‘Cease to exist’: How Elon Musk thinks the world will end

The world’s richest man has revealed the “greatest threat to civilization” and it’s what’s happening – or not happening – in your bedroom.

Elon Musk thinks civilization will collapse unless people have more babies. This is a stark warning.

For months now, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX — and aspiring owner of Twitter — has been tweeting about the declining birth rate around the world.

The father of at least seven children, the 50-year-old billionaire has designated Hong Kong, South Korea, China and the United States as being at risk of “collapse”. More recently, he said that Japan “will eventually cease to exist.”

It’s an argument he’s been making for several years – but is it real or does he have an ulterior motive?

“Civilization will collapse”

Musk says the idea that planet Earth was overpopulated “is an outdated view”. Japan is his most recent cataclysmic prophecy.

“At the risk of stating the obvious, unless something changes so that the birth rate exceeds the death rate, Japan will eventually cease to exist,” Musk tweeted. “It would be a great loss to the world.”

But he also warned that Italy was in danger of “disappearing” after its birth rate fell to around one child per woman last year. “Italy will have no people,” he tweeted.

It was just another extension of an argument he detailed last year.

“So many people, including smart people, think there are too many people in the world and think the population is spiraling out of control,” he told the Wall Street Journal CEO Council in December.

“It’s completely the opposite. Please look at the numbers – if people don’t have more children, civilization will collapse, believe me.

Musk isn’t the only billionaire worried about growth.

He met with Alibaba founder Jack Ma at the 2019 World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China to discuss the matter.

“The population issue is going to be a huge challenge,” Ma said. . And… the rate of population decline will accelerate. You called it a “collapse”… I agree with you.

China has imposed decades of birth restrictions on its population to reverse a deadly famine. But the “one child, one family” policy has been lifted, and families are not suddenly having more children.

And it’s a scenario that worries Musk.

“We don’t necessarily need to grow dramatically,” he says, “but at least don’t gradually shrink until civilization ends with us all in adult diapers, in a groan.”

Musk’s concern is that there won’t be enough consumers and taxpayers to support the global economy in its current form. This is a fear shared by Beijing. But her attempts to encourage young women to have babies have so far failed.

“Most people can’t afford a large family”

Some say it’s because population decline isn’t just about giving women a choice.

It’s also a matter of family economics – not billionaire economics.

Even those who can afford a home often cannot afford one suitable for raising children. And that also applies to rentals.

Trends away from full-time employment towards a “work economy” – where there are no guarantees of continued work – mean that more and more employees are still worried about the next paycheck. pay.

And children, like homes, are an investment for life.

“Elon Musk’s extreme wealth and gender make it easy for him to have many children, but most people who choose their family size don’t have the means or the desire to have a large one.” , Olivia Nater from Population Matters said.

“He seems blind to the fact that shrinking family size is a result of empowering women, allowing them to pursue education and careers instead of being chained to the home,” she says.

Stress is also endemic. The myriad pressures of modern life are taking their toll. We have a lot less sex than before.

It seems couples just aren’t in the mood after long hours chasing company productivity goals. And those expectations are set by people like Musk.

Understand the numbers

Musk points out that the average woman needs to have 2.1 children to reach population replacement rates. Instead, the United States recently produced about 1.8 children per woman. That’s almost half the fertility rate of the 1950s.

But its population continues to grow. It takes a lifetime for demographic dynamics to change.

The world Bank says the world’s birth rate has dropped since 1960 to a current level of 2.4.

But this does not mean that the world’s population has stopped growing.

“Musk has to take his own advice and look at the numbers,” Olivia Nater from Population Matters said. “Although the rate of population growth has decreased, we are still adding around 80 million people – about the size of Germany’s population – to our ranks every year.”

The United Nations aims to stabilize the world population at around 11 billion. But chances are that won’t happen until well after the end of the century.

“While a few countries now have populations in natural decline, including Japan and parts of Eastern Europe, this is more than offset by rapid growth in other regions,” Nater adds.

Projections that the world population will reach 10 billion people are already raising concerns about how we will feed so many people. Not to mention the impact on the environment.

“The fact is that almost 8 billion people on Earth and the growth is extremely unsustainable – with overconsumption in rich countries (especially by billionaires) it’s driving all of our current environmental crises, from global warming to resource depletion at the sixth mass extinction,” says Nater.

Musk rejects such arguments.

“The environment will be fine even if we double the size of humans,” he insists. “I know a lot about the environment, so we can’t let civilization come to naught.”

But he did not specify which “environmental things” would reverse climate change and dramatically increase sustainable food and water production.

Is Musk really part of the problem?

Musk told the Wall Street Journal rally that he was trying to “set a good example” in work and family life: “I have to practice what I preach.”

Thus long working hours (strongly promoted). And seven children.

But he is not ready to accept that he could be part of the problem.

Where birth rates have fallen, reversing the trend has proven stubbornly difficult. Countries have tried financial incentives, improving maternity leave and free childcare. Debates rage about work-life balance and emotional and economic stress.

None of these topics are likely to find favor with Musk.

After all, he tried to avoid closing his factories at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. And he has already said that a post-pandemic recession would be a “good thing”.

“All the Covid stuff at home has got people thinking you don’t really need to work hard,” he tweeted. “Rough awakening incoming!”

This week, he ordered all 110,000 Tesla and SpaceX employees to return to the office — or quit.

“Anyone who wants to do remote work must be in the office for a minimum (and I mean *minimum*) 40 hours a week or leave,” he said in a memo. “If you don’t show up, we’ll assume you quit.”

Musk is not a name associated with an environment conducive to happy, relaxed and economically stable workers. But it is a state that many couples desire before becoming “in family”.

Critics say his only priorities are Twitter, Tesla, SpaceX – and Mars.

Musk once said that if there aren’t enough people on Earth, “then there definitely won’t be enough for Mars.”

“Population collapse is a much bigger problem than people realize, and it only affects Earth. Mars is in dire need of people, as the population is currently zero,” he said. tweeted.

Nater says it is not in Elon Musk’s interest to tackle the real issues of falling birth rates.

“Musk and his fellow space baron, billionaire Jeff Bezos, are so invested in capitalist consumerism and seemingly obsessed with the future of dystopian sci-fi that they see this planet as another resource to be exploited to the fullest. before moving on to the others,” she said.

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