Could this method of controlling the number of children people have work? The way this works is that everyone born in the country gets 1 "ticket". Each ticket allows for someone to have one child. These tickets can be sold or given to other people. The reason for this is that this turns out to a 2 child policy for most families. But the reason for the ticket system is it means that people that don't want children can sell their ticket off to make try & prevent wasted tickets. If someone dies without using their ticket it goes to the market. People are given a ticket at 16. (the legal age of adulthood in this nation.) If someone dies before 16 the ticket is refunded.

If someone has more children than they have tickets for. They have a 9 month window to apply for a temporary ticket from the government that lasts until the child turns 2 years old so the parents can obtain a ticket off the market. If they can't they are taken to away & looked after by the government. They can be adopted by a family that has a ticket but can't have children until they turn 16. They are looked after & schooled until they turn 20. When they are sterilised & have to serve in a government or military position for 8 years. After this they have the rights of a full citizen but without a ticket & is not allowed to obtain a ticket.

The tickets are verified by a combination of a blockchain & strict government monitoring. Having more children than allowed incurs a heavy fine.

Could this system work & if not what are the holes in it?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ ...does a bloody uprising led by noncompliant citizens count as a hole? We may need to know more about the government, culture and philosophies of the people involved. This sure wouldn't work where I live. $\endgroup$
    – Qami
    Aug 26, 2021 at 1:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Qami Most people in developed nations don't want to have more than 2 children anyway. And if they do want more it's not difficult to get more tickets for more children off the market. $\endgroup$
    – OT-64 SKOT
    Aug 26, 2021 at 2:44
  • $\begingroup$ @DWKraus this government is incredibly harsh regarding stuff like that. Doing stuff like that would put your life at a very big risk. $\endgroup$
    – OT-64 SKOT
    Aug 26, 2021 at 3:28
  • $\begingroup$ If your goal is to keep the population stable, 1 ticket per 16-year-old person is not enough, unless your pre-16 mortality is 0 (absolutely no one dies prior to the age of 16) or tickets are valid until children reach 16 (i.e. if a child dies before 16 parents can have another child using the same ticket). In our world, replacement fertility is around 2.1 for developed countries. $\endgroup$
    – Otkin
    Aug 26, 2021 at 7:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Otkin If someone dies before 16 the ticket would be refunded to parents. $\endgroup$
    – OT-64 SKOT
    Aug 26, 2021 at 7:42

2 Answers 2


As devised the system doesn't put any burden on the transgressors, but only on the child: the child will be taken away, fed and schooled at the expense of the state and eventually sterilized.

The disobeying parents will be simply lifted of the burden of raising an additional child.

In simple words: why should I worry about the consequences of not observing the law, if there are no consequences on me?

For a reference, in China's "single kid" policy the couple getting more than the allowed 1 kid would have to pay a tax on that.

  • $\begingroup$ If there was a large fine in place would people be more inclined to obeying it? $\endgroup$
    – OT-64 SKOT
    Aug 26, 2021 at 2:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @OT-64SKOT Or possibly the child is taken away, but the parents still pay an extra tax to support him or her? $\endgroup$
    – Qami
    Aug 26, 2021 at 2:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Qami That's a nice touch! Kind of like the Chinese making the family pay for the bullet used to kill their loved one. $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Aug 26, 2021 at 3:49
  • $\begingroup$ If they're willing to sterilize the child in this case, why not the parents? It would certainly cut down on recidivism. $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    Aug 26, 2021 at 13:58

Bad Idea:

What is the GOAL of the measure? Population control? It would be easier for a government to simply implant everyone with mandatory birth control such that they need to take drugs to reverse it. Only people who REALLY want it would take drugs to get pregnant. Problem solved without enforced sterilization of people who did nothing to earn brutality. Or you can just execute the parents of extra kids.

I see a lot of opportunities for graft, corruption, and forcing the poor to give up having children - in the same way Southern blacks were pressured into giving up land to whites. Unless your government is "Big Brother" authoritative, no government has ever controlled corruption that much. Besides, is it corruption? You've put a financial value on human life. Short of a cradle-to-grave welfare system to assure people the ability to provide for a family, putting people in poverty isn't technically corrupt - it's just mean. "You can't have the job unless you give me your ticket," or "You can't pay your debts, so we're putting a lien on your ticket." Why wouldn't it be legal to treat people like this in this system?

This would be grievously discriminatory against oppressed minorities who could then be ticketed out of existence by denying them opportunities. Force them to sell and you eliminate them as a group.

Monetizing children also puts a perverse incentive on governments. If your constituents want more kids, you please them by offering extra tickets on the exchange. They can justify it by saying "Extra money now will help us deal with the problems from overpopulation in the future," but mostly it's about winning support. Governments would squander the money. Or they could take the tickets from people who don't pay taxes and sell them to raise cash that way as well.

As for the orphans, the government would then have an incentive to get people to have additional children. These kids would make up the brainwashed elite cadre of government followers. The British did something similar with orphans (trained to be sailors in the navy), and more notoriously the Ceausescu regime in Romania encouraged people to have extra children and filled the orphanages - then turned them into an elite cadre of fanatical soldiers who died trying to defend the regime when it fell.

Any time you put this much power in the hands of a government or bureaucracy, it leads to abuse - one way or another.

  • $\begingroup$ this is a country money were is secondary to government position. You don't need money because the government just uses however much money its needs, taken from the money printer. And the various military institutions of this nation have an interest to keep the government from getting to powerful. $\endgroup$
    – OT-64 SKOT
    Aug 26, 2021 at 4:04
  • $\begingroup$ @OT-64SKOT Then the military is the one with the corruption issue. They want soldiers raised from birth and indentured to the government (military). This sounds like a tyrannical government; why not just have a two-child policy followed by mandatory sterilization? Much more egalitarian. Buying and selling human life inevitably leads to abuse. $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Aug 26, 2021 at 4:14
  • $\begingroup$ The government wants to keep the population as stable as possible. Having people that wont have more children & a plain 2 child policy gets the issue of slow population decline. And it's a mixed bag whether they'll go military or a civilian government service. And further you can't tell which part because they have the freedom to pick any government or military job. As well as only having to stay for 8 years, after that they are just regular people that don't have a ticket. $\endgroup$
    – OT-64 SKOT
    Aug 26, 2021 at 5:16
  • $\begingroup$ @OT-64SKOT You have the kids for the years before that, and can teach them fanatical loyalty. It's a bit like the Spartan system, where early indoctrination controls their attitudes for life. If you DON'T indoctrinate, you're inviting people who may resent the government to be it's representatives. Do you want them angry at you for punishing them for other's crimes? BTW, what happens if the orphans marry someone with a ticket? You've already sterilized them. If successful, they can't BUY a ticket if they wanted to. Too many consequences downstream. $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Aug 26, 2021 at 12:41
  • $\begingroup$ There are multiple militaries in this nation, none would want one of the others getting that supply of indoctrinated recruits. And with a established system for dealing with disputes no one can really get them without the others unifying & saying they're not allowed to by the others. As for one of these people gaining power, there are enough balancing institutions that trying to get something as controversial as that among the public passed is going to be near impossible. $\endgroup$
    – OT-64 SKOT
    Aug 26, 2021 at 13:11

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .