Brash. Brilliant. Iconoclastic. Downright loopy.
Those are some words that come to mind describing the founder of SpaceEx, The Boring Company, Open AI and Neuralink, and head honcho at Tesla, the electric vehicle (EV) behemoth.
He’s said to be the richest man in the world, supposedly worth US $270 billion. I wouldn’t hesitate to swap financial statements with the guy, and if that ever came about, I’d probably just cash out and take the tax hit. There’d still be enough left to buy a house or two.
If you haven’t already guessed, we’re talking about Elon Musk. Now a reasonable person, as lawyers say, might ask what does Elon Musk have to do with demography? Answer, not much. But…
Well, sometimes those self-made types have a habit of thinking for themselves. (Yes, Musk grew up wealthy, but not at all in the league he now leads.) Guys like that didn’t get to where they are by simply following the rule book, which is more than I can say for some of our know-it-all public officials.
When a rich and famous guy speaks, it makes the news, because, well, he’s rich and famous. And that is exactly what happened at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit on December 6-7. The confab was a gathering of heavy hitters if there ever was one, including tech titans, Fortune 50 CEOs, and even a few high-flying politicians. Of course, Elon made an appearance like many others, via Zoom.
The takeaway about Elon for some at the confab was his disagreement with uber-PC Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg over federal funding for EV charging stations. But here is what he said that is of interest to MercatorNet readers:
I can’t emphasize this enough: There are not enough people… One of the biggest risks to civilization is the low birth rate and the rapidly declining birth rate.
And yet, so many people, including smart people, think that there are too many people in the world and think that the population is growing out of control. It’s completely the opposite. Please look at the numbers — if people don’t have more children, civilization is going to crumble, mark my words.
You can watch him here:
Yes, Elon, many people, including smart people, think that world population growth is out of control. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. But since when has that ever deterred the smart set? Guess Elon needs to get woke.
Musk himself has had seven children, six of whom survive. After his jolting statement, the interviewer had the nerve (that’s chutzpah for New Yorkers) to ask if his thinking that the lack of children is a problem is why he has so many children himself. He replied that as a father of six he needs to set a good example, and that he must practice what he preaches.
Good for Elon! Thrice divorced and loopy as he may come across on occasion, the chattering class cannot dismiss this guy as just another religious fanatic or right-wing-conspiracy-mongering-racist-bigot-neonazi-nativist-nutcase (did I leave out anyone?). No, he’s Elon Musk, and as an uber-rich opinion leader, the megaphone is his. Good to see the fertility crisis getting traction in the corridors of power.
This is not the first time Musk has publicly addressed this topic. Back in 2017, in response to a piece in New Scientist regarding an impending “population bomb” 60 years out, he tweeted, “The world’s population is accelerating towards collapse, but few seem to notice or care…”
And in 2019 he tweeted: “Real issue will [be] an aging & declining world population by 2050, *not* overpopulation… Demographics, stratified by age, will look like an upside down pyramid with many old people & fewer young.”
Last summer he voiced similar sentiments to the Wall Street Journal.
Does Elon follow MercatorNet? If not, well, he should. And a healthy donation would be most welcome!
As CNBC observed regarding his remarks at the CEO Summit, “His comments come as a growing number of people are deciding not to have children, citing concerns such as climate change and inequality.”
Yes, many “smart people” are convinced that population is out of control and that in order to save the planet we must refrain from having children. Well, if we continue to do so, the planet should be OK until it is ultimately absorbed by the sun in a few billion years — but what about human civilization?
But back to Musk. He knows whereof he speaks. From 2019 to 2020, US fertility fell a stunning 4% (Covid helped). That year also marked the lowest number of American births since 1979, when the US population was 32% less than it is today.
Maybe some of these mega-corporations represented at the Summit can step up their game and increase flexibility of working hours and locations, and (God forbid) divert some of their resources to bumping up employee compensation. How about more on-site day care and even schooling? The money is there. Not only will that convince more talented young folks to come work for them, but it would also be for the public good, i.e., the family. In the long run it might even boost share prices.
If any of y’all out there bump into Elon, tell him hello from MercatorNet, that we’re on the same page, and to think about submitting a guest column and maybe even making that donation!