How would choosing gender & physical characteristics of children impact demographic composition of society?
Any technology allowing for the control of genetic traits in children would likely have benefits as well as negative consequences. Obvious benefits might include the reduction of class separation due to racial and other physical components; however this presents a serious problem to the demographic composition of a country. Without regulation, policies would be impacted because there are many policies that are made according to race and other standards such as beauty which would need to be rethought. For example, workers in entertainment industries are subject to legal discrimination based on legal Bona Fide Occupational Requirements such as dancers needing to look a certain way.
From this example, you can see the complexity of the issue which only deepens when considering legal definitions and entitlements. For instance, Native Americans are entitled to benefits from the government but if a technology begins altering what defines someone as a Native American there could be legal questions arising as to whether that person is truly Native American. Choosing physical characteristics such as eye color or facial shapes may not impact demographics but in extreme cases of racial and ethnic alterations this can present significant issues with policy and may provide a means of further oppressing vulnerable populations.
If a Native American uses such a technology, this does not erase the hundreds of years of oppression that resulted in his or her economic position. As such, any shift in demographic could result in the loss of benefits that may still be needed. There are even larger implications such as,
BEIJING — China has a bride shortage. Three decades after the controversial one-child policy, millions of men of marrying age cannot find spouses (Thomas, 2011).
While gender choice may result in significant benefits it may also exasperate other problems such as choosing genders for trafficking, financial reasons, and other situations which will likely harm people as well as society. All of these issues do not include possible evolutionary and biological impacts that will likely result.
George Thomas (2011) China’s Women Shortage Fuels Trafficking http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2011/June/Chinas-Women-Shortage-Fuels-Trafficking/