Chapter 11 explores the future of population aging, asking if aged societies will become a permanent fixture or are fleeting and unique to our time. It approaches this question by looking at the effects of controlling fertility rates by means of reproductive policies designed to balance ratios between young and old age groups. Using historical examples of China’s one-child policy and Romania’s Decree 770, the chapter argues that both pro- and antinatalist policies produce population aging and can exact a heavy toll on individuals’ capabilities to be healthy, have bodily integrity, and determine a plan of life. The chapter examines future societies with aged, super-aged, and extremely aged populations and gives guidance for intergenerational justice that is dignity-based. It considers the objection that reproductive choices do not make future persons worse off because they change the identities of future persons (the nonidentity problem). We counter this objection by drawing on the dignity framework developed throughout the book. After examining evidence of the effects of pro- and antinatalist reproductive policies, the chapters conclude that the longer-term effects on population aging must temper any assessment of the putative shorter-term good of raising or lowering fertility rates.
Keywords: intergenerational justice, reproductive policy, future people, non-identity problem, pronatalist, antinatalist, societal aging, China’s one-child policy, Romania’s Decree 770, human capabilities
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.