What’s with all of the panic news stories about declining birth rates and declining fertility? Isn’t this actually a good thing due to overpopulation, famine, etc?

What’s with all of the panic news stories about declining birth rates and declining fertility? Isn’t this actually a good thing due to overpopulation, famine, etc?


Government funded pensions are something that tons of American cities are on the brink of total financial collapse because of. For decades their politicians raided the funds set aside for the future because they thought their city would continue to grow and it would be easy to pay off later. That is just one small example of how modern developed economies are going to be hit hard if they don't keep growing, which relies on population growing as well.


Japan is a good example of this as well. > Japan's population will more than halve, from a peak of 128 million in 2017 to less than 53 million by the end of the century, the researchers behind the new Lancet study predict. > Japan already has the world's oldest population and the highest rate of people over the age of 100. > This has put strain on the country's workforce and the problem is only expected to worsen. Adding an answer from a previous thread. > People are an input into the economy, just like oil or farm land or machines. As a general rule, the more people you have, the more you can produce. So, on a surface level, a shrinking population is bad for an economy in the same way that a dwindling oil supply or lack of capital is bad. > Unlike most of those things, people also create demand, not just supply. So fewer people can also mean that people aren't out there looking to buy new stuff---especially land and houses. which can also upset the economy quite a bit. > On top of that, shrinking populations also usually mean aging populations. As people get older they tend to go from being net producers to net consumers, especially when health deteriorates. This can force a country to make hard choices about how, and how much, to support an older population that increasingly can't support itself. This is made worse by the fact that some jobs simply aren't suited to older people (There are very few 80 year old coal miners, or 70 year old ER nurses, and even when people are only 40 or so they may find that family and health makes it hard to work the kind of job or hours they could have worked when they were 50.)


Who's going to be richer (other things being equal): the only child who inherits his parents' estate, or any one of the four kids who inherit their parents' estate between them. Answer: the only child who inherits from his only child parents who both inherit all their parents estate. Going to be a serious concentration of wealth in Japan at some point.


Yes, I predict Japan is going to age into an economic niche as more or less the Switzerland of the East: * A bit of secretive, nepotistic, very high tech precision manufacturing that no one else knows how to do * A ridiculously wealthy and small population of pure blooded locals, who are pretty much all jetsetters, and are as spoiled and arrogant as the locals in the wealthy Arab counties today. * A reputation as a safe place to stash money, and so most of its GDP generated by being a tax haven for wealthy Chinese and southeast Asians * Most of its residential real estate owned as second homes, both for status and leisure as well as an investment, for wealthy Chinese, who make up >50% of the resident population at any given time. * I imagine the Japanese government eventually offering a non-working long term resident visa that can be essentially bought for billions of yen, for foreigners (mostly Chinese) who want to live off their wealth in Japan, kind of like how Switzerland, Bahrain, and the Cayman Islands offer today. * Citizenship still nearly impossible to get without inheriting it. This creates a “creole caste” of people of mixed foreign (mostly Chinese) and Japanese ancestry, who are snubbed as dirty mongrels by the ever smaller but ever more powerful and wealthy pure-blooded local population, as has always been the case. But these creole people in turn lord their possession of *some* Japanese heritage, and more strategically importantly, full-fledged Japanese citizenship, over the pure blooded foreign residents. Their culture is a vibrant and cosmopolitan one, but highly insecure.


I’d would note that that only holds true if people actually have money to pass on. Though Japan is a *heck* of a lot better in that regard than the US is.


On a very superficial level though, it reminds me of how wages in Europe went way up after the Black Death. Since birth rates are declining organically, maybe this will force employers to value their workers more.


That's a very, very big "maybe."


Yes in russia the opposite happened. Feudal lords just took all the lands of the dead or weakened peasants, so they got even more powerful and worsened the situation for the peasants.


Are we talking about early modern age or the 1990s?


? During the black death in the middle ages


Same thing happened after Yeltsin's coup.


One can hope. 🤞


I hope instead worker value will go up without needing something like declining birth rates and the elderly not being supported


There weren't robots back then.


Yeah companies will try to automate as much as possible to save money.


then they run into the problem of customers no longer have money to buy their shit, which is their ultimate death.


Which is why in the long run companies will be very pro-UBI and lobby to raise taxes on other corporations (besides themselves)


assuming they do not all suicide as the rulers are all short term money addicts.


It's almost as if in the long run capitalism is unsustainable.


even the guy who made it tried to restrict it more than it is but nobody listened.


lol as with most things. It seems good on paper and usually starts off okay, but all things live and die and we probably need to start thinking about transitioning to a new system of some kind. What it will be I dont know, but it wont be a currently defined "ism", it needs to be something new to address many of our modern complex problems.


it would be of help if we knew our basic goals and our problems.


I can't think of _any_ system that has ever existed in the entire history of mankind that was incapable of being perverted by people with a desire for more. It doesn't matter how you start, what your goals are, or who you pick to run things. Give it enough time, and people will figure out how to corrupt the system and twist it for their own gain at the expense of everyone else. Some systems _start_ there. Some systems end up with countless dead as a feature, not a bug. So in a lot of ways, the problem isn't capitalism. It's not a horribly _bad_ idea, and it has some upsides compared to other systems that we have tried. The problem is that _any_ system without sufficient controls will lead to fairly similar, bad, outcomes. And with enough time, the people with a vested interest in _breaking_ a system and rendering it corrupt for their own goals will succeed. And sadly, at least in the US, they _have_ succeeded. At multiple levels.


I propose a hybrid system. UBI at basic rate pegged to average of cost-controlled/regulated necessities. Government-issued container/dome houses in the middle-of-nowhere with solar/wind and satellite/5g/whatever. fuck states or provinces. just national governments or a world government. With enough automation, everybody can live fairly, for free, at a basic and comfortable level. if they want anything beyond that, they can go learn a skill not easily automated.


Then comes the point when money doesn't mean shit and the best you can do is light a fire, or wipe your ass with it.


Strife increases problem solving. The black death did more than kill off excess/necessary labor; it disrupted a socio-economic system dependent on that supply. Similar effects to post WW1 in British economy; entire village's worth of men killed due to the way platoons were organized, lead to whole economic sectors depleted (like, say, the entire extended staff of a country manorial estate). The cost of replacing said labor disrupted the delicate labor demand, causing social upheaval and collapse of an entire economic model. The thing is we live with the long-term benefits of that attrition and disordering...it's a whole other experience to be living through it. Imagine if the next great (god forbid) depression wracks our global economy and puts generations into economic uncertainty and deprivation...but someone says, "well, in 100 years your descendants will have a much higher quality of life!" Small comfort...


I doubt it very much. Automation will be the next big thing, and that will kill lots of jobs. Why pay someone even $20k, every year forever when you can purchase a machine to do the same worker for 30 years for $125k? The extra "value" is created by automation will of course go mostly to the 1 percent, not be spread evenly throughout society and all classes. Instead of 6 jobs making $50k a year each producing widgets, one guy will watch 6 machines produce widgets and they'll pay that one guy $35k a year instead. Maybe his job is a little easier than making widgets all day, but he's making less money and 5 other guys have no job here now. Widget Co. still makes the same money and probably way more profit with the reduced labour, especially once the "Widget Maker 6000s" are all payed off using the saved labour dollars after 7 or 8 years given a life cycle of say 30 years.


Like others have said though. You're assuming people will still have money to buy from Widget Co. If you take jobs away from Clive, Joe, and Terrence. They now dont have money to pay for burgers at Burger Co. which affects the profits of Burger Co. who might now have to fire workers or automate more. etc etc down the chain. It's like a jenga tower, as you pull blocks out the tower gets unstable until it collapses. You could argue people could go into STEM But then again your assuming the demand will be there, and that people have the mental fortitude and financial capacity to get re-educated and take on those jobs. To say we're in a pickle is putting it lightly....


STEM won't save us either. I have several engineer friends across various ages and industries. The oldest remember when, only 20 years ago, their department was 11 people. Now it's 3 and they turn out more work than they did with a large team. The younger ones are used to doing all their drafting, taking calls from clients, essentially everything but sales, and they say that with software improvements (admittedly with a bit of hyperbole) at this point they're mostly there to sign off on plans and act as a human check for liability coverage.


Ok but with one guy making 30k and everyone else unemployed who is paying Widget Co. for widgets? Automation will kill jobs is like saying agriculture killed the jobs of hunters. Shit will get cheaper, and they will pay people enough to consume those cheaper goods.


Not to mention that machines don't just appear out of thin air. People have to make those, including the software, maintenance, back of house jobs, etc. Jobs will likely continue to become more technical. EDIT: I feel like everyone is over-estimating how fast humans will transition to more automation and job loss/change. I feel like everyone is influenced by the headlines you see on technology advancement or the changes in their own jobs, etc. Has everyone forgot about how resistant to change humans are and how difficult it is to get the masses to coordinate? It is also likely that we don't even know what new jobs there will be in the future.


As a robotics engineer, this is an important but flawed reasoning. When an assembly line employing 100 people gets automated, reducing it down to 10 people, for that VERY first time, yeah you might be in a situation where 90 jobs were created to manufacture the automated tools. Unlikely that it's so nice, but we'll assume it is. But what about the next factory that gets automated? The business that creates the robots doesn't need to hire anybody new. Their first customer doesn't need to keep buying robots, they were effectively a one-off customer. So the second factory that buys the robots will again lose 90 jobs but no new jobs will be created by the company making the robots. In theory you'd think that the demand for the automated equipment would be high enough that it would make sense for the robot company to just keep expanding production to meet an ever expanding need for robots and everything nicely meets in the middle. But it doesn't work that way. On the scale of nations, brand new factories are somewhat a rarity relative to the size of the economy and companies only sloowwwly take the plunge in replacing a manned factory with an automated one. In short, the rate at which automation companies produce automated machine tools is pretty steady state and is sufficient to meet the actual demand for those tools. Plus, a great deal of the "new" jobs require lower skills than previous ones. An assembly line for a car may require an extremely skilled welder. Replace him with an automated welder, and you only need an unskilled laborer to shove a broken piece off the line if something broke along the way, not to mention that maintaining robots is actually ridiculously easy most of the time. Here's another example. Right now there are ~2 MILLION truck drivers in the US. Once we start automating big rigs those jobs are going to burn FAST. It'll start with the long haul routes, and as the vehicle companies get better and better they'll start to come out with trucks that have a stored/networked robotic forklift to handle the local loading/unloading at destinations. The truck manufacturers are damn sure not generating 2 million jobs when they spool up some assembly lines for those parts. Furthermore, there will be secondary effects in the job market as well. Truck depots and servicing stations will grow increasingly automated (it'll start as simple as an automated gas filling station and get more complex from there). Without living truck drivers that need to eat and sleep at such stations, a lot of the service workers there will no longer be necessary.


Excellent reply! You've reminded me of a conversation I was having with my wife and some friends. Give it ten (maybe five) years once the autopilot cars become more mainstream, and taxi and Uber driving jobs will disappear. And it'll be quick, too. Just a taxi rank of electric-powered automated cars waiting for passengers. Get in, give your destination, pay your money and off you go. These taxi ranks will also be configured to recharge the vehicles , so apart from a mechanic checking over the vehicles once a week for maintenance & safety, these vehicles can be available for work 24/7. Easy way for the taxi company to make money. And you can bet your life savings that Uber are already all over this and waiting for the cost to drop to a point where it's commercially viable to launch.


I've worked extensively with automation as an engineer as well and now make economic decisions for a large corporation using those principles. I firmly believe that automation will be regressive to innovation because the capital costs of the initial fitout is so incredibly high. When a company automates a seat track line so it only needs one employee instead of ten, the payback is about 4 or 5 years. At the end of those 4 or 5 years, they aren't going to build a brand new line, they have to now earn a premium on that outlay half a decade ago. We are already seeing this happen with car models now lasting a decade with slight refreshes every other year rather than an overhaul every four. It also creates an incredible competitive moat. If someone has spent a million dollars on an automated process, no smaller competitors dare to compete because they do not have the scale to achieve that cost efficiency. This essentially creates mini-monopolies. This has already happened to tool and die shops being bought out by hedgefunds. Its almost impossible to start a new mold shop due to all the equipment requirements to be competitive. Fifty years ago you just needed a mill, a lathe, and extreme skills.


> Give it ten (maybe five) years once the autopilot cars become more mainstream, and taxi and Uber driving jobs will disappear. And it'll be quick, too. Trucking will also be gone. As someone else mentioned, food delivery will be gone as well. Then you have to factor in that warehouse and other logistical centers are heavily being automated right now. Massive changes are coming to our economy before people realize and it's not going to end well for most folks.


Oh it'll extend far beyond that with enough time! Imagine using a self driving 4 door sedan as your base and replace all the internal spaces with the equipment for an automated kitchen system. You order delivery Dominos? The pizza will start cooking as the car redirects to head in your direction. I'm glad you liked my comment! Thanks! :D


Being a software coder will eventually become the new blue-collar job.


Programmers spend all day figuring out ways to automate their own jobs. Coding will not save anyone in the future.


There are pensioners in Japan that commit petty crimes so they can go to jail to be looked after!


Perhaps this points to a fundamental problem with our economic structure, then? An "economy" that depends on infinite growth isn't an economy at all. That's not economizing; a true economy would exhibit the property of ephemeralization, doing more and more with less and less.


Looks like it is time for CEOs to share their wealth.


Thankyou for answering the question. But I think Is still like the population to shrink.


University of California has a pension for all of their fulltime employees. They raided it in the 90s to fund a bunch of new buildings and I think a few new campuses. Now there's multiple tiers of pension plans, the one from the 70s kicks ass. The new, revised ones require more years of service, lower returns, less payout for spouses, etc etc. They didn't replace the funds, just cut benefits out of it. Kinda bullshit for one of the biggest employers of California.


It's happening in the federal government too. Im a Tier 3 i think and it sucks


I just had a talk with my buddy about how our economy depends on never ending growth of population, workers, and consumers, but our world can’t sustain never ending growth, so the whole system is doomed to collapse at some point right?


> For decades their politicians raided the funds set aside for the future because they thought their city would continue to grow and it would be easy to pay off later. Isn't that what a Ponzi scheme is? Take money from investors to pay off other investors?


It's kind of a blend of Pyramid and Ponzi.


And those types of schemes are illegal. So will the politicans who treated these like giant schemes get punished under the actual laws? Probably not as I suspect there are loopholes calling it not actually Pryamid/ponzi. Even if there wasn't there are also likely immunity clauses to protect them if they were acting with the city/province/countries best interest at heart.


Not all of them, many companies follow a piramid shape, it's not illegal, ponzi schemes are illegal, it's illegal if 70-80% of it's money is recruitment or entry money and 20-30% is sales, the other way around ad it's legal.


"no no no, it's not a pyramid scheme, it's more a reverse funnel system"


I'm not familiar, what is a Ponzi scheme?


A ponzi scheme is a type of illegal scam that pretends to be a normal investment but doesnt make any money investing, instead the scam artists uses the money personally and pays off people cashing out with money from new investors, as long as he attracts new investors the scam can continue for years on end. The technical difference between this and what governments do is that they arent hiding it, and they are making their public schemes to force whoever pays taxes in X number of years to pay pensions to whoever votes for them next election through a democratic process.


A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.


This is very true and on top of that i think millenials and gen z are pending to making plans of not having children. This has something to do with the aftermatch of the boomers being raised with such good life conditions that at this point this "luck" has run out and affording a family is almost impossible, if not a bit cruel (considering most young people are deciding to not have kids because they think their kids won't have a good life).


millennial here. I always wanted kids. when people would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, more than I ever wanted any specific career, I just wanted to be a mom. ... I can't justify bringing kids into this world. ... and that's assuming we'll ever be able to afford to anyway, which we probably won't.


Millennial here also. Wanted kids but cant afford them and how could we bring a child into a life that looks like it will be even worse than mine. I think it used to be you could have kids and budget and then THEY can have more money and budget and then THEIR kids would do better. I dont see that happening in 2021.


Same. No way in hell I could have a kid and leave him or her all alone while mom and dad work


Yep. I don't want to have kids unless I can give them what my parents gave me (stay at home parent & college paid for if they decide to go) and realistically my husband and I cannot afford that without sacrificing everything else we enjoy in life (travel, hobbies, etc). If we win the lottery we'll have kids but since we don't play that's very unlikely haha. Fortunately several of my siblings want kids so I can be that cool aunt who spoils the heck outta them.


Being the cool aunt that spoils kids is my ultimate goal and i can't wait for my friends and brother to have kids, but having them myself, i don't think so.


We are technically in a great position to have kids, but have no desire to have them. We are college educated dinks, with a large home. I have never wanted kids, but my wife kinda thought about it. To her, the thought of having a kid that will have to deal with the future is absolutely terrible.


It has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with Boomers squandering away the advantages passed to them in a post Bretton Woods world reinforced by the establishment of the petro-dollar. It isn’t hard to make a living when you become the worlds defacto central bank and you have tons of undeveloped land. But you have to be a greedy asshole to not think about how to maintain those advantages for future generations.


The real way to think of a pension is a Ponzi scheme. The young always pay for the old not the old pay for themselves as they age. That’s why you have “ 401” retirement savings. Because in the end the “ pension “system isn’t sustainable unless you have an always growing population to replace the previous ones. Even though yes the politicians have raided those said funds to pay for the monuments to there own glory always in the hope of that infinite growth that doesn’t exist anymore.


They've been adjusting pensions to have investments to generate wealth. AFAIK the initial formation was like you said and I can't understand how anyone thought that was a good idea. Still don't understand why people think pensions are amazing. Some even require 10 years working periods to be vested. Literally unable to change professions unless you want to dump retirement savings.


> Still don't understand why people think pensions are amazing. Yeah, just go back to the old way where old ppl who couldn't work where just set adrift on a snow bank... ... On a more serious note, would americans go back to multigen homes where the kids sustain their parents in their old age?


I don't think kids will have a choice with how the world is set up at the moment


I would vote for a Soylent green / logans run based society.


It's funny how politicians thought they could borrow from the future; They never considered the strain they were putting on future generations could lead to them simply not having time or money for children.




Oh they know they just don't care because by the time the consequences hit the country, they will be long gone from office, retired with their own privately set aside fortune. Its not their problem, its the problem of the suckers that will just so happen to be in office at the time this hits... they will be the onest who have to fix it, they will have to make a lot of hard decisions that people won't like only for the next party to use the "shitty times" as an excuse to fling mud at them "do you see how bad things got when they were elected? Pick us instead!" Its the same old story everytime, seen it happen all the time.


So basically an economy based on limitless growth


Maybe the real Ponzi scheme was the pensions we made along the way


This is the absolute major issue that will impact most people. Our whole economic model is based on constant growth. As soon as that ceases, some VERY tough choices are going to be made, or there will be war...maybe both. In the US, social security was established by having the current workers pay in, and the government immediately turning around and giving that money to current retirees. If the worker group shrinks, the retirees cannot get paid or get paid less. If there is continued decrease, the retirees will constantly get less and less.


It looks like the current path being pursued is to pay out every penny promised to retirees, and creating so much inflation that the burden this places on the economy isn't too much to bear.


(While wages stagnate, still killing the economy)


Its good for the planet, its not good for economies with an aging population, declining workforce and increased old and infirm people


I’d imagine a declining workforce would be a good thing when the workforce is also shrinking due to automation, AI, etc


There are loads of jobs that require people still and always will, also its the workforce that pays taxes to keep thr country going.


The way the tax system works now is completely unsustainable though so by the time push comes to shove with less people in the workforce there will need to be major changes in how the government funds itself.


Haha, yeah it’s true what you say, but I laugh because you assume governments will act in time to make appropriate tax system changes, or that they/you know what changes would appropriately fix it. The world is not so black and white, and systems move with a lot of momentum and lag.


I have absolutely no faith that necessary changes will be made lol


They'll be made, just too little too late while the rich kick and scream about how we keep calling the stock pile that they call luxury our necessities.


We're pretty okay at fast change, but only once required. I mean, we bitch and moan, but things have actually changed A LOT since covid hit, and that wasn't all that long ago. If we see unemployment rates hit a certain point, or the economy starts to fall apart, we'll have no choice. Change is a coming, and it almost always is.


With fewer ppl taxes that go towards public work go down with the cost of maintaining. There will be roads that are no longer used and parts of cities that will be abandoned like Detroit. As far as jobs go, labor shortages can be solved with immigration policies. When parts of the world literally don’t have water and other parts don’t have people to clean kitchens it’s a bit ridiculous that we can’t work something out isn’t it?


Easy. More taxes ^(for the rich)


When a job is automated, tax the company yearly based on what income tax would have been collected off of humans doing those jobs. Either we get the tax money back through that or the company hires back employees.


Doesn’t that incentivize pushing wages down? 1. Fire Tim, who made 60k/year with the “intention” of automating. 2. Instead of automating, hire Jim at 45k/year, who takes the job because everyone is automating and Jim is just happy to have found an offer. 3. Company get PR points for hiring people during a mass industry automation. Simplified obviously, but that’s my first thought.


If jobs are taken by automation then either we already have universal income or the country is suffering with crippling poverty. lol I don't know how they plan on implementing universal income, whether you can work and top it up or you only get it if you're out of work. If the latter than there will barely be any demand for minimum wage jobs..


>I don't know how they plan on implementing universal income, whether you can work and top it up or you only get it if you're out of work. If not everyone gets it, it's not universal income. Universal means "applying to everyone".


Well... that makes sense lol, thanks


I think option B (crippling poverty) is the most probable outcome.


It's what we have now and it seems to be working out perfectly for people at the top!


what incentivizes companies to raise wages? as we have seen from recent stories not a employee shortage


Not an argument against what you're saying, but automation would usually be cheaper than employees. Automation doesn't need a wage and health insurance.


Prices arent going to magically drop on things where automation takes over, the profit margin will just be bigger, so the companies making more money need to fit more of the tax bill


Financial systems are not my strong point, so without trying to explain this myself and failing miserably, maybe you should look up how retirement and pensions work?


But then the billionaires might be ever so slightly less fabulously wealthy if they have to make slightly less profit. They'd only have enough money to spend in 99 lifetimes instead of 100.


if people are not reproducing on purpose than that's good, but if people are Not able to reproduce for biological problems (on major scale), isn't kind of threat to this specie....like slowly will go extinct.


That and it's also sort of showing that our general health may be declining. Obviously there are a ton of factors to sexual health and someone who is sick can still produce children and someone who is very healthy may not be able to, but in general the more "unhealthy" one is, the harder it is to produce offspring. Smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, stress, poor diet and a bunch of other things can attribute to that.


The majoirty of people now have a diet of a lot; if not a majority of **Processed Foods** which is proven to reduce fertility.


Even though I want children and to start a family, I know it's most not likely going to happen. The cost of living is ridiculous these days, while wages are staying the same. I can barely get ahead with just myself to worry about. I can't imagine how more difficult it would be with children entered into the equation.


My husband and I were ready to have another child. I stopped my birth control for one month. Then I started to look at a larger vehicle and realized there were no good deals on newer used suvs/vans. Then I had a panic attack due to the fact that we will instantly gain an extra $800 a month bill when our next child is born. My husband will get a $7 raise in December that we have been looking for and it will be instantly gone. We just paid off both of our vehicle and are paying off debts. If we have another kid we are taking a huge financial step back. My birth control is being delivered tomorrow.


Huge props to you for actually thinking it through. The world would be a much better place if more people thought through decisions like this


I agree, honestly i don't understand how so many people get pregnant "accidentally" these days


Imagine if your parents don't want to explain the birds and the bees, and your school teaches abstinence-only sex ed. Some states don't want consequence-free sex.


Or how many people describe an "accident" as having unprotected sex while not wanting a child. Like... you either plan to not have a baby by taking precautions, or you're planning on having a baby. You don't close your eyes while driving and call hitting someone an "Accident" - legally, it's reckless negligence. Not enough people look at birth control in a similar light. You are either all the way 100% planning on NOT having a baby, or you're planning on having a baby. There are no other buckets.


My 28yr old cousin was shocked she was pregnant because "sure we weren't using any protection, but we weren't TRYING to get pregnant!" Biology doesn't give a shit if you were trying or not! How do people not know this!


It’s not that hard, really. A forgotten pill or 2, a broken condom, a fallen-out nuva ring


See if i forgot to take my pill, i wouldnt have sex, if a condom broke id get the morning after pill and the nuva ring is effective for 4 hours after removal so if it falls out it shouldnt be a problem. I understand theres always going to be a small percent of people who genuinely get pregnant accidentally through no fault of their own, but it is not most situations, my cousin "accidentally" got pregnant 5 times


As an anecdotal example, I had a Paraguard IUD in place and still got pregnant. There’s only so much prevention you can do when there’s always a small chance it won’t work. Not to mention younger women who don’t have access to birth control reliably due to finances/religion


In these cases, accidentally means "didn't care" enough to explicitly prevent. When I forget to take my pill I use a condom, if the condom breaks I use the morning after because I care. When my ex-friend forgot her pill she often had sex afterward (without backup protection), cause it would "probably be fine". It led to a lot of anxiety for her even though she hadn't gotten pregnant by the time we stopped speaking. She also got like several stds from other irresponsible sex decisions so ¯\\\_(ツ)\_/¯


I dont get how people can not care, the idea of pregnancy terrifies me!


There are more idiots out there than you think. The amount of people who I’ve talked to who don’t seem to take contraception seriously. Everyone knows someone someone who ‘missed’ a pill, they know they didn’t take it but didn’t bother getting the morning after pill.


Where does that number, $800/ month come from? Is that labor and delivery payments or...formula and diapers? That's so much!


I paid $1600 a month for childcare


And this right here is the problem with a lot of countries isn't it? Thinking, intelligent populations who can similarly raise thinking, intelligent children are not having children while the dumbfucs have kids and worry about the other stuff later.


That’s basically the plot of Idiocracy and yeah it’s scary how realistic that movie is becoming


My wife and had were looking at the sheer financial impact before we had a baby boy. We were terrified how much a child would impact our debt to income ratio. But, if being a parent is something you've always wanted to do, it is easily the best thing that has happened to the both of us. The child being an "expensive bill" is the easiest bill to pay at the end of the month. Either way, best of luck being kid-free or money-free (lol) EDIT: Just reread and saw that you said "another kid". Welp, never mind what I just said! Ones enough!


It cost me about $18k just to have a baby, plus $19k for childcare a year. I had a surprise pregnancy and even at 35 I wasn’t financially ready to have a baby. My MIL only had a “$5 phone bill” from the hospital when she had my husband. -$5,000 medical bills from prenatal drs visits, genetic testing and care that my insurance company wouldn’t cover because I was high risk (only because I was 35, geriatric) -$8,000 hospital bill for the normal, run-of-the-mill vaginal birth -$1000 hospital bill for my healthy daughter for her “hospital stay” after birth -$1600 in insurance premiums because my employer wasn’t required to pay for my insurance while I was on maternity leave -9 weeks of lost wages for unpaid leave. I did get 6 weeks at 60% pay from disability insurance. -when I went back to work after 9 weeks because that was all I could afford, the best option for childcare I could find was $1600 a month, more than my mortgage payment and it ate into my savings every month. We just moved to be closer to family to help with childcare because we couldn’t afford to pay that until my toddler goes to kindergarten. Note: because my employer has fewer than 50 employees they don’t have to follow FMLA and could have replaced me.


Well that and any child born today *will* be fighting in a resource war.


No we've got another 5-10 years. The kids born today will be in there 30s when the resource wars start in 2051. Kids born in the 20's-30's will be of fighting age, and kids born at the beginning of the resource wars will be the ones on the ground when the bombs drop on October 23rd, 2077.


War, war never changes.


The resource wars have already started. Yemen is a water war.


remindme! 76 years


What year do you think it is right now???


*what day is it? the date? WHAT YEAR?*


Please. The oceans are on the brink and all it takes is one more glacier to melt and uncork the bottle.


I think one of the reasons birth rate are declining, is because having a child is just too damn expensive. We can barely keep afloat, let alone having a child.


Very much this. Most people I know in their early 20s or 30s simply want kids but know they can not afford them so its not wise. They remember what it was like growing up in poverty and they don't want that for their children, so are holding off on it. But the money simply isn't there because the older folks in jobs that actually pay decent money to not be in poverty or low income are held for longer than they used to be. Since you can no longer live off of a retirement plan or pension for as long as you used to be able to. Its all these other factors that are declining the birth rates. Its like, a big nuanced thing but people don't want to address all the nuances causing it. (Not to mention as OP said a smaller population is better for the planet long term which we should care about)


Paradoxically, poor people/nations tend to have higher birthrate than rich.


Has to do with culture, lifestyle and also child mortality rates. Humans used to have more children when there were higher rates of miscarriages, complications in childbirth, etc. Medical technology has made it the safest it's ever been to conceive, for mother and child so far. Ofcourse, that technology is usually in richer nations. Also, if you're from a poorer country and are a farmer, having more hands to help around the property is a big plus. (Speaking from a southeast asian culture perspective.) Sex education is a big one too, as is access to contraceptives. Poor people don't really have easy access to those either.


It's almost entirely due to access to birth control. Soon as it hits a market freely and openly birthrate decline. Poor countries aren't any different in that they don't want kids, but really like having sex.


True, but before the industrial revolution people would commonly have 5+ kids and a lot of them would die, so the population was mostly stable. Afterwards, the baby boom happened because all the kids were living, and now it’s starting to flatten a bit because of common access to contraceptives/education. Third-world countries, like many areas in Africa, don’t have access to contraceptives (like you said) but they also don’t have as good of medical care, making infant mortality more likely and so they have more kids to make sure they don’t all die. Also a labor benefit there but people (hopefully) don’t have kids just for labor.


Educating women is the number one biggest driver for lowering birth rates. A women who spent four years getting a degree or even just got through a high school equivalent isn’t going to want to spend the next twenty five years pregnant or taking care of children at all times.




This is all true, but having had similar conversations with immigrant friends, the more often touted reason is that families in developing nations are more likely to be self employed/working as an entire family unit, so having children is seen as adding more individuals who can support that. This is especially important in countries with no social safety nets, as it is taken as a given that your children will support you when you become too old to work. This used to be the same situation in all developed countries, but once industry took off and more money was being made working outside the family, it made more sense for parents to work to pay for the education of fewer children so they can do skilled labor and support themselves, rather than assuming your children will work for that family’s business. My friend who came from India said this was already happening on a micro-level in his large family, where he and one other sibling were basically chosen to receive higher level education and make money that way while the rest of his siblings were expected to stay with the family and care for them. The modern nuclear family of one or two providers exclusively providing for their children is still pretty new. We still say the phrase “it takes a village,” thinking it just means “it’s hard to raise kids,” when it was always a literal statement about how new generations were raised by large families and tight communities that simply don’t exist like they used to in the developed world.


Your comment really hit me. My parents are upper/middle class, big house, lots of vacations, a cleaning lady and a baby sitter to help with house and kids. I had a burnout during my studies, struggled to be successful financially for a long time and I'm like, why on earth would I add a child to this? Let alone two? I'm already exhausted, and I cannot provide a child anywhere near a reasonable standard of living. I'm 31 and don't have kids. My BF is from Belarus, moved over here when he was 12. Both his parents have decent jobs, but his attitude about planning for kids is pretty much non-existent. He just doesn't worry about it. I once asked him if he'd still want kids if we both lived off minimum wage, and he wholeheartedly said yes. He was happy in a rural village in Belarus under circumstances under which I wouldn't even consider getting pregnant. Our perspectives are so, so different.


Poor people/countries, less money, less education. Rich countries, people that barely makes it the month. Enough, or high education, know that they can't afford kids.


That's been a problem since the 1990s recession. Economists were already saying to "yuppies" to plan then ( of course most people couldn't be arsed, but experts did try to sound the alarm ) that it was neither realistic nor feasible to expect the social system to be perpetuated by people left with short-term service jobs at minimal wages that didn't allow for affording housing or student loans let alone children, since tech jobs and automation would displace even more people by ... well, by around now. They knew. They didn't care, and they're retiring without caring. It's gonna be trainwrecky.


Plus, when you work your employees to the bone they don't really have time to have a life; start a family. They might die, from the stress, before they even get a chance to.


Fertility in men and women is plummeting and it's largely due to 'forever' chemicals and nano-plastics disrupting our endorcrine system. Could be we'll live to see Children of Men.


31F here. I desperately want to be a mother but my ovaries had other plans. I’ve known biological children weren’t going to be an option right after puberty. Sure…there are fertility treatments with no guarantees and I could always foster/adopt. Both of those options are so financially mind boggling. Shitty part is, I’m still trying to dig myself out of the financial hole college put me in. I completely agree with you - the “want” for children isn’t necessarily absent, the ability to afford children is out of the question for some people. Side note…my very sensitive mother told me not to worry about having kids…they just adopted a dog and they have their hands full anyway.


It is the opposite of this. The wealthier people are, the fewer children they have.


Have a kid and move in with my parents or my wife's, or don't and afford my 1 bedroom apartment? 🤔


Seriously. Having kids, in this economy? Pay me more, otherwise how am I supposed to go to the doctor for prenatals and also afford birthing and diapers? That's like a whole year's pay.


Our retirement system is a Ponzi scheme, we need people to keep being born to sustain it


That's more akin to the related Pyramid scheme - you need increasing numbers in many retirement systems.


It’s a reverse funnel system


It's not a pyramid! It's the opposite of a pyramid.. it's a dimaryp!!!


This! It is the biggest scam ever pulled off by our government and it needs to stop.


I mean, retirement isn't really an issue. The problem arises when we plan for 5 years of retirement but then a plurality of people live for 20. When we set the retirement age at 65 life expectancy was around 70, now it's closing in on 80.


People are living too long, i used to work in retirement homes and honestly the last 20 years of a lot of peoples lives are miserable and lonely and painful, modern medicine keeps people alive just to suffer


But hey, at least life expectancy going down because the US healthcare system is hot garbage.


Do these kind of news stories convince anyone to have kids?


Makes me want to have kids even less


I wouldn’t wanna bring one into the world of my own accord, mainly because family health issues I wouldn’t wanna pass on, also because I hate being sick so I can’t imagine being pregnant, but I’ll probably adopt one day when I’m ready. Why create a new life and pass on hereditary issues, when I could adopt a child already out there that could benefit from a loving family. This is not to say that I wouldn’t accept any child with any sort of background. I just can’t justify creating them myself, I’d feel so guilty about almost purposefully inflicting it on another human? Idk I think I have a whole complex about it. Sorry for the ramble.


It's a good rant I feel similarly


Hey this is exactly my thoughts too!!


It’s a problem the rich need to fix. They need to give us a breather.


Even before this story broke, human reproductive success is relatively poor compared to other animals, apparently 1 in every 10 people (globally) has a mild form of infertility. Some causes of infertility are easy to fix, but the causes alluded to in the recent shift are much more recalcitrant. Hopefully with advances in genomics and other fields we'll either be able to find a work around or fix the problem at the source. Another possible solution would be to make it so that people live longer, so that a sub par reproductive rate is not as deleterious to our species.


You taught me the word recalcitrant today. Thanks!


There is enough food, it's just not distributed properly to give it to everyone.


Exactly, most of the food we make gets tossed in the trash for the sake of "profit."


There is enough money and resources generally, but like pollution we have been convinced this is an "us problem" That isn't to say people shouldn't continue to not litter and clean up after themselves, it's that we are all getting sacked by a relative few people but believe it's our own fault


That’s exactly what I think when I see those articles.


No good for consumerism if we start to run low on consumers! Much more difficult to make money! And thats all that matters!


So the problem is two fold. People are getting older (like for 20+ years past previous life expectancies from only a 100 years ago). And there isn’t a workforce available to replace the aging population with the declining birth rate. Not sure if you’re familiar with the population pyramid, but basically it’s becoming top heavy and that means that there’s fewer young people taking care of more old people. Remember there still needs to be someone to feed the old, care for them, house them etc. Now obviously the population isn’t aging everywhere. But in the countries where it is aging, you also have people who want to keep their country filled with people who look like themselves. So a lot of it is worry that immigrants will take over. Also where the overpopulation and famine is happening is not where the population is decreasing.


The concern is actually in two areas: 1) employers want cheap labor. 2) social security and other pension systems require the young working people’s support. A working population creates more wealth for each other, but declining birth rates are a non-issue. This is especially true in current times, as the burdens being put upon workers is increasing (probably intentionally). Why would people create even more people, when they (accurately) feel mistreated at work?


PSA: there's enough food, water, land, and other resources for every human on the planet, we just distribute it horribly inefficiently.


Yeah but even if we did allocate food, water and land more efficiently, the amount of resources it takes to generate the afforementioned things is still putting a lot of stress on ecosystems around the world. Wild animal populations are in decline and habitat loss is like a runaway train. 8 billion humans is just way too much.


So stop overfishing and burning down rainforests for cattle grazing land.


For that to happen we need to enforce international action; but, for example, in the case of over-fishing, countries are too scared to stand up against, say, China.


It's naive to think humanity would slow down for the sake of nature. Just a matter of time before the planet is geo engineered. To be honest, I think that would be how humanity deals with climate change too. Pretty dystopian but that's usually how it goes.


The problem with most of the "western" media is they are very economic/capitalist oriented. Lesser population simply means lesser workforce in the future, and less people to occupy those mega cities which will start becoming redundant. In many countries (India, Kenya, Indonesia etc) the population is growing at a stable rate. So no, the world population isn't likely to decrease in the coming future. The west is just worried that to fill the population gap they might have to rely on more immigrants maybe, or risk losing their production/importance. I live in a western country btw, and very much welcome the declining birth rate. The Earth simply cannot sustain so many people, and I'm more than happy with immigrants coming here and filling in the gap in the workforce if it means they'll have a better quality of life, and if they want to do so.


Just wanted to mention that it's not purly a problem of "the west". Japan is the prime example of the problematic effects of declining birth rates and China started again promoting having more children. Both nation are so paternalistic that their "solutions" are ridiculous.


China has a huge problem with their population. They are expected to lose hundreds of millions of inhabitants in the upcoming decades. Decades of the One Child Policy has completely crippled their future demographics to a point beyond repair. In several decades the amount of retired people will be equal to the number of people who participate in the workforce and their retirement system will most likely collapse and possibly take the entire economy with it.


no no no... China will just clone people at that point.


But people just don't disappear because we have low fertility rates. As I see it, the problem is aging population. All those old people need someone who will pay them their pensions. Older society also inevitably means more conservative society. Besides, not all countries could rely on immigration.


>The problem with most of the "western" media is they are very economic/capitalist oriented. And for good reason. We won't be able to sustain our welfare states if the economy doesn't grow, among many other problems that'd arise from a severely aging population. I very much like my healthcare and don't want the government to kill it because it can't be sustained any longer. There are good solutions, but they can only serve to mitigate the issue. The only real solution is to increase immigration to replace our workforce, but a lot of people don't like immigrants... for reasons.


The problem is, the onus is now on employers to make new and better jobs for the economy to sustain itself. And that's why there is a "crisis". No one wants to do that, it actually takes work. If you have a steady supply of people, there is nothing forcing you to change the status quo.


Overpopulation isn't an issue; the distribution of wealth is But that's not why there is panic over declining birthrate. The reason there is panic is that there will be less workers and they'll be able to demand a living wage if there isn't high unemployment


It's a VERY good thing. Companies and governments want non-stop revenue growth though, so to them the sky is falling. Can't keep rising home prices if half are unoccupied.




> The world is overpopulated. There’s simply too many people and not enough food, clean water, and other resources for all 8 billion of us. Billions of people are starving, lack clean water, don’t have stable housing, and live in poverty. The assumption here Is that the food supply is finite, and less than the total needed to feed everyone. But that isn’t true. There’s more than enough food for everyone to eat, and the world has the capacity to grow even more. Industrialized countries have policies in place that limit food production, in order to keep food prices high and protect farmers’ livelihoods. And if there were fewer people, then there would be fewer farmers, and therefore less food. The problem, therefore, is the economic system where things happen because they are profitable, not because people need them to. It’s not profitable to feed those people, so they starve. I’ve focused on food, but the arguments apply just as well to water, housing, and other necessities. It is possible to invest in creating or obtaining enough of these necessities to make sure everyone has them. We choose not to.


Came to say this but you said it much better than I ever could.


with cleverly distributed ressources, this planet could be home to many billions more. vertical hydroponics and 3d printed housing on a large scale would solve at least the food and housing needs. ofc not every person on the planet could own a sports car and like 4 holiday houses - but that would be blind greed anyway


Declining birth rates are actually in general a great sign for how well countries are doing. If you take a look, most had a big boom in population when industrialization and all that but then as the death rate drops because that area gets medicine, it takes birth rate a little longer to catch up and also stabilize and eventually start to decline as well. I forget the term but we were just looking into it in my Geography class.


Its just a bunch of old people worried that there wont be enough Young people to take care of them and their social security checks. This is the system they created.


Our economic norm is of always sustaining growth. On that principle people don't save enough retirement as value goes up. It is why we shit the bed everything we hit 3 periods of flat growth or a minor loss. We need reduction in population but the growth model relies in ever increasing people being added as consumers and workers being added; for it to work correctly.


Just the upper class scrambling to ensure the working class remains impoverished despite some of it opting to remain childless, and what is more expensive through life than children? Disregard it and live as you please.


Yeah, I think (but I'm not an economist) that it's really bad economicaly. Yes, We suffer from overpopulation, but afaik it's mainly in certain poorer regions that it's biggest problem. With aging population (so less new workers and more old people), everyone will have to work harder to sustain good life standards for those that retired. Because iirc in some way everyone is working for their retirements wage. Also less people to buy stuff, less stuff gets bought, it may potentially increase costs of living? Not sure of that tho. Again, I'm not an economist, but I recall there is a birthrate norm for countries to be economically sustainable. And it's not big, just more about keeping population stable than actually increasing it.


I've heard several people act like it's the end of the world because some groups aren't procreating at the rate of other groups and due to their elitism beliefs, they find this the death of their culture.


If the amount of ppl from a certain culture is decreasing how does that not mean it's not dying?


Decline and dying aren't the same thing. The Japanese are a good example. Their population is almost certain to rapidly decline in the next 80 years. But their culture and nation is not in any real danger of dying - adequate children are still being born and raised into it.


TL:DR Alot of this is bad framing, rich assholes trying to control narrative, selfishness. >The world is overpopulated. There’s simply too many people and not enough food, clean water, and other resources for all 8 billion of us. This is a lie. People who push this narrative (Bill Gates primarily) are actually saying that there are too many POOR people taking up resources that could be put to better use serving rich people. You must be careful reading articles. The way they are framed is sometimes disingenuous and There is enough for all of us. Selfish assholes is what is keeping some people from getting to the aforementioned food, clean water and other resources. For example: There are enough COVID vax shots here in the US that some are expiring and being thrown away while India is struggling and a few other countries havent even administered 1 fucking dose. On top of that US POTUS Biden wont lift the vaccine patent (would allow India and a few other countries to make generic variants to then give to other countries) because if he does his campaign donors will flip their shit. Turn on the news and look at articles online and you will see the situation being framed in the way you did in the OP. >Billions of people are starving, lack clean water, don’t have stable housing, and live in poverty. This is because the world's elite (read, billionaires, millionaires and politicians) are hoarding resources and swaying politics to keep these things from being a priority. Again see the point further up about COVID vaccines and expand that to a few other situations. >Shouldn’t we be encouraging a smaller population and bringing population numbers down for the sake of our planet and humankind? Doing your best to provide the people that are here with the food, water, health among other things that they need to live is the best thing that you can do for the sake of our planet and humankind. Birthrates can jump or dive to whatever number but if you dont have a way to take care of the people who are here or not here yet then its a irrelevant point. Worrying about birthrates/deathrates are for people who are looking to control others and society. The choice of bringing a child into the world should be down to the people who's bodies are the ones bringing the child into the world not someone worried about "bringing population numbers down" for WHATEVER reason. I will also agree with most of the other comments talking about how retirement system being essentially a Ponzi scheme and how cities raided the pensions of older generations.


It's the Modernized, over developing, resource consuming countries with declining birthrate and ferrility issues. The exploited and under developed 3rd world nations don't have the same problem.


These articles are usually about the economic impact of the current systems in place. A lot of the social net provided to elderly and people otherwise unable to work is provided by the working population. With the current boom of older people and the trend of declining birth rates is alarming to those that care. Overpopulation of the world is much harder to actually figure out. The UN published several different studies conducted in an effort to predict how many people COULD live on Earth. They ranged from 2 Billion to over a trillion. While these are obviously speculation and the number is very likely in the middle somewhere, the reasoning is what to focus on. They take into account for things like; supply chain optimization, wealth redistribution, CO2 emissions, and natural population control through wealth and education. If humans did a better job of distributing things they produce, more people could have more things. This may be a bit consumerism, but stuff makes life easier to live. If humans were better at redistribution of wealth, more people could live healthier and happier lives. Affording clean water, food, housing, healthcare, and even creature comforts make better lives. Distributing all of these resources with current technologies would likely increase CO2 emissions by a significant amount. Even if all costs were covered somehow, the cost to the environment would be bad. In order to ensure a real future for people we would need to keep moving forward into a CO2 emissions free energy producing species. More solar, more wind, large-scale wave farming, increase investment into Nuclear. The fear-mongering of world overpopulation would have you thinking the world would be as dense as Honk Kong or New Delhi. But these are unwarranted. During the industrial revolution, populations around the developed world grew immensely. But as these countries continued to develop, education and wealth slowed population growth. Having access to sex education and birth control gives the population an ability to prevent unwanted pregnancy. While the current developing countries like China and India have huge populations, if they can continue to develop those numbers will come to a more sustainable number. If the worry is about land consumption, making advances in transportation and building smaller and more efficient housing cities wouldn’t need to grow significantly to sustain several billion more people. This long ass answer to say, I support the current trend as reducing the amount of people in the world is a decent way to reduce CO2 emissions in a temporary time while we figure it out. It may also be a good trend as automation is going to make big moves in the next few decades. Most companies already try to operate on as few employees as technically possible, and automation is only going to continue to reduce the number of actual jobs. We are going to have yo start making a lot more office jobs or there are going to be billions of people without jobs in 2121.


This is becoming problematic in China because of their failed "one baby" policy. This has eventually resulted in fewer girls and fewer women of childbirth years, so now after decades of this failed policy they have a situation where there are fewer childbearing adults than there are retirees. They're considering increasing retirement age because of this.


I just wanted to say that it's not that we don't have enough resources for everyone, it's that we don't distribute them properly. There is more than enough food on the planet to feed everyone. There aren't the supply chains in place to get that food to everyone.


it's only bad for hyper capitalists that need an army of slaves competing for low wages...it's good for literally every other aspect of the planet