By: David Gernon of CNBC
Elon Musk usually tweets about mundane topics, from LA traffic to Tesla projects. On Thursday he was more dire.
“The world’s population is accelerating towards collapse, but few seem to notice or care,” Tesla’s CEO tweeted to his nearly 10 million followers. He pointed to a November article in New Scientist magazine titled, “The world in 2076: The population bomb has imploded.”
The piece, written by Fred Pearce points to Japan as a case study for what could go wrong in the relatively near future.
Rather than a meltdown where the Earth’s population outstrips the planet’s ability to feed everyone, we could be headed toward a more subtle but equally disastrous outcome where our population simply does not replace itself fast enough.
“The world has hit peak child,” the late Hans Rosling, a professor at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, said in the article.
Indeed, Japan’s fertility rate is 1.4 children per woman, well below what is required to sustain population growth.
While Japan is perhaps the most well-known example of a country’s population aging, the article in the London-based magazine also points to Germany and Italy, both of which “could see their populations halve within the next 60 years.”
The article spells out some of the problems an older population might bring, including less innovation, cultural shifts and worse and more recession-prone economies.