But the bad guys may not be quite as bad. The loosening of the one-child policy announced on November 15th, allowing couples to have a second child if either parent is an only child, is meant to signal the beginning of a more family-friendly bureaucracy. The enforcers still have leverage, but in this respect central authorities are asking them to restrain their use of it. Provinces can set their own timetable for implementing the reform, but they are being officially encouraged to do so as quickly as possible (some will undoubtedly proceed immediately; the fertility rates in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou are among the lowest in the world). Families will still have to apply for a permit to have a second child, but authorities will be encouraged to approve them without a fuss. Officials expect a baby bump of 1m new births a year over the next several years, in addition to 15m or 16m births now; some demographers predict more (and some businesses are excited), but not a boom.