GCD – Global Understanding

In Geography, I learned about population change and migration in different countries as well as its consequences. One significant factor that affects both population growth and migration is power, which can control the population through policies (e.g. pro-natalist and anti-natalist policies) or by forcing people in and out of countries or regions. One example is the One Child Policy implemented in 1979 until 2015 by the Chinese government (Politics) in order to control its rapid population growth. This is contrary to Japan, where it is experiencing population decline. The rapid population growth in China had caused environmental and social issues, including congestion, pollution, and lack of space, services, and resources. Hence, the government aimed to alleviate these issues by introducing the policy. People who did not follow the policy were punished (e.g. fines) or experienced loss of privileges. However, some of the wealthy people (the privileged) did not comply and chose to pay the fines instead, as they were easily able to afford it. Although the policy was successful in reducing its population growth, the policy caused other unfavorable consequences, including an imbalance in the sex ratio due to preferences of sons over daughters and more female babies abandoned or killed due to neglect and infanticide. This policy caused a controversy as it involved ethical issues, including killing lives.

Reflecting on my learning on government population policies, I came up with the following question: “To what extent would policies involving the killing of lives be considered as acceptable/ethical if this was a method to control the population growth in order to ease food security fears, pollution, as well as other unfavorable consequences?” Although killing lives is a controversial issue, in certain circumstances, such as the scarcity of food resources, it is important that policies or regulations are implemented, as it can put many lives in danger and eventually cause a decline in population, like the Great Chinese Famine (1959-1961) did (around 15 to 30 million were killed).

Another experience that gave me an insight into the relationship between power/privileged and politics is the talk we had in Spanish class with Mr. Castro about his migration experience during the Spanish Civil War. The civil war was a conflict against the Democratic Republic Government. Mr. Castro migrated because of issues, including hunger, scarcity of resources, and the economic crisis. Some families had to live with rations, which was insufficient and left many hungry. He and his family migrated north for better conditions, including higher salaries and employment opportunities. This talk linked to what I learned in the unit, changing populations, in geography, in which we learned that possible push factors include shortages of resources and conflicts and that pull factors include better job opportunities and safety.