In Poland the ‘baby-wrap benefit ‘ is a one-off payment of PLN 1,000; in Denmark families with two or three children receive a considerable monthly family allowance; in China, on the other hand, a couple is allowed to have only one child. Each initiative is intended to reverse unfavourable demographic trends in a given country. Do you think states should interfere in citizens’ personal lives by implementing mandatory family policies? Argue for or against such initiatives in an essay.
Just before the dawn, a mile from a village in Shandong Province a Chinese woman in her thirties kneels bounding over her newborn girl. A glen, she brought her infant to, hides them from curious witnesses. The baby is scarcely to be seen as she is lying in the thick undergrowth wrapped in a piece of a dirty cloth. With the coming of the daybreak the mother’s face reveals misery she has in her heart. She knows that her little innocent daughter does not have any future in this country, not even a small chance to have, at least, a surname. The girl will never be recognised by the state. The woman knows that she must force herself to do something unforgivable. If only she could kill herself…. For the sake of her first-born son she must live.
The mother is covering the child’s face with the shred of fabric and waiting until the girl stops breathing. Such terrifying incidents happen in China more often than one could suspect. Citizens’ freedom to decide about their personal lives is violated by imposed states’ policies not only in China. In both Denmark and Poland governments take actions which make citizens perform in certain ways, as far as their decisions about parenthood are concerned. However, if we look at the rationale from global perspective and recall different situations concerning demography in Europe and Asia, governments’ interventions seem to be reasonable.
The policies are claimed to be taken to tackle the problems with both over- and under-population. Nevertheless, I would disagree that such procedures, in the shape they have been applied, are necessary. To begin with, Chinese authorities state that One-Child Policy, which was also named by the legislative Family Planning Policy, has been introduced to prevent future state’s inability to cope with outcomes of an increasing child birth rate. The authorities have estimated that subsequent enormous assets to be spent on health care, education and workplaces would be overwhelming and the state would not be able to handle the situation.
On that account in late 70ies nearly 36 per cent of Chinese population were forced to have one child only. If a family living in a rural area has more children they are left without any financial help, and what is more, children are not acknowledged by the state. While existence of “a forbidden child” is discovered the family is often punished and obliged to pay a fee, which undoubtedly worsen the situation. Thus, forced abortions and infanticide became common practice. As a result the poor are deprived of finances but also they have to act against their moral principles. On the other hand, city dwellers, although entirely submitted to the restrictive law, deliberately infringe the regulations since their high incomes allow them “sacrifice” a sum of money to be happy parents of more offspring.
This, by and large, increases discrepancies amongst Chinese society and proves that the law does not serve to improve the situation but rather acts against basic human rights. Secondly, Denmark is aptly viewed as a welfare state. While it is one of the European country with highest taxes imposed on citizens the variety of benefits are available to support pro-family approach. Since countries on the Continent face nowadays threat of future consequences of present-day decrease in birth rate undertaken actions appear to be reasonable and justified. Danish families experience significant help form the state and are entitled to be financially supported.
As children are precious in Denmark families, according as their particular situations are, may be given monthly quite large amount of money for the period from birth until a child’s 18th birthday. If certain requirements are fulfilled, they may benefit from the Family Allowance, assets needed for children’s education, and may be exempted from taxes and a considerable part of health care payment. In addition, single parents and those who are students are privileged to be supported by subsidies and Supplementary Allowance. Not only Danes, but also immigrants to the country may count on the state support, although not without minor restrictions.
On that account the number of newcomers from neighbouring countries rises and the question of social justice and rationale for supporting them seems to be inevitable. Furthermore, Poland although not being as prosperous as Denmark is, also tries to prevent forthcoming difficulties when the employed will not manage to support pensioners. Thus, the Child Benefit was introduced to encourage young couples to rise to the challenge and consciously become parents. Today young families are given a one-off payment of PLN 1,000 when a newborn baby becomes a member of the society. Some young parents do not have enough money to satisfy their needs and if their monthly income does not reach the definite minimum sum, they take another PLN 1,000 from the state.
Also, additional money can be obtained if a child remains in custody of only one of the parents; again PLN 1,000. How ever helpful the allowance may seem to be, the real situation is far from ideal as these families are afterwards left without any help. Perhaps for that reason many couples to gain additional money decide to get fictitious divorce, which morally speaking remains a moot point. To make the matter worse, there are plenty of families, in which parents do not even bother to think for a while about their children’s future and a pregnant mother is only a herald of expected money to be after the birth spent on alcohol.
Taking all previously given arguments into consideration, I venture to conclude that none of the regulations introduced by authorities or governments have brought forth intended outcomes and none have remained without influence on seemingly independent citizens’ decisions. Often these regulations play a role of the trigger for immoral and socially non-accepted forms of behaviour. I believe that while reconsidered, as far as both advantages and limitations are concerned, such initiatives would serve the societies’ interests and not vice versa.