually established a committee that consisted of hundreds of experts to look into the damages human activities cause to the nature. The committee’s report: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, published in 2005 clearly stated that damages caused by human beings have exceeded the nature’s self-healing pace. This means that the modern development of the human race is not sustainable.

Based on this , any population policy should be a policy that focuses on stablising population, or even reducing population. Hong Kong SAR Government, however, refused to set a limit on Hong Kong’s population, makes this proposed policy a hollow one.

I have mentioned in many occasions that “if the mean goes too far from 2 it will turn into a disaster” – this is a general direction, not everyone would become a parent, so the mean is around 2.1. This is a simple logic: population growth at a compound rate, if a couple have more than two children, it will lead to an exponential growth, but below two will result at an exponential decay – neither of these are sustainable. A simple analogy: if one could fold a piece of paper for 50 times, the paper would be so thick that it can to reach the moon.

The most shocking thing about the proposed population policy is that it focuses on increasing labour force! At a moment when housing problem is severe, landfill will soon to be saturated, medical system is under tremendous pressure, to encourage birth and importing labour is a bad direction.

This does not make sense, but the reason for having such a policy direction can be easily explained: Hong Kong’s population policy is not designed for the general public, but for the capitalists. To ensure that capitalists can continue to make profit, a non stop supply of cheap labour has to be guaranteed because this is a way to suppress labour who demand for better benefits or pay. Besides, a continuously increasing population represents a growing number of consumer, which ensure that capitalists can profit from the products they manufacture. In other words, an ever raising population is the sweetest dream of any capitalist, but a fall in population is their worst nightmare.

In modern civilisation, wage-labour is the core of economic activities (something in the recent two to three hundred years), whilst capitalists’ investments are the source of employment. The most powerful weapon of the capitalists is capital flight which triggers unemployment. Once we learn these basic concepts and their relations, we would not be surprised to see the massive discrepancy between the people’s expectation and the population policy.


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