Gary North notes in his article The Population Implosion Will Begin in 2065, that the economic problem of the coming population collapse will not be a problem, thanks to the coming of ever-improving robotics.
I agree with the idea of not worrying about the coming population bust, but not because the robots will save us. They will certainly be a help, but robots need to produce what humans want… and with fewer humans, there will be fewer customers, and a limited need for production and productive tools.
The economy will still decline, not grow: and it will decline very steeply for a while, while
- the population ages
- the welfare state, buckling under the many oldsters and the few working producers, collapses (leading to more economic suffering)
- the replacements that are available will tend to come from less wealthy (and thus, less technologically-skilled) people from Africa and the Middle East (where high fertility will continue… but note that Middle Eastern fertility is already in sharp decline).
Africans and Middle Eastern immigrants will not be integrated into the Western economy until:
- the welfare state is destroyed,
- labour rigidity laws are abolished (that is, the numerous restrictions, especially in Europe, on hiring, firing, and paying the low wages that consumers are willing to pay low/unskilled workers.
- Or just using robots for production, leaving the immigrants unemployed. NOT a good idea. Better to gut the anti-employment laws, including hiring/firing and wage restrictions.
- African and Middle Eastern immigrants place a high value on education, similar to that of the Chinese and Indians do.
There will come a time when the population decline will level off.
I believe that in time, even typical African fertility will decline below replacement for a while, as even that region of the world becomes wealthy. (“Wealthy” in 2100, compared to the America of 1980).
But there will be those who will insist on having children. There will be those who refuse both contraception and abortion.
I suggest that this will be the strongly observant Christian population of the world. They make a conscious choice to have many children, despite the cost.
The competition isn’t from Secularists – obviously, as can be seen by their attitude to abortion, divorce, and homosexuality. No: it will come from Islam.
Certainly, Muslim Egypt is buckling the trend, and has made a shift upward in fertility. They have no intention to lay down and die: but whether this shift upward is a temporary fluctuation or a long-term move remains to be seen.
Despite this, I still believe that Christians will inherit the world, not Muslims. This is because the love for others is better than the hatred of others, the ability to learn is better than willful ignorance, justice for all is more productive and stable than injustice for the Wrong Sort, and constructive attitudes are better than destructive attitudes.