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Can organ-harvesters be Number One?

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Despite some hiccups caused by the sorry state of the world economy, China is still The Future for many global analysts. Thomas Friedman of the New York Times has even suggested that Americans have a lot to learn politically from the economic successes of Chinese authoritarianism. That China is the rising world power seems taken for granted in many elite foreign policy circles.

I'm not buying. I didn't buy "Japan is Number One" when that was the mantra two decades ago, because Japan had severe demographic problems--as in, very few children; its lack of the most basic form of people power in the most elementary form, I thought, would soon become evident in economic weakness (as it has). China also has serious demographic problems. Thanks to a brutally enforced one-child policy, China will likely get old before it gets rich. And between now and then, there will be some 20 million or so Chinese men who have no possibility of marriage, their future wives having been aborted decades ago because of the one-child policy. Twenty million or more young men with no prospects of marriage is not, to put it gently, a formula for social stability.

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