In her book, Just One Child, anthropologist Susan Greenhalgh recounts that the official in charge of what would become China’s one-child policy was an actual rocket scientist. In this case, when the phrase “it’s not rocket science!” comes to mind, it has a different meaning than the usual idiom. Greenhalgh shows that the original developers knew the one-child would lead to the culling of girl infants from the population, but that they actually saw this as a feature, not a bug. Selective culling of females meant fewer future mothers, meaning the ratcheting down of birth rates would be baked into future trends.
But there’s a strange sort of karma that attends such state-sponsored misogyny. As shown in my most recent co-authored book, The First Political Order: How Sex Shapes Governance and National Security Worldwide, nation-state outcomes of stability, security, and resilience are tightly associated with the situation of women. What you do to your women, you do to your nation-state. And if you choose to curse your women, as China did with the one-child policy and its predictable excesses against women, karma waits expectantly in the wings.