In response to Li Tie, chief economist of the China Center for Urban and Small Town Reform, who published an article entitled “Cannot irresponsibly encourage multiple life”, Liang Jianzhang, chairman of Ctrip’s board of directors and a population economist, wrote today that population is wealth, not a burden, and that the average value of Chinese is positive. He argues that China’s extremely low fertility rate means that the hard-working and intelligent Chinese nation’s share of the world is shrinking sharply, not only for China but also for the world.
Mr Leung said most countries would not see fertility reductions as contributing to the world because they understood that children were the most valuable resource and many countries with fertility rates much higher than China were encouraging fertility.
Although China’s population is more than 11 times that of Japan, it has 145 people per square kilometer, 345 in Japan, less than half as dense lying as Japan, which now encourages fertility. In addition to Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom have higher population densities than China, and now Germany and the UK are encouraging fertility. Singapore’s population density is dozens of times higher than China’s, but it still encourages fertility.
He pointed out that Chinese civilization once accounted for one third of the world’s population, now less than one-fifth, and each year only one-tenth of the world’s newborns. Even if it is now completely liberalized but not encouraged to have children, China’s share of the world’s population will shrink sharply, and by the end of this century, China’s weight will plummet and Chinese civilization will be completely reduced. “When other factors are the same, the power of civilization is proportional to the population. As the population declines, the quality of the population does not rise but decreases. A large population does not mean that it will be strong, but a sharp decline in population must be a sign of decline. (Zhang Jun)
The following is the full text of Liang Jianzhang’s article:
Liang Jianzhang: Four reviews of Li Tie’s “Chinese over-the-mouth”
On July 7th Li Tie, chief economist of the China Center for Urban and Small Town Reform, published an article entitled “Cannot irresponsibly encourage multiple life”, in response to our previous article, “Three Reviews of Li Tie’s “Chinese Over-The-Mouth”. Although we do not agree with Li Tie, we would like to thank Li Tie for his repeated response to our article. It should be noted that many of the points we discussed in previous articles, Li Tie is either blind or seriously misread. Below, we make a specific analysis of some plausible ideas in Li Tie’s article.
Not just the population, but the population density.
“If China’s population is only a few hundred million, we can talk about raising the birth rate and encouraging fertility, ” Li said. But China now faces 1.4 billion people, more than four times the size of the United States and more than 11 times that of Japan, not to mention small countries with millions or tens of millions of people. “
Although China’s population is more than 11 times that of Japan, it has 145 people per square kilometer and 345 in Japan, showing that China’s population density is less than half that of Japan, which now encourages fertility. According to Li Tie’s logic, only the population size and not the population density, China has 1.4 billion people is overpopulated, Japan has 127 million people is not overpopulated, then if every province in China is regarded as an independent economy, each province of the population is less than Japan, is not too much population? Is it possible to talk about raising the birth rate and encouraging fertility? In addition to Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom have higher population densities than China, and now Germany and the UK are encouraging fertility. No country with a larger population density than China does think it is overpopulated, and what reason does China think it is overpopulated?
Li Tie has repeatedly stressed that “Chinese has a large base”, in fact, Chinese a large base, one is because China has a long history, the history of the United States is much shorter than China’s, and the population is certainly smaller than China’s; If India were not divided, india’s population would now already surpass China’s.
Under the long-term family planning campaign, the idea of Chinese too much mouth has become deeply rooted, and China is the world’s most populous country, many people take it for granted that Chinese especially able to have children. But in fact, all the remaining nations have a tenacious reproductive culture. China’s vast territory, a long history, the integration of different tribes to achieve a unified Chinese nation, after the relative stability of the social and economic structure, agricultural development; Over the past two thousand years, Chinese account for more than 20 per cent of the world,” except in times of war.
In fact, a country’s population density is too large to conclude that it is “overpopulated”. Singapore, for example, has a population density that is dozens of times higher than China’s, but it still encourages fertility. In the final analysis, the difference between us and Li Tie is that Li Tie regards population as a burden, that the average value of a person is negative, and that we see population as a source of wealth and that the average value of a person is a positive number.
The proportion of the population of Chinese civilization is declining
Although China is now the most populous country, as a civilization, China does not have a demographic advantage. Western civilizations, for example, have more than a billion people and share a common race, language, religion, values and cultural identity. After World War II, the Western countries are highly integrated economically and securityally, and are a stable community of culture and interests. Population is the foundation of civilization. Chinese civilization once accounted for one-third of the world’s population, now less than one-fifth, and each year only a tenth of the world’s newborns. The following chart shows that even if it is now completely liberalized but not encouraged to have children, China’s share of the world’s population will shrink sharply, and by the end of this century, China’s weight will plummet and Chinese civilization will be completely reduced.
Note: Chinese civilization includes Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and the data before 1950 came from the History of the Chinese Mouth (1988), followed by projections from the 2010 census. Other countries came from Maddison (2008) before 1950, after which they were projected by programmes in the United Nations Population Programme.
Of course, it is not only the number of people affecting the rise and fall of civilization, but also the quality of the population, such as the quality of the population, the level of development, organizational capacity and cohesion. But the number of people is the underlying condition, and when other factors are the same, the power of civilization is proportional to the number of people. As the population declines, the quality of the population does not rise but decreases. A large population does not mean that it will be strong, but a sharp decline in population must be a sign of decline.
Marginal effect and scale effect
“Economics has one of the most basic concepts – marginal effects, which means that at a certain size of the economy, the benefits may increase, but beyond the boundaries of scale, the effects will decrease, and so will the population, ” Li said. “
“Marginal effect” is also known as “marginal benefit decrease”, which means that in an industry with resources as input, the utility of unit resource input to product output is decreasing. For example, suppose a person cultivates an acre of arable land, the output value is 1000 yuan, if two people cultivate two acres of arable land, the total output value is 2000 yuan, and if more people and less land, two people cultivate an acre of arable land, the total output value may be only 1400 yuan, the per capita output value is only 700 yuan.
For agriculture, the “marginal effect” is basically applicable, the greater the population, the less arable land per capita, the lower the per capita output value, but for industry and services, it applies to another effect —- scale effect. In modern society, the highest output value of a country’s industry is not agriculture, in many countries, the output value of industry and tertiary industry is much higher than the output value of agriculture. For example, in 2019, China’s primary industries (including agriculture, forestry, fisheries and animal husbandry) accounted for only 7.1% of GDP, secondary 39.0% and tertiary industries at 53.9%.
Within a certain range, the more people there is, the easier it is for industry and services to develop, the higher the productivity and the higher the per capita output. In manufacturing, for example, the unit cost of producing 1m products by a company is much lower than the cost of producing 10,000. Take the transport industry as an example, the greater the population density, the lower the per capita transport cost and the more accessible the public transport. The greater the population density, the less cost is shorter in promoting products and services. With many people and large markets, large-scale production has benefits. The greater the population, the more people who need your product, and the more competitors you have, thereby contributing to technological progress.
Whether the labor shortage is unrelated to the number of people
“The simplest logic in Mr. Leung’s view is that in the futureChinese number will be reduced by the decline in the birth rate, especially in times of population or labour shortage, ” Li said. “
Obviously Li Tie has seriously misunderstood our view, because we have never encouraged fertility on the grounds of China’s labour shortage, nor have we said in any article that the reason for liberalizing and encouraging fertility is employment. We have said many times that there is no significant correlation between the size of the population and the unemployment rate, nor with whether there is a shortage of labour.
A shrinking population does not mean a shortage of labour. This is because all job opportunities come from human needs, with fewer people, fewer jobs and less jobs. Overall, the impact of population size on employment is neutral, but slightly positive. We have analyzed it in detail in the first article commenting on Li Tie’s views and will not repeat it here.
While the world’s population is increasing, the general trend in labour prices, i.e. wage levels, is rising, indicating that the most valuable asset is not natural resources but human resources. On the other hand, the value of natural resources as a share of the economy has generally been declining, and now accounts for less than 5% of GDP. It can be seen that, relative to the wealth created and enjoyed by human beings, natural resources are becoming cheaper and human resources are becoming more expensive.
The root cause of the deterioration of the ecological environment is not overpopulation.
“The greenhouse effect is one of the most serious problems facing mankind, and what is the problem that most countries in the world have signed climate treaties to solve?” li said. It is the excessive consumption of human resources that has led to the deterioration of the earth’s ecology. “
In fact, the earth itself has been in constant changes and periodic fluctuations, human activities are only one of the many factors affecting the Earth’s environment. Before the existence of humans, the ice age and climate warming had alternately occurred. It is often hard to say how human activity will affect the environment. Even if the impact is significant, production and lifestyle and environmental protection measures are far more important than the environmental impact of population policies. For example, the energy consumption, space use and environmental impact of driving by office workers themselves are several to dozens of times greater than the use of public transportation. In the foreseeable future, the impact of population policy differences on the total population and the environment is only a few or dozens, a factor of magnitude lower than the impact of differences in modes of transport. Fertility policies take decades to make a felt impact on the size of the population. And in the meantime, if the environmental problems are recognized, the appropriate measures, can completely make the environment change day by day.
Moreover, a small population does not necessarily mean a good environment. In terms of environmental quality, densely populated Europe is better than sparsely populated Africa, and Japan, with a higher population density, is better than China, which has a smaller population density. Mongolia is one of the world’s most sparsely populated countries, but ranks among the countries most affected by desertification, with 90 per cent of grasslands affected by desertification and land degradation.
According to NASA, the surface has added 2 million square miles of vegetation over the past 20 years, equivalent to an extra Amazon rainforest. A third of this green growth is due to China and India, the world’s two most populous countries. While it is uncertain to what extent this is related to climate change, china and India have become richer, with a greater focus on the environment and more resources invested in afforestation and vegetation improvement. In the process of such efforts, the huge population size of the two countries and even the favourable factors for improving the environment contrast sharply with the worsening of the environment in sparsely populated countries such as Mongolia. Brazil, by contrast, has a much smaller population, and its Amazon rainforest is shrinking.
Global population problems cannot be solved solely by China
“Continuing to encourage more life irresponsibly will not only make China face many difficulties in its development, but also force all mankind to face the problems that will arise from the future overpopulation,” Li said. “
There are now 7.7 billion people in the world, of which 1.4 billion are Chinese and 6.3 billion outside China. If the earth is really overpopulated, then all countries in the world should participate in population control programs, especially those with population density than Large R and China should control the population, and should set the proportion of population control in each country. If other countries do not restrict fertility, only in China, we would like to ask Li Tie: If only 1.4 billion people in China restrict fertility, while the remaining 6.3 billion people do not need to limit fertility, this will solve the global population problem?
“China has made a great contribution to population control, which, of course, has been achieved at the expense of countless individuals and families in China, ” Li said. But it is also because of the former population control, reducing the huge burden of China’s development. “
It can be seen that Li Tie still regards the Chinese as a huge burden and sees China’s population control as “a great contribution to the world”. But we believe that the average value of Chinese is positive, and that China’s very low fertility rate means that the proportion of hard-working and intelligent Chinese people in the world is shrinking sharply, not only for China but also for the world.
The vast majority of countries do not see fertility reduction as a contribution to the world, because they understand that children are the most valuable resource, and many countries with fertility rates much higher than China are encouraging fertility. For example, the French Government awards the Republic Family Medal to families with four or more children, of which 4-5 are copper, 6-7 children are silver and eight or more children are gold. There are even more practical incentives. Even so, France’s fertility rate is only close to 2.0, still below replacement levels. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China and other countries are also struggling to encourage fertility, but fertility rates are still hovering at very low levels.
All in all, Li Tie’s argument is that population is a burden, similar to the Malthusian theory of 200 years ago. The Malthusian theory, which can be said to be the simple “farmer” population theory, has long been unsuitable for modern economies. In the Malthusian era 200 years ago, agriculture was the dominant industry, and the per capita footprint would certainly increase productivity. Li Tie is also constantly using the example of agriculture and per capita arable land as its argument. But in fact, China and most of the world’s middle-income countries, have entered the industry, services and innovative economy, agriculture accounted for a very small proportion, and the vast majority of China’s young people have long been out of agriculture. Therefore, some people are now clinging to the farmers’ inertial thinking to conclude that “population is a burden” is a fallacy, and this erroneous view is highly misleading to the reform of population policy.