Elon Musk can’t get a specific problem out of his mind.
He runs several companies – two of them, Tesla (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc report and SpaceX are leaders in their respective electric vehicles and space technology.
Musk is busy buying microblogging site Twitter for $44 billion (TWTR) – Get Twitter, Inc. reports.
He (and investors) are dealing with a more than 40% drop in Tesla’s stock since January. He lost more than $77.6 billion in his personal wealth as of May 24, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Still, the man had time to worry about other issues.
For weeks, the tech mogul has been warning about the continued decline of populations in wealthy countries as birth rates plummet.
“Unless something changes so that the birth rate exceeds the death rate, Japan will eventually cease to exist,” Musk tweeted on May 7. “This will be a huge loss for the world.”
Country where Sony is headquartered (SNE) – Get the Sony Corporation Report and Toyota (TM) – Get Toyota Motor Corporation Report It recently said the population in 2021 will drop by 644,000 from the previous year to 125.5 million. 2021 is the 11th consecutive year of declines.
Musk worries about the extinction of the Italian population
Since then, Musk has been tweeting about declining populations and celebrating children. The issue has become a personal concern. In a May 24 Twitter exchange, the father of seven drew attention to Italy, South Korea and Hong Kong.
According to official figures, Italy’s population is aging, and Musk fears the country could die.
“Italy. Although our welfare is good, the birth rate is falling 🥲,” said Andrea Stroppa, a cybersecurity researcher, with a demographic trend graph showing Italy’s birth rate falling from 1946 to 2019.
“If these trends continue, there will be no one in Italy,” the tycoon responded.
Births in Italy fell in 2020 to their lowest level since the country was unified in 1861, according to Istat, Italy’s national statistical office. This is the 12th consecutive year of decline.
There were 404,892 births, 15,192 fewer than in 2019. The death toll rose to 746,146 in 2020 and the population fell to 59.3 million inhabitants.
The decline continues in 2021, with 12,500 fewer births in this period compared to the first nine months of 2020, according to available data from January to September. In 2020, the average number of children per woman living in Italy was 1.24, one of the lowest fertility rates in the world.
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The covid-19 pandemic largely explains this decline.
In addition to Italy, Musk estimates that the populations of South Korea and Hong Kong are declining at a worrying rate.
“South Korea and Hong Kong are experiencing the fastest population collapse,” the Tesla CEO wrote.
He added that World Bank figures show countries with the lowest birth rates, “2.1 children per woman is the replacement rate.”
Do rich people have fewer children?
The billionaire seems determined to use his platform – he’s currently the world’s most powerful CEO, with nearly 95 million Twitter followers and a cult following among politicians – to put the spotlight on the issue , and drive a wider world response.
In addition to sounding the alarm, Musk seems to want to break with the conventional wisdom that the cost of living is holding some back from having children.
“Contrary to what many people think, the richer a person is, the fewer children they have,” argues the serial entrepreneur. “I’m a rare exception. Most people I know have zero or one children.”
When Billy Markus, co-founder of the meme coin dogecoin, observed that “Honestly, the main reason is that people can’t afford kids 🤷♂️,” Musk objected.
“Then why richer people have fewer children?” he responded.
Musk also doesn’t appear to be convinced of the effectiveness of the various policies implemented to stem the population decline.
“Okay, so why are you against Build Back Better with universal preschool, child care investments, child tax credits, paid family leave, and more?” one Twitter user asked the tech mogul.
“None of these procedures have been shown to increase fertility,” replied another user. “Most European and East Asian countries have all these policies and they have fewer children than we do.”
One point Musk shared: “Exactly!” he said.
For him, to address population collapse, which he describes as “the greatest threat to civilization”, we must start by celebrating children.
“We just need to celebrate having a baby,” he said.