Ken Haig Faculty Seminar- April 25
Organization: Bard College Faculty Seminars
Title: Ken Haig: From Green to Grey: The Politics of Population Policy in East Asia
Location: Olin, Room 102
Date/Time: April 25, 2012 at 7:00 P.M.
Within fifty years, policymakers in East Asia’s advanced industrial democracies like Japan and South Korea have gone from sounding alarms about high fertility, to fretting over declining fertility. But the policy responses in each era have been remarkably different. In the early post-WWII period, both Japan and South Korea aggressively promoted family planning and even emigration as a means of controlling population growth. With neo-Malthusian theories at the time linking high fertility to poverty, official encouragement of ‘small and prosperous families’ became a central part economic planning. By comparison, current demographic trends pose much more worrisome long-term challenges, with steady increases in the ratio of retirees to workers and children underway in both countries. And yet recent policy responses in Japan and South Korea have been far more hesitant, and focused on creating incentives via subsidies and services rather than lowering barriers to childrearing via legislation or regulation. This presentation explores how the politics of population control have changed in countries like Japan and South Korea throughout the post-WWII period, taking into account both changes in the structural environment as well as political actors.
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