Population Decline and the Fall of the Developed World

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Vic

Elite Member
Jun 12, 2001
49,625
12,235
136
I'm kind of taken aback that the leftists on this forum don't know that the only real capital is labor.
You can't extract gold or oil from the earth if you don't have labor. You can't build anything without labor. You can't even do banking without labor.
No amount of financial capital in the whole world means anything without the labor of someone to give it value.
And that's not Marxism, that's capitalism too. The whole area where those ideologies differ is if the labor itself creates the value, or if it is what the labor can be sold for that creates the value.
But in the end, it's the labor that the creates the value. The only question lies in how it is valued.
Maybe the problem though is that some view a scarcity of labor as increasing the individual laborer's value. That's a tempting thought, and not incorrect by itself. The issue there is how that impacts the ability of the laborer's value to be compensated.
 
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Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
35,330
6,837
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Automation will never make labor obsolete. Literally never. It will make certain jobs obsolete, particularly lesser skilled jobs, but overall automation will always create more jobs than it destroys.
Think of automation as a tool, because that's what it is. And tools create jobs for those who know how to wield them.
Boy, that looks absurd on the face of it.
 

ivwshane

Lifer
May 15, 2000
31,312
13,099
136
Societal collapse is inevitable and is due to multiple factors. A drop in labor will effect the "quality of life" of the people who are able to eek by as society collapses, but it isn't going to lead to societal collapse...it is just a symptom of it, same as the wealth gap, air/water/soil pollution, climate change, etc.
I disagree with “inevitable”. A high degree of likelihood? Sure but certainly not inevitable.

Right now the world runs and relies on capitalism because it’s proven to be the best option for creating a stable society as well as progressing human knowledge and societal advancements.

If we were to face a serious labor shortage and one that was sustained and where we could not recover from, I think humans would create technology and/or a society that moves away from capitalism and more towards a shared sense of purpose. My imagination is limited but I’d say a Star Trek like society would be what we would evolve into.

How we get there is the question as well as the concern. I’m not positive but I think human history might be attracted to war before coming together (see China and it’s 5000 year history where they were constantly at war until they were united).
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
70,148
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Boy, that looks absurd on the face of it.
How about Henry Ford. He invented the production line for making cars. Far fewer laborers could now make many more cars and more affordably so you could now sell many more cars. So as the number of cars that were sold increased the entire infrastructure we have to day related to cars came into being. One simple tool, automation and away we went. Now the cars are being built is big pieces by gigantic robots and are being electrified to drive fossil fuels to extinction. Say bye bye to big oil. It will be needed however for lubricants that will eventually be lab created too.
 

kt

Diamond Member
Apr 1, 2000
5,902
1,170
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Automation will never make labor obsolete. Literally never. It will make certain jobs obsolete, particularly lesser skilled jobs, but overall automation will always create more jobs than it destroys.
Think of automation as a tool, because that's what it is. And tools create jobs for those who know how to wield them.
I agree that automation does create jobs, but I don't think the majority of the job creations are in wielding the automation tool. It kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it? For example, the assembly line made it possible for car manufacturers to increase production and lower cost. So, cars become more affordable and more people to buy them. Cars require maintenance and repair, so that creates a whole new line of work in auto repairs.
 

Vic

Elite Member
Jun 12, 2001
49,625
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The video seems to ignore efficiency. Meaning, it's still possible to produce more with a static or even declining population.

But it's too bad efficiency hasn't been rewarded at all, except to those at the top. And yet they still want even more. Hard pass from me. I refuse to have another child just so they can have another 2-3 week PTO wagie lining their pockets even further. One child pretty much all but guarantees my son won't have to deal with the live to work bullshit our economy is.
This is a very fair point, to which I will counter that a nativist ideology cares little for meritocracy, despite any protestations to the contrary.
You do make excellent points, however, to how our current economic system discourages people from having children.
 
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Zorba

Lifer
Oct 22, 1999
12,767
7,920
136
Boy, that looks absurd on the face of it.
I can't remember what is called, but it pretty well established that as productivity goes up so does employment. I mean just think about it, all the jobs that existed in 1900 that were killed by technology, yet far more people are employed today. Miners used to pound spikes with sledge hammers all day, now one dude can out work 20 from 1900 with modern tools. But that didn't cause the labor market to collapse.
 
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Gardener

Senior member
Nov 22, 1999
640
345
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The greatest threat to the developed world in the 21st century isn't climate change. It's not fascism or communism. It's not peak oil or any other kind of resource depletion. It is population decline.
And while it seems this coming crisis is rarely if ever discussed by politicians, academia, the media, or even social media, it is the issue that most of the issues we are talking about are dancing around. It's the real reason why right-wingers are anti-abortion and anti-LGBT, and it's also why left-wingers are pro-immigration and multiculturalism.
I'd like to open up a discussion on this issue, starting with a very dry and non-political economic analysis of the crisis, and why it's so important. Hopefully from there we can discuss the pros and cons of the various possible solutions.
Please watch the video first.

Our planet is experiencing human overpopulation as evidenced by the current mass extinction event, habitat destruction, and climate change. Any loss in population in the geographic areas that you are concerned about ("the developed world") can easily be recouped by opening immigration.

As a biologist, I always encourage people to consider what kind of world you'd like to live in, one which is crowded, where the vast majority of wild spaces are converted to human use, where large non-agricultural animals are either extinct or confined to zoos. Or would you chose to create a world with more wild spaces, where wild populations are healthy and have adequate biological diversity...where we have ample space and a better quality of life.

What level of population do we need to sustain a developed world? 2 billion? 500 million?

The UN's population projections over the past 20 years have steadily increased the target range for the global population to about 10.5 billion, at that time starvation levels rise in Asia and Africa, limiting further growth. That's our future if we don't have a plan.
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
15,830
6,070
136
Ok whoa there..

First, population decline would be a negative effect on any economic system, not just capitalism.
As long as you have people that need X and people who produce X, then what's the problem?

The fact of the matter is, if we want civilisation and conditions for humanity to improve, then population decline is inevitable. With population decline, the potential for our human-compatible environment to survive increases.

If Earth's population truly reaches a point whereby not enough births are taking place for *humanity* to survive, then governments logically will provide positive incentives for people to have children. Otherwise, economic models and peoples' desires must adjust to ensure humanity can survive and thrive (in a civilisation sense).

I'm going to straight-up admit that I didn't understand the economic aspects of that video, but it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if the current capitalist models that most developed societies depend on can be thrown into instability by not having enough humans to throw into the meat grinder. We've created a 'rich get richer' system, which will always mean that a greater portion of humanity is at the thinner end of the wedge.

I think "the fall of the developed world" and likening population decline to a nightmare scenario is just a bunch of people saying "this is how we've always done it and it's going to go horribly wrong!", as opposed to an intelligent species being able to acknowledge an easily predictable phenomenon and adjusting its means and goals accordingly.
 
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blackangst1

Lifer
Feb 23, 2005
22,507
1,839
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Bill Clinton thinks there is a limit on immigration without causing disruption. Although he doesnt come right out and say we are at that limit, he does express concern based on a number of things. Interesting perspective.

Bill Clinton says ‘there is a limit’ to how many migrants US can take without causing ‘disruption’ (msn.com)

Clinton spoke on a CNN podcast and was asked by host Fareed Zakaria about "economic migrants" who are "gaming" the asylum system. "There is a limit to how many migrants any society can take without severe disruption and assistance, and our system is based much more on an assumption that things would be more normal," the former president said.
 

mect

Platinum Member
Jan 5, 2004
2,422
1,632
136
I watched the video, and I agree the topic is very interesting, but I don't think population challenges compare in any way to the dangers of things like climate change to modern society. A population decline leads to challenges in wealth distribution in a consumption based economy. A continuing increase in population leads to massive sudden population declines through natural disasters, climate events, and famine. The population is going to decrease, one way or another.

It is true that a declining US population might have more of an impact on the quality of life in America (particularly if we don't fix our economic system and move away from a system that requires infinite growth), but the climate crisis (and other issues associated with continuing to increase the world's population) will have devastating results on the developing world. It is effectively colonialism 2.0.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
70,148
5,309
126
Ain't nobody got time fo dat.
It is very important for people whose ego identifications are built of delusional thinking to pretend that factual knowledge is a waste of time. That is because, as with all forms of bigotry, the unconscious assumption is that the delusions you take for the truth is all that anybody really ever knows. The thing that you fear is to re-experience the shame that was heaped on you as a child by those who said you would get no love from them if you pretended you could think for yourself. And here we are, you suffering your Stockholm Syndrome, imagining you can give others your disease.

Some how some way you need to realize that you have no reason to be ashamed. It was not your fault you were made to feel worthless as a child and you never were.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
70,148
5,309
126
I'm kind of taken aback that the leftists on this forum don't know that the only real capital is labor.
You can't extract gold or oil from the earth if you don't have labor. You can't build anything without labor. You can't even do banking without labor.
No amount of financial capital in the whole world means anything without the labor of someone to give it value.
And that's not Marxism, that's capitalism too. The whole area where those ideologies differ is if the labor itself creates the value, or if it is what the labor can be sold for that creates the value.
But in the end, it's the labor that the creates the value. The only question lies in how it is valued.
[Maybe the problem though is that some view a scarcity of labor as increasing the individual laborer's value. That's a tempting thought, and not incorrect by itself. The issue there is how that impacts the ability of the laborer's value to be compensated.
I am tempted to believe that the reason why liberals do not buy into what you believe to be obvious is related to the subject of "knowingness" I have, of late, been focusing on. What I see manifesting is the response of so many in this thread is that dreaded nihilism that comes with believing your own bull shit. People who hate themselves are critical of anything positive because it causes dissonant thinking. 'Nothing good can happen to me because I deserve nothing but punishment and to atone for my life.' So if anything that looks good down the pike shows up those negative feelings immediately begin to surface.

The armor of ego is to never ever trust again, never ever be naive or open or somebody will come along and stab you in the heart. It's just the secular version of Armageddon, the left hand of darkness, a self destructive death wish. And we create what we fear. Nihilism is a self fulfilling prophecy.

But my question is this. I would like to know how to understand the bolded part above, Not sure if I understand what you mean. What I take as your meaning but am not sure about is this:

Are you saying that if the value of labor in the estimation of laborers rises due to scarcity and creates a demand for higher compensation the issue then becomes an issue of a scarcity of capacity to remunerate at that level forcing a decrease in hiring?
 
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Maxima1

Diamond Member
Jan 15, 2013
3,492
750
146
The greatest threat to the developed world in the 21st century isn't climate change. It's not fascism or communism. It's not peak oil or any other kind of resource depletion. It is population decline.
And while it seems this coming crisis is rarely if ever discussed by politicians, academia, the media, or even social media, it is the issue that most of the issues we are talking about are dancing around. It's the real reason why right-wingers are anti-abortion and anti-LGBT, and it's also why left-wingers are pro-immigration and multiculturalism.
I'd like to open up a discussion on this issue, starting with a very dry and non-political economic analysis of the crisis, and why it's so important. Hopefully from there we can discuss the pros and cons of the various possible solutions.
Please watch the video first.
lol The US is nowhere near Japan, and they are still chugging along with much less natural resources.

So what happened to inheritance? If people are having less kids, the parents can invest more into their children and leave them more. Additionally, the black studies people like to complain that the West exploits the developing countries when the real issue in the world is the amount of people to distribute resources to.

 

Captante

Lifer
Oct 20, 2003
28,225
9,030
136
Did you watch the video?

Also, overpopulation is a global threat. Population decline threatens the developed world.
Yes.... and your credibility has taken a bit of a hit as a direct result. ;)

Yes, population decline in developed nations is a real issue but not for the reasons put forth in that video and further as mentioned OVER-population is far more of a problem.

Pretty much only "white-Christians" are failing to continue to reproduce in large numbers and far as I'm concerned that's mainly a plus!
 
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Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
70,148
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Because idleness is the devil's workshop?
I asked the purpose of an economy for a reason, to attempt to initiate some thinking. I take your answer to be a form of disgust, a complaint directed at somebody perhaps even me which I can't really object to other than pointing out the fact your answer has nothing to do with what I think its purpose really is.

In my opinion the notion of an economy is a liberal idea the intention behind which is to provide a means for sharing and mutually benefiting via mutually agreed consent, the the talents and skills of different people made efficient geographically by the availability of different resources. But it probably dates back hundreds of thousands of years.

As with religion and every other human institution, once the plague of self hate settles in, the sociopaths and psychopaths among us will begin their manapulations to benefit their sick emotional needs. You can substitute for this notion of self hate the sumpller to understand concept of greed. In this way mutual benefit is substituted for getting the better end of the stick. Satisfaction with a mutual benefit gets replaced by the vacuum of unfillable emotional need to regain self respect by appearences of wealth rather than inner happiness.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
70,148
5,309
126
Yes.... and your credibility has taken a bit of a hit as a direct result. ;)

Yes, population decline in developed nations is a real issue but not for the reasons put forth in that video and further as mentioned OVER-population is far more of a problem.

Pretty much only "white-Christians" are failing to continue to reproduce in large numbers and far as I'm concerned that's mainly a plus!
And here I thought that the real problem is that people with an ounce of self respect and responsibility but no money didn't want to bring children into a world where their lives would be full of misery.

1951: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Marching_Morons

PS: Did Vic's credibility really take a hit or was that a product of your voodoo wishing.
 
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Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
70,148
5,309
126


At the very least the notion of collapse by excessive population is debated. I am not qualified to untangle what sources are biased and what ones not so much.
 

MtnMan

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2004
7,954
6,591
136
One statement I heard from Elon Musk really caught my attention, and I can't really but wonder if it is the canary in the coalmine indicator.

Basically, he said civilization/society is in jeopardy when the number of adult diapers sold exceeds the number of infant diapers being sold, and we are there.

OBTW, I don't like Musk, I think he is a self-centered arrogant jerk.
 
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Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
70,148
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One statement I heard from Elon Musk really caught my attention, and I can't really but wonder if it is the canary in the coalmine indicator.

Basically, he said civilization/society is in jeopardy when the number of adult diapers sold exceeds the number of infant diapers being sold, and we are there.

OBTW, I don't like Musk, I think he is a self-centered arrogant jerk.
He is also terrified of AI but is a major developer and builder of human like robots capable of multiple functions.

 

Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
31,882
5,910
126
Population changes always lag by a generation or 2. So instead of watching the raw numbers, we have to calculate the trend. And the trend says we will see rapid workforce population decline in a generation even if the millenials started pumping out babies right now. Which they won't.
The trend. Yes, Boomers were a large bunch.
Do you imagine we can, that we should, maintain that growth rate?
The comforts of excess today will come with absolutely devastating costs later. You fight for a debt that WILL be paid. Though you do not know what it is you are asking for.
 

Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
31,882
5,910
126
You know a way around heat death?
The James Webb should help dispel you of the silly notion that we truly understand galactic or universal constants. We do not. That book is rewritten every time we get a closer look.
 

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