We now know that this theory was completely wrong, as a result of which we are now benefiting from the demographic dividend . The citizens of India had enough sense not to listen to the demographers and the experts .
Sadly, nothing has changed , and the experts to continue to focus on numbers – it’s just that the numbers we pay attention to have changed ! These days , the number which everyone focuses on is the child sex ratio , the hypothesis being that having one girl and one boy in order to have a sex ratio of one would be perfect for society.
Unfortunately, when you focus on numbers and ratios by putting the population first, we lose sight of the fact that populations consist of individuals . Our citizens should be making their own reproductive decisions , to maximize their own personal benefit. The ideal population policies which would be one which would create circumstances which would allow individuals to ensure that every child they bring into this world is a wanted child . Each family could then decide exactly how many children to have , and when to have them , without having to worry about what the government felt was the optimal number for them.
Unfortunately when we start putting numbers first ( because experts are good with numbers and not with people) , we end up creating all kinds of messes. Unfortunately, we don't even know what the long-term consequences of these decisions will be – and don’t have the humility to acknowledge our ignorance. Because everyone is singing the same tune, groupthink becomes the norm. In our enthusiasm to implement some of these policies , we end up creating a lot of inadvertent harm be forcing couples to make decisions they are not happy with. It’s easy to put this down to “ collateral damage “, and because it hurts an individual , it's not publicized and doesn't receive enough attention .