blindsight ,

Anything that far out is in a post-Singularity future where all bets are off. Real, self-improving AGI will completely change pretty much everything. It's hard to be too worried about a problem with human choices in the 22nd century when the entire incentive structure of our economy will, by necessity, completely change someone in the intervening years.

I'm hopeful for the post-Singularity world. 2100 may be closer to Star Trek's economy than ours today (ignoring the space stuff, of course). I'm not going to hold my breath on this issue. There are many reasons to expect it to fundamentally change before then.

Umbrias ,

In the interest of balance, an ai singularity is far far far from a foregone conclusion, in fact has significant theoretical issues that are largely handwaved away by people wanting you to be scared of singularity or to buy into their ai grift.

blindsight ,

Sure, but in this context I was mostly thinking about how the Singularity will make significant numbers of hours of work optional for most people. UBI might get us there even sooner. We have enough wealth creation already to support reduced work, if we restructure our economy.

Parenting choices look a lot different when families don't need two people employed to stay afloat.

Umbrias ,

Productivity gains already haven't done that. Even if a generalized technological singularity, again, a dubious and entirely baseless claim, there's no guarantee that it actually achieve any of what you're describing.

Work to make it happen, don't bet your future on it.

Endward23 ,

IMHO, a UBI is just an option in the case that all production is made by machines. If a sector of people is still forced to work, they will not accapt it.

Services like nurses or that like may be something other...

SanndyTheManndy ,

We'll have far more infra and a far lower population. For a couple of decades it would be somewhat nice. If capitalism does not take everything down with it.

Endward23 ,

We’ll have far more infra and a far lower population.

Nope. We will have a lot of older people who need the help of younger people in order to get things like medical aid, food and so on. And we will have lesser and lesser young people to provide these goods.
To make matters worse, the younger generation has to deal with issues like maintaining infrastructure, building new technologies, and fighting the unwelcome effects of climate crises.

In a word: If utopia has a chance to happen, it will make us wait for almost 2 decades.
No guarantee that utopia will ever happen. History knows not one example of population declaine without a collaps. Captialism isn't the issue here.

SanndyTheManndy ,

sorry, I had intended to put this comment under my existing comment, which was about the culling of the elderly via periodic pandemics.

possiblylinux127 , avatar

It is way scarier when the old people are the majority of the population

hydrospanner ,

Is it?

I'd be much more concerned if the world population skewed young and we were still projecting mass population decline within their lifetimes.

possiblylinux127 , avatar

You need to see the big picture

Endward23 ,

He or she doesn't want it.

Its a very, very uncomfortable truth. The older generations needs the workforce of younger generations in order to get things like good, medical help and other things. This work will not getting lower about decades.

SanndyTheManndy ,

A couple more covid-level events will take care of that.

CanadaPlus ,

Baby factories? I mean, it would be dumb to go extinct over our own restraint, right?

GreyEyedGhost ,

A non-growing population doesn't mean the species is going to end. This isn't the economy we're talking about here...

rekabis , (edited )

Except capitalism requires infinite growth, and will go catabolic and destructively consume modern “infrastructure” if it cannot grow. Such catabolic consumption and destruction is already in play, and the leading edge of which can be seen in the “pullback” of GenZ from any hope of home ownership and parenthood.

This significant reduction of a next generation of workers and consumers will cause a spiral of increasingly catabolic destruction as capitalism will go through increasingly desperate attempts to extract more and more profit from smaller and smaller spending-age populations, thereby exacerbating the economic decline and the lack of children.

GreyEyedGhost ,

Well, in the big picture, we will either have a civilization collapse or we will find a sustainable way to maintain civilization. This isn't a new phenomenon, and hopefully nukes aren't part of the equation. It would make the recovery much harder.

Endward23 ,

is not the problem here, sorry.

The same problem would arise in a hypothetical socialist socity.

rekabis ,

Sorry, but no.

Capitalism is growth based. It requires infinite growth in order to operate normally, and we are on a finite planet.

Nothing within socialism points to growth of any kind, and well-structured socialism can even function well under degrowth conditions.

It is impossible for capitalism to function at all under degrowth conditions.

Endward23 ,

Capitalism is growth based. It requires infinite growth in order to operate normally, and we are on a finite planet.

I see your point but for "academic reasons", is there any proof of this claim.

Nothing within socialism points to growth of any kind, and well-structured socialism can even function well
under degrowth conditions.

have to disagree strongly.

  • Older individuals needs help from the socity in order to survive and have goods like clothes and so on.
  • The help in questions has to be provided my at least middle aged individuals. They must spend resources like money, energy etc. on it.
  • If you have significant more older individuals than younger ones, you got a really problem with the resources.

Even a socialistic society has to follow this logic since their resources, like the workforce of younger people, are limited.

The situation we'll face in the near future, the situation of having more and more older individuals, while we need resources for a lot of other fields like AI, political stuff and clima, would be problem in any human society. In every society which suffer the problem of limited resources.

CanadaPlus , (edited )

Yeah, but it's projected to start shrinking after the static point, because people also die and birth rate continues to drop in the remaining countries above replacement.

Like, we have billions and could probably get by with millions, so we have a couple centuries at least, but eventually we're going to have to figure something out.

GreyEyedGhost ,

This is as reasonable as Malthus's predictions. Continuous exponential growth in a finite space is as reasonable as assuming the population will collapse instead of stabilizing. I'm not saying it will stabilize, I'm just saying that most other populations of other species have.

If you look at the reasons why people are having fewer kids, it's easy to see what would change that. And assuming it simply won't over the span of centuries is absurd.

CanadaPlus ,

If you look at the reasons why people are having fewer kids

They don't want to, and now have contraceptives? It's a pretty across-the-board phenomenon, there's no reason to think a different time would change it any more than a different place. Developing countries have dropping birth rates, collapsing countries have dropping birth rates; as do both rich and poor.

Throw around "absurd" all you want, you're not an expert demographer either.

threelonmusketeers ,

What Happens Next?

Nothing insurmountable, but a population with a comprised largely of elderly people will present some challenges.

hemko ,

Nuclear war

GBU_28 ,

Why? Reduced headcount = reduced stress on resources. The key is acknowledging specifically where the population has capped, and meeting the needs of those where it hasn't. Also increasing the availability of immigration to smooth these spikes and transitions.

(I am not advocating eugenics or classical overpopulation myths. Only recognizing that if we were in a situation where population was going to say, double, we would have different concerns in 100 years.)

hemko ,

Nah it's a joke of nuclear war happening, causing the massive drop in population growth

GBU_28 ,

They said what happens NEXT so in the headline, the population caps, THEN the NEXT happens.

hemko ,

Yeah, I misunderstood "next" as in next from now, instead of next after the peak

RememberTheApollo ,

Worldwide climatological disaster and associated geopolitical turmoil cause the human population to plummet rapidly. How rapidly will determine whether or not we return to essentially the stone age or maintain some semblance of modern civilization.

rekabis ,

Some cross-disciplinary work by climate scientists, ethnographers, and economists who have more holistically examined economic collapses, have tentatively posited that the latter half of this century (2040 to 2080) could see a 40% to 90% collapse in the human population due to chaotic weather and lethally high wet bulb temperatures shrinking agriculture at scale to next to nothing.

Considering that we are accelerating past +1.5℃ of warming, and are still solidly on the “business as usual” path that is increasingly likely to lead to +4℃ of warming before the end of the century, combined with historical evidence that +4℃ warming will likely cause the extinction of most any megafauna over 50kg, and yes. We will likely see a rapid and unrecoverable plummet.

Endward23 ,

Could you please explain one thing to me: How does climate change cause the current population decline?

rekabis ,

Chaotic weather.

80+% of agriculture depends on rainfall, either directly or in very near-indirect ways. A warmer atmosphere means not only air that fires out soils a lot faster and rains a lot less, but also more chaotic weather, with stronger deluges and more powerful droughts.

Agriculture at scale depends vitally on stable, consistent weather.

That stability and consistency is not in our future. Expect the first multi-crop, multi-year, worldwide famines to hit at some point in the 2030s. Expect the shortfall to be so sorcerer that it hurts even first-world populations. Anyone else will be much worse off.

Endward23 ,

But this can be the causal root of the recent changes. Populations aren't declining because of famine, but because people aren't having more children.

Your argument need some middle step or mediator like "people already realizing the comming problems and react with getting less childeren".
But is this really the case? I mean, we observe the decline even in places like north korea or by groups who denied clima change or simply don't care.

Maybe, the emerging problems of clima change are part of the creation of a pessimistic worldview or something.

soviettaters ,

They've been saying that for 100 years now and it hasn't happened yet. Humanity has always been able to adapt to changing circumstances.

Espiritdescali OP Mod , avatar
DaMonsterKnees ,

Thank you!

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