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[flagged] MIT Predicted Society Will Collapse in 2040. Research Shows We're on Schedule (flip.it)
215 points by ako 65 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 292 comments



In essence, all these dire forecasts are little more than fancy versions of Malthus's predictions, which assume that natural and other resources cannot be improved/increased or more efficiently used as necessary by human ingenuity to support and promote societal well-being.[a][b] Given how large the universe is, I'd bet there's a good chance that scientists, engineers, and enterprising people will find ways to make all these dire predictions wrong.

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[a] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malthusianism

[b] See also bmmayer1's comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27836077


When you brush this type of argument aside with "oh, this is just Malthusianism," you ignore the fact that, ultimately, Malthus was right!

Let me explain: the sum total of all human economic activity is limited by the available energy we have to put toward it. We only have a finite amount of energy resources available on earth, and we only receive a finite amount more per unit time from the Sun.

Earth's pitiful reserves of energy (fossil fuel and nuclear) essentially don't count in terms of measuring sustainability. In the long run, we either use them up or not, and it's just a blip on the energy meter. Thus, the maximum, long-term sustainable pace of energy consumption is equal to what we can extract from the Sun. And, yet, we consume that much every year by August 1! While the trend has flattened out in recent years, it shows no sign of declining [0].

In short, we can't continue to consume the resources of 1.7 earths per year for very long, and that is what makes Malthus right.

Now, given the time frames of these "dire predictions," this all implies we need to cut our total energy usage as a species in half in much less than 20 years. Considering how the trend so far has been to increase energy consumption by 50% every 20 years, now you see why these predictions are so dire. [1]

It's really simple math. We need to dial back to 1970s levels of consumption even to make things sustainable. But, it took us nearly 50 years to get here from there, and now we have at most 10-20 years to get back. Those don't sound like really good odds to me.

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[0]: https://theconversation.com/yes-humans-are-depleting-earths-...

[1]: https://ourworldindata.org/energy-production-consumption


>Thus, the maximum, long-term sustainable pace of energy consumption is equal to what we can extract from the Sun. And, yet, we consume that much every year by August 1! While the trend has flattened out in recent years, it shows no sign of declining [0].

This is misleading and not what they link supports. The linked calculation is not tied to the possible power extraction from the sun. This estimate is based on CO2 currently produced per person and the earth's ability to sequester the CO2.

Global electricity consumption is is about 2.6 Terrawatts [1]

Global total potential for technically feasible PV solar has been estimated at ~ 613 389 PWh/y or 70 Terawatts [2]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_electrici...

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/292991459_Estimatio...


"Energy from the Sun" is not just "energy from solar power." It includes wind and biomass as well. Biomass is probably the most efficient way to sequester carbon. So, yes, it is accounted for.

Put another way: you can't use fossil fuels to sequester carbon, and nuclear is a drop in the bucket. So, guess where the energy necessary to do it comes from?


The average power that the sun shines on the Earth is a huge amount and more than enough to cover all of our current energy needs, even using the technology and efficiency of today, and leaving land for other uses.

You can use solar to reduce or eliminate the carbon emitted. You can use solar electricity to sequester carbon if you want. You could even make oil and pump it back into the ground.


I'm not following your rebuttal here. s1artibartfast says that the sun can provide much more power than we currently consume. The limit from your link from earlier is not a limit on how much power the sun can provide, but rather a limit on how much power we can produce before we produce too much CO2. With power production methods that produce less CO2, we won't run into that limit, and we obviously won't run into the solar energy limit.


While not readily available everywhere now, there's abundance of geothermal power beneath our feet, and not from the sun either.


>Malthus was right!

Oh no he wasn't in his main hypothesis, roughly what wikipedia has as

>Populations had a tendency to grow until the lower class suffered hardship, want and greater susceptibility to famine and disease, a view that is sometimes referred to as a Malthusian catastrophe.

It ignores that people can think and fix things. Re the current situation, world population is predicted to peak shortly and solar is cracking along.


> hardship, want and greater susceptibility to famine and disease

Have you been awake for any part of the last 50 years? Two of those things are happening right in front of you, with the third on the horizon.


Yeah but not really caused by a population explosion and mostly not getting worse. The UK for example went from 10m people when he wrote that to 66m now but has more food, money etc per capita.


It's not that hard to imagine scenarios over the next few decades in which we find ways to use resources far more efficiently (e.g., improved battery technology, improved factory-made meats/foods), find ways to extract far greater resources from space (e.g., improved solar technology, asteroid mining), and/or find ways to expand the resources available to us (e.g., establishing colonies on Mars, or in space).


Extracting resources from space, and expanding to Mars or space colonies are likely non-starters due to simple physics. No matter how you do it, it takes around 100 MJ/kg to get something into orbit, which translates into about 28kWh of electricity per kg, to offer a more relatable comparison [0]. It costs roughly the same amount to land the equivalent amount of mass on Earth without making an impact crater.

One single, average human weighs somewhere around 65kg. So, not counting the mass of the fuel and vehicle necessary to do so, evacuating one human costs the energy equivalent of around 1820kWh of electricity. The average American household uses just over 10000kWh per year [1], just for comparison.

Now, let's get to the bad news. Remember the weight of the vehicle and fuel that we just conveniently forgot about? Let's not forget about it anymore.

Falcon 9 weighs around 550,000 kg [2]. So, just to put it in orbit, empty, costs the equivalent of over 1.5x10^6 kWh of electricity, or, roughly the yearly consumption of 1500 years worth of the average American household's energy consumption. That energy has to come from somewhere.

Tell me, how is space going to save us again?

On the other end, in less than 20 years, we need to not only offset the trend of 50% increase in global energy consumption, but also cut back an additional 50% from where we are today. In other words, in 20 years, in order to simply break even in terms of sustainability, we need to become 3x more efficient than we ever have over any 20 year period, if we want to maintain current levels of economic growth.

And you don't find that hard to imagine?

Edit: Alternatively, do you see us supporting 2 billion more people on this planet in 2050 with lower levels of economic growth than we've had the past few decades?

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Projections_of_population_grow... for population growth estimates.

---

[0]: https://space.stackexchange.com/questions/4330/how-much-ener...

[1]: https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=97&t=3

[2]: https://www.spacex.com/vehicles/falcon-9/


I don't think "space" is a short term solution in the slightest. It's more an eventual, partial solution.

Wouldn't the general idea be to put things like solar cells into space, to increase the amount of harvestable energy we can use, not humans?

Very long-term projects like space elevators, mass drivers etc. can help reduce the amount of energy (from Earth) that is required to efficiently launch something.


Improving efficiency doesn't address the problem at all. If you only improve efficiency then consumption grows to negate any gains.


Improving efficiency means we can at least potentially retain current levels of consumption. Not that this is a particularly good idea but it shows why it is relevant.


Except the entire problem is that current levels of consumption are unsustainable.


They are unsustainable at current efficiency levels. If things got more efficient, they wouldn't necessarily be unsustainable.


No.... the amount of energy consumption is unsustainable at any efficiency level.

But, what I think you're saying is that if we can increase efficiency by X%, then we can still sustain current economic output, yes? Well, considering we're 70% over the sustainable level, that means we'd need to get 58% more efficient, with no increase in consumption, in less than 20 years.

How likely do you think that is?


Citation needed.

Our current energy needs could be harvested from the sun exclusively. Cover sahara in solar collection and you satisfying energy requirements of all of humanity, several times over.


It's like getting debt. You start spending, and never end doing so, because the future you will be rich and will be able to pay it. And you keep saying that you will get rich "any time soon" but expend your time spending even more and suffering the consequences of your debt. Maybe your future you will never be rich, because it won't be trivial, and worse, it will be even harder to become rich if you have to deal with the consequences of your ever-increasing spending.

There was always a solution, or at least a mitigation, that was stop spending or limit how much you do. It will hurt, be harmful, will affect your life, but not as much as the consequences of becoming poor and with a gigantic debt.

Predicting when unstable complex systems will fall is not easy, even more when those systems are very complex. You can perceive the instability, that some sections seems to be falling apart, but maybe you can't put an exact moment of when it will happen. But that it doesn't happen the next cycle doesn't mean that it never will.


> I'd bet there's a good chance that scientists, engineers, and enterprising people will find ways to make all these dire predictions wrong.

I'm generally pretty tired of the argument that tech will save us. It's even arguable that tech is part of the problem since tech allows humanity to scale and thus consume more resources well beyond what it could before.


The debt metaphor is good. The scientists have models that are pretty accurate, but what may end up happening is local acceleration beyond those models. What happens under the heat dome is one example, and similar effects throughout the entire weather system might also escalate. Together, with all the other bad news, people are going to feel real effects much faster than anticipated. Then they're going to vote in a narcissistic psychopath, and complain about everyone else, while blindly stepping the gas pedal through the floor. Those smart people buying countryside farms may end up seeing their land dried up after ravaging forestfires and subsequent drought.

OR, people are going to wise up. Start to contribute wasting less resources, improve environment, support efforts of mitigation, taking out excess CO2, stop destruction of natural habitats, etc.

OR we may be lucky, have an unexpected spell twarting the models and cooling off the land again. Just so that humanity can continue destruction of their own lands and wildlife that have stabilized the climate for 10K years.

Nobody knows for sure, but the models are supposedly pretty accurate overall and there are not that many unknowns left.


We might be able to find solutions, but there's no guarantee that we will find them, or that we'll find them in time to avert a systems collapse. It's not like it hasn't happened before. People did find solutions when civilization has collapsed in the past, but they were implemented by the survivors.


> Given how large the universe is, I'd bet there's a good chance that scientists, engineers, and enterprising people will find ways to make all these dire predictions wrong.

I want to be optimistic, but a couple of things are worth noting.

First, is that civilization has fallen back before. It's definitely possible for systems, knowledge and progress built over the centuries to fall apart and it has happened before. There's the bronze-age collapse: ancient cities were destroyed, trade routes were lost, literacy declined and in general there was a big cultural decline— not in one civilization but thought all the "known world" at the time.

Fast-forward to the end of the Hellenistic/Roman periods— there was a decline there too leading up to, during and after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. Huge advances were made during that era in astronomy, mathematics, philosophy, architecture, art, etc. Alexandrian engineers were designing steam-powered automata in the centuries BCE [1], but like a lot of other classical knowledge this was lost sometime before the Dark Ages. The Renaissance was about new developments, but also largely about re-discovering what was developed in the Hellenistic/Roman periods.

We can assume modern times are different because we have more advanced technology, better political systems, different ideologies and more experience, but our challenges are also bigger. We've made it past challenges that would've destroyed civilizations in the past: droughts, wars, turmoil, etc. But we've never faced global climate change, for example.

Second— the fact that we've been able to invent our way out of possible crisis before doesn't mean this will keep being the case. The number of things that are possible in this universe is large, but not limitless— the universe still has its laws.

For example: Moores law. We know there's a limit there because of how small atoms are. We will have to figure out other ways to make processing faster and more efficient, because once we reach the physical limit, there's little we can do. We've been able to figure out ways to scale agriculture, reduce our dependence in one resource by switching to another, etc. but there's no certainty that this will always be the case. It's very much possible that at some point either the physical limits to technological development will catch up to us, or we won't be able to figure out the next big breakthrough in time.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_robots#Automata

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_law#Forecasts_and_ro...


The beginning of infinity — knowledge created ex-nihilo.


Your positivism is anachronistic. Humanity is incapable of putting ego aside for long-term survival. Look at the COVID epidemic, and how vast swaths of humanity has responded to it: denial, offense, pride in ignoring vaccines. Stupidity and narcissism.


I would say it's a vocal minority. When I look at my Facebook, I see people like this posting things like this, and then they get 0 likes, or maybe 3 best case.

Most of us know better, and we keep our mouth shut.


Well part of the society. The other part, kept distance, helped those in need and found a vaccine in a record time and are rolling out this in an incredible speed. So maybe your negativism is anachronistic too?


I agree with this and I would add that many people misunderstand history as a linear function of progress. History is filled with examples of things getting worse, sometimes for centuries. The future is not guaranteed to be bright.


Human ingenuity is irrelevant if there isn't popular support for solving the problem. Look at climate change, there's plenty of evidence for its dire effects and plenty of ways we could be addressing it, but we're doing nothing because enough people believe it's a leftist conspiracy. Human ingenuity will always lose to human selfishness.


Human ingenuity can be applied to adaptation. Growing almonds in the desert beside golf courses in the desert doesn't really make sense, but engineering found a way.


There are limits. If rainfall stops no amount of engineering will make the rivers flow or crops grow. If the ocean acidifies and fish stocks plummet, there is no engineering solution for that.

This faith people have in engineering just boggles my mind. Look to Venus. That is where our atmosphere is headed.


Nobody doubts there will probably be some planning of climate doom mitigation, but the reason we're in this mess is because of misplaced human ingenuity.

We can grow almonds in deserts beside golf courses, yes. But should we have been doing it in the first place?

All of our terraforming for the present world we live in today is at the expense of future generations prosperity.


Human ingenuity is incredibly relevant because it can bring the price point of solving the problem down to somewhere where popular support can be found.


I wonder how the younger generation is supposed to plan for the future? Even myself as a 30 year old, I'm finding it very difficult to plan my financial future considering traditional personal finance knowledge can become irrelevant within my working life-time. Anyone have resources to guide my financial decisions taking into consideration these dooms-day scenarios? Index-fund investing seems bound to failure with such scenarios.


If society is going to hell, there is no safe investment. You’re too young to have lived through the 2008 crisis, but in the months following Lehman Brothers’ failure, friends of mine who invest billions of dollars for clients or themselves were running for the hills - literally. They were prepping their disaster ranches.

Then, in March 2009, a bunch of billionaires got together and decided that the world probably would not end. They put their money back into markets. And they enjoyed an insane period of recovery over the next year, even though the average person didn’t see their own income start to rise for many years.

Here’s the thing about investing when you’re 30: if you think the world is going to end, just give up now and live in the moment. Why save if you believe the world won’t make it beyond 2040? But if you think there is a chance humanity will figure things out and avoid calamity, then index fund investing is the most efficient way for you to participate in the economic system as a part owner of it.


he was 17 in 2008.. I'm sure he remembers it just fine. I know I do, my family lost their business and home. It wasn't exactly something that didn't affect teenagers.

as far as safe investment, you kind of just answered it when talking about the billionaires. property/land with a possible dooms day bunker.


Society ending wouldn't mean everyone would die. I don't think society will end, but if someone truly believes it, there are tangible assets that could be viewed as investments. You could do the prepper stuff and build a secure compound, buy guns and ammunition and buy non perishable food. If society ends, those assets will be ridiculously good investments and appreciate a large multiple in value.


The 2009 collapse was a shake down by the most wealthy that profiteer off of the debasement of the US currency, they figured out the game and knew they were too big to fail. There was never any risk to society collapsing imminently, that was propaganda by Paulson and Obama to make them seem like innocent little sweethearts. Our monetary and capital control policy is a slow moving train wreck that started way before 2009. Maybe Nixon?

Either way, fear mongering about what could’ve happened ignores what did happen and how it was predictable by those in power.


In a dooms-day scenario, you're best bet is to affiliate yourself with a local, ideologically coherent group whose identity is driven by a narrative of historical persecution and already practices pooling resources. In the event of government or institutional collapse, members of these groups would automatically switch to treating the group leaders as the main authority. And these leaders would be inclined get their community to take care of each other and pool resources.

Examples would be Jews in Israel and tribes of American natives. If you can assert membership in these groups, it would be a good investment to go through the process before hand.

If you don't have ethnic ties that are useful in that way, you could join a religious sect. The main example would be Mormons. They cluster in communities, have a persecution mentality, and encourage their members to store food and other emergency supplies. You'd have to at least pretend to believe their stuff though. I have trouble thinking of other examples. Perhaps Scientologists? Jahovah's Witnesses? I assume one doesn't just "join" the Amish. Mennonites?

If there are some survivalist groups that are already off-the-grid, that could be an option. Intentional communities, particularly of the survivalist strain, often care about ethnicity too though, particularly the ones in the US.

If you can't join a group, some countries might handle collapse better than others. One might invest in immigrating to a country that could tough out a collapse. Switzerland's canton-based political system seems pretty robust. Iceland has geothermal energy. The way the Japanese came together as a country during Fukushima was impressive (but you'd probably need to be ethnically Japanese to cash in on this). Rich folks seem to think New Zealand is a smart place to bug out.

New Zealand brings up another point. If a place, country or no, is a remote island has the ability to support itself without imports, it could also be a good option.


If you're asking for financial advice based on the assumption that conventional finance may collapse, your hedge would be to invest in making yourself self-sustainable. Land, wood, gas, knowledge.



If society collapses, ETFs have no value.


... and guns in that case. IMHO that's not necessary good plan.


...also, probably living on an island somewhere.


I've been thinking similarly. I'm not a particularly smart nor informed person, but here are some things I'm thinking of investing in:

- Land near a water source

- Learning how to cultivate land and food

- Learning how to be a good neighbor


> - Learning how to be a good neighbor

Could be, uh, interesting given the personalities of some individuals who are 'holing up' in locales conducive to that sort of lifestyle.


They tend to be some of the most helpful loyal people you’ll ever meet. Sounds like you should spend more time outside of the city.


I live in a not so big town in Oregon and spend plenty of time outside the city. Ordinary people who live a more rural existence are mainly fine people. "End of the world" people are... a mixed bag. Some of them are unwell.


"This is my land! I have this bit of paper from the State. Leave or I will call the police!"


My guess (or I guess hope?) also as a 30 year old is the system is going to limp along until after I'm dead. Things will get much worse but the US economy won't collapse to the point where it's better for me to try subsistence farming. I don't live on the coast or in the more deserty regions of the US so I'm pretty isolated from the direct effects.


To answer your question, I recommend actually taking traditional investing advice. But assets that make money, so a farm or rental property. These increase in value and you can lease them for revenue. It’s common to invest in stocks, but due to financing rules & policy since 2008, I think there’s a decent risk of a massive bubble bursting. Land is always valuable (baring pollutants) and it’s a limited commodity.

Diversity is key though. I have a farm, rental property, stock, bonds, crypto, gold/silver, etc.

Regarding the sentiment, It feels like there is a cult of self-destruction (note, these may be true, but sensationalized):

- global warming is going to kill us all

- covid19 will kill is all

- inflation is soaring, better learn to eat bugs

- normalizing abortions

- mass shootings regularly on TV (though rare)

- highly addictive opioids prescribed wildly and having FDA approval (claiming they aren’t addictive)

- Castration of children without parental consent

- etc etc

I wrote this back in 2015 and it seems relevant: https://austingwalters.com/an-essay-on-wealth-and-freedom/

Freedom is only obtained through owning land. Without owning the means of production, you’re nothing more than a slave. To your point, owning land you can live off of is a protection against all form of “dooms-day” scenarios.


> owning land you can live off of is a protection against all form of “dooms-day” scenarios

In doomsday scenarios I doubt people will respect ownership rights very much. In that scenario, "ownership" isn't as much of a protection as your ability to defend and maintain control over whatever valuable resources you have on the land.


Guess what we mean by doomsday, but I’d 100% prefer to own a rural property if say the electric grid fails than a city. A lot of farms are installing solar, grow their own food, etc.

In terms of protection, I guess it’s possible people will come to try and take your land, but that really depends on the scenario. In either case, if you live more rurally you’re going to probably need a gun. If you have roaming bands of criminals you’re still going to want to own your own land as opposed to a massive complex or something.

Regardless, this person was asking about financial advice. You’re still better off owning land in most cases as opposed to stocks or gold if it hits the fan. If you’re really worried about it hitting the fan, invest in guns and ammo.


You don't even need a doomsday scenario. The Landless Workers Movement[0] has existed in Brazil for decades and it basically consists of large groups of people forcefully occupying private land. It ain't pretty when it gets violent (and it does).

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landless_Workers%27_Movement


Owning land is the first step in securing control over that land (and establishing other infrastructure) while you still have the option to use capital and global economies of scale to your advantage.


Absolutely, you'll need to own guns and be willing to use them. As some decide to not respect your right to life, you either to learn to reciprocate, or perish.


I feel like you need more than guns, as there are already groups preparing for this sort of thing are not only well armed, but appear to be well armored as well. Ofc, the sort of thing I imagine would counter that well could probably land you an open file with the FBI if you do too much research into them.


Agree with this. It's common for preppers/survivalists to believe that somehow the chaos isn't going to devour them.

I'm really fine with being prepared for disasters, human-made or natural, but in a complete upheaval of global civilization you need more than property and a castle loaded with ammo to thrive. Looking at foreign countries ravaged by civil war, can you really imagine riding that out because you bought a farm?


Do you really own land? Or do you have an indefinite lease on it from the state? If it turned out there were valuable mineral deposits under your farm, kiss your farm goodbye.


Or if a property developer wants it and can convince the local governing authority that they will grab more tax revenue by forcing you sell it to him at a shitty price.


All of those are transitory cultural issues, backed by the increasingly sensationalist media, except covid and global warming. Covid has already spent its wrath for the most part. Climate change (global warming, as a term, doesn't cover the multipronged destruction of ecosystems throughout the world) is legitimately catastrophic; if anything it's undersold. The only question is the exact timeline of its effects.


Definitely agree on this. My biggest peeve is that carbon emissions is a misdirection or at least not anywhere near the #1 issue. US has produced less CO2 (almost) every year since 1990.

The real concern are the pesticides that have reduced insect populations. They build up in the ecosystem and can take many years to flush out.


> owning land you can live off of is a protection against all form of “dooms-day” scenarios

I imagine that global warming, if it hits some threshold/tipping point that changes the climate enough to wreck the land, might be the one counter-example here. Though I don't know enough about farming to know if it could sustain through a wide range of climates and potential consequences of severe temperature/climate change.


Rough rule of thumb: if you're in a temperate climate now, you're probably ok. Crops that will grow well will change, but as long as the water doesn't dry up, you'll be able to grow something.

If you're in a hot climate now, move.


> normalizing abortions

Wait, what? This isn't a view I'm familiar with in England


What good is owning land if there is no more rainfall? Or if your beach-front is now submerged?


Strictly speaking, pour all your resources into preventing the collapse is the best choice (with the usual prisoner dilemma applying). No kind of investing will survive a society collapse. Money is a mean to delay your own consumption. And once society collapses, a lot of consumables are just lost.

That goes to the next rational action: spend like there is no tomorrow, adjusted for risk of society not-collapsing? Pick your poison, I guess.


You can rest assured that the true doom will come from a place you didn't plan for. The traditional pf knowledge is to diversify so that any number of events wont adversely affect your financial future. I think the future will present more channels of diversification from the traditional stock and bonds but the principles remain the same.


>I wonder how the younger generation is supposed to plan for the future?

Take a few lessons from people who live in 2nd- and 3rd-world countries. They used to not rely on government or expect financial stability for decades ahead. Yet, they survive pretty well and some even thrive.

People didn't always have stable currencies, pension funds, and unemployment benefits over their history.


Focus on acquiring assets that help you live comfortably in self sufficiency and that you can adequately defend against others.


I'm interested in this also. As a 30-something I have no idea what to invest in for "retirement" or how to plan for the next 30 years.

edit: I should say I lack faith in traditional retirement advice/planning, not that I have no idea how to do it.


Max out 401k, IRA if eligible, mutual funds for the rest, live below you means. Don’t finance more than 30% of your income (after taxes!) on house, cars, or boats.

Live in or plan to move to a lower cost location during retirement.

Don’t be too stingy and enjoy life!


I think you're misunderstanding what I was saying. I do all the normal things for investing/retirement. If nothing in the world changes I will retire comfortably and early.

My concern is that none of those things will matter in 30 years. Dumping money into 401ks/markets/property used to be sound investment advice. Today they feel more like speculation. Even holding USD/bonds is a gamble. I'm not talking about traditional risk tolerance like large/small cap or foreign markets.


They are probably still going to be relatively good, just be sure to avoid margin debt, options, etc, play it safe and expect lower returns.


If you haven't gone to a financial advisor, I highly recommend it. Best decision I made, I happily pay her annual fee because I am guaranteed to make/save more in the long run with her advice each year than without it.


I have been to a few financial advisors and still use one. The problem is I lack faith in all of our current financial systems and the "solid" advice of investing in mutual funds, indexes and property seem to be long-term speculation these days, not investment.


The only useful thing a financial advisor can tell you to do is nothing. So just don't do anything.

Besides that, they can and have been replaced by a few calculators and the reddit personalfinance wiki.


Well my experience was different. I was doing nothing. I was letting paychecks accumulate in my checking account, and just guessing at what percentage I should be contributing to my retirement. Turns out that wasn't the right thing to do, and her advice showed me why.


Buy land with water availability and growable soil, build small cheap place to live, try to pay it off asap. That’s all you can do to prep


I think you're over-simplifying - land with water access today doesn't mean anything in ten years with continued climate change. Unless you have water rights (and even if you do), that water won't necessarily be present (or potable) in ten years, and your water rights likely won't matter either.


The dead sibling to this comment is correct. I suspect, though, that it was flagged not because of its inaccuracy, but simply because it goes against the feel-good positive capitalism that is so pervasive throughout western society.


It wasn't flagged, it was killed by software. That's what happens to comments posted by banned accounts.

If you see a [dead] post that shouldn't be dead, you can vouch for it by clicking on its timestamp, then clicking 'vouch' at the top of its page. There's a small karma threshold (> 30) before vouch links appear.


Did not know. Thanks.


I suspect it may have been downvoted due to the ending "that's all you can do to prep". Dead uncle comment (parent's sibling eh?) is a good start, but far from "all you can do".


China isn’t considered capitalist but if I were Chinese I’d have a positive outlook on the economic outlook of my Country, CCP issues aside.


If in doubt, buy land


Nope, per the article: collapse “does not mean that humanity will cease to exist,” but rather that “economic and industrial growth will stop, and then decline, which will hurt food production and standards of living

Economic decline that hurts standard of living is very far from a societal collapse, if the analysis is even accurate. It seems like the best selling book that put this out in the 70's traded on fear mongering, and now this article is just repeating it.


It depends how much standard of living is affected, and what nonlinear effects might go along with that. "Hurt food production", in the BAU2 scenario, means mass starvation as the food supply shrinks from feeding 7 billion to feeding less than 2 billion. Humanity hasn't seen that sort of contraction before. It is unlikely to be pretty.


"Economic decline that hurts standard of living is very far from a societal collapse", if it doesn't cause War. Quite impossible that Countries won't fight each other to see who falls slower than the other.


> Economic decline that hurts standard of living is very far from a societal collapse, if the analysis is even accurate.

This depends on the base standard we're talking about. If someone's standard goes from not having to think about energy consumption, to not being able to afford running the dishwasher or dryer, then sure, no big deal.

If someone's standard goes from getting by to starving, they are going to fight. I imagine there's a lot of places around the world where a sharp decline in standard of living could lead to civil war.


Ah, excellent point. This is why I come to HN, because discussion. Will reveal when I need to consider something with more nuance and dig deeper into topics.

It would definitely depend on how evenly spread the decline is. 10% (or whatever) evenly spread out would be bad, because a developed country can tighten its belt and not buy new things as much and focus on less waste, change eating habits to be a little more based on most productive crops instead if taste preference, etc.

10% for a a less developed country would, in terms of the relative utility of money, mean a lot more loss. And that's hoping they didn't decline more than a developed country. (By relative utility of money I mean that the more money a person has, the less that a single unit if money impacts you. $10k increase for a person who makes $35k is a noticeable step up in quality if life. For someone making $500,000k it changes practically nothing)


All the experts have been talking about a housing market collapse in Toronto for the past 15+ years. It’s been imminent and inevitable year after year … after year. Well, I guess these complex systems are hard to predict. But OK, let’s suppose this true. What are the best/recent books that discuss this?


Experts have correctly predicted 20 of the last 3 market crashes.

I've been predicting a market crash since ~2010, and I'll admit that I've been wrong again and again. Being wrong has reinforced two things for me: the old adage that the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent, and that governments and other major interests will go to almost any lengths possible to keep distorted markets propped up.


> and that governments and other major interests will go to almost any lengths possible to keep distorted markets propped up.

This here is pretty key. Those on top will do just about anything to stay on top.

As such I try to make sure my own interests align with them. For example, most wealthy people keep very little of their wealth in cash. Meaning inflation doesn't hurt them, in fact in most cases it helps them. So I try to keep little of my money in cash.

Diversification of course is always the golden rule.


These complex, interconnected system are more resistant to collapse than the media and experts assume. The post-Covid economic and stock market boom exceeded even the the most optimistic of forecasts. Individuals who stayed invested made a killing, and the market keeps going up. It pays to be optimistic unless you're the media, in which doom and gloom means more clicks and ad revenue.

If I had to predict, there will be no collapse and the bull market and economic expansion will continue even in spite of all the things that are going wrong. At any point in history, there will always be things that are going wrong somewhere.

These experts tend to have a terrible track record at this sort of stuff, whether it's incorrect calls of a housing market crash, stock market crash, recession, hyperinflation, etc.


Michael Crichton wrote a great piece on this called "Why Speculate?"

https://americandigest.org/long-read-week-speculate-michael-...

Experts are so often wrong on their economic predictions that there's very little value in listening to them.


When you are an analyst the sensible thing to do is always predict doom and gloom. If you are correct you will be hailed as a genius. If you are wrong no one cares because the market is doing great! Over a decades long span there will eventually be a downturn and you can then say "I told you so".


I think this makes sense for, say, stock-price analysts, but if I were a scientist I doubt I'd be happy predicting this or being right.


I liked "Collapse of Complex Societies" by Joseph Tainter but I'm not well-read in the area: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/477.Collapse_of_Complex_...


The analysts assume rationale behavior, but it should be noted that some factors such as money laundering distort the prices and Toronto real estate market has a massive floods of opaque cash used for money laundering (at least $28.4 billion invested in Greater Toronto Area housing since 2008 according to reports).


I've suggested two books you could take a look at: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27835835

They are oriented towards how we got here and solutions to get us out of it.


Thanks. Added some Piketty to my Audible queue.


And what are the best books on post collapse dynamics. Cause knowing a collapse in all details may not be the best path to bounce.


The danger here is that there may well be no bounce, depending on how hard the fall is. We built modern society on cheap energy that was available from a low technology base. Having used a large chunk of that cheap energy up, there may not be enough accessible to rebuild.


Everyone in the Toronto analysis ignores dual incomes. Yeah, the median income isn't that great. But for those who are in couples? Working backwords from after tax income, it is about 120K-140K a year median.

https://www.reddit.com/r/PersonalFinanceCanada/comments/mbf4...


>Working backwords from after tax income, it is about 120K-140K a year median.

But your source says that the median family (aka household, so it factors in both earners) income for non-seniors is only $93k, and with kids it's only $105k? Where are you getting $120k-140k from? Households where both earners are high income professionals?


That is the after tax income. I am converting it to the gross income that people usually use for comparing salaries.


Ah okay my bad, I missed the part about "Working backwords from after tax income".


yep


When I've seen measures of median income it's usually median family income.


For those interested in learning more about the agrowth perspective, and how investment in public commons can be a convincing solution I highly recommend Jason Hickel's work, specifically his book "Less is More". If you want the deep dive treatment I've just finished Thomas Piketty's "Capital and Ideology" and was very impressed with the thorough historical treatment.

https://www.jasonhickel.org/less-is-more

https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674980822


> investment in public commons

Investment in commons is something rich societies do. If we're predicated on a collapse hypothesis, the rich will focus on survival and power. That returns us to a zero-growth, zero-sum environment, which almost linearly leads to militarization. (If I have a choice between investing in research or buying munitions, and I believe society is about to collapse, I do the latter.) Between an army and a law defining XYZ as a common good, the army wins.


Hickel gets basic facts wrong and distorts the views of his critics.

The thread below walks through some of the basic errors he makes.

https://twitter.com/MaxCRoser/status/1378730932308471809


Actually it's quite easy to poke holes in that rebuttal provided by the linked article in Max's tweet. Basically there is a lot hidden by looking at average income per person per country when inequality has risen dramatically everywhere. The 2nd link I posted delves into this deeply and I suggest reading that instead of short form hit pieces and tweets. (That applies to Jason and Max, they're both guilty of window dressing)


Don't worry, I have a plan. We just need to shorten the collapse.

We'll do this by preserving the knowledge of our current society. We'll do that by archiving all human knowledge, a task carried out by a hand-picked group of archivists.

We'll also need a second group, whose task it too important to make widely known. They'll be sent to the other side of the planet, and will work on their (extremely instrumental) thing.

We'll shorten the collapse from thousands to tens of years.

Who's with me?


Viral marketing for The Foundation is kicking into high gear already I see (I kid, I kid).


Greenpeace originally was based on The Foundation from Foundation.


I was rather thinking we train specialized, educated teams to go into cryosleep in what we could call "boltholes" buried in specific secret locations. Then, when a collapse has occurred, these individuals could reemerge, unite, and help restore order and progress. They would be encapsulated along with vehicles and engineering supplies as well...

;-)


So a “Dr. Stone” scenario.


I too think that dividing people into arbitrary groups is a productive way to ~~fuck people over~~ shorten the collapse.


I'm in!

- The Mule


Sounds like the foundation of something big. I am in.


I am in.

But you need a certain emotion sensing robot too.


I don't know what ad keywords are hooked up to this, but when opening it on mobile it the ads I get in the middle are for planning my cremation, with happy and distinguished looking gray haired people congregated around the rose bushes and tasteful urns. Very appropriate to the subject.


This reminds me of this report from 2002:

https://www.wwf.fr/sites/default/files/doc-2018-10/lpr_livin...

"the world’s ecological footprint will continue to grow between 2000 and 2050 from a level 20 per cent above the Earth’s biological capacity to a level between 80 and 120 percent above it (Figure 30). In these scenarios, 9 billion people in 2050 would require between 1.8 and 2.2 Earth-sized planets in order to sustain their consumption of crops, meat, fish, and wood, and to hold CO2 levels constant in the atmosphere.... Two World3 scenarios were chosen: a standard scenario, which assumes no policy changes over the next 50 years; and an accelerated technology scenario, which assumes significant improvements in resource efficiency. In the standard scenario, the HEF grows and peaks around 2040 at about 150 per cent above the Earth’s biological capacity, while the HWI climbs to around 20 per cent above the 2000 level in 2030 but then falls away rapidly, as the Earth’s productive ecosystems are no longer able to sustain high levels of human consumption. In the accelerated technology scenario the HEF reaches a maximum of 60 per cent above biological capacity in 2020 and then declines back to the 2000 level by 2050, as more resource-efficient technologies reduce the footprint, while the HWI climbs and remains at almost 20 per cent above 2000 levels"


> The controversial MIT analysis generated heated debate, and was widely derided at the time by pundits who misrepresented its findings and methods. But the analysis has now received stunning vindication from a study written by a senior director at professional services giant KPMG, one of the 'Big Four' accounting firms as measured by global revenue.

Not to worry guys! KPMG is on the case and can help your company do a risk assessment to prepare for collapse. Based on their finding they will implement a solution for you!

/sarcasm


Note: the graphs seem to be mislabeled / misordered. The initials in the upper left hand corner are accurate: CT: Comprehensive Technology, SW: Stabilized World, BAU2: Business As Usual.


The Club of Rome, peak oil, etc. are fantastic intellectual touch points to categorize people based on whether they believe in human ingenuity aided by economic incentives or not.

The simplistic "resources" shown in the graphs does little to explain the methodology of the research, but seems incredibly questionable. For instance, we certainly passed peak oil production in the U.S. in the early 1970s, but thanks to innovations around tar, shale and deep sea extraction the U.S. surpassed this in 2018.

This isn't new; in the 19th century Malthus' ghost was apparent as it was predicted that the earth couldn't feed more than a billion people, but thanks to the Haber–Bosch process we can fix nitrogen for fertilizers and feed nearly 8x that number.

Certain resources will be completely extracted, but economic incentives will strongly encourage people to devise substitutes. Given how little of the Earth's mantle human activity has touched and the increasing likelihood that we will have technology solutions to manage externalities like excess C02, I'm super encouraged for our future prospects.


Yes, these kinds of reports are incredibly biased. I see very little evidence of any "model" in the papers other than extrapolation and number tweaking to produce different scenarios.

For sure, pollution, habitat destruction / deforestation, soil depletion, are all problems. But these aren't inevitable problems. They all have technological solutions - which the report dismisses as futile for some reason...


> For instance, we certainly passed peak oil production in the U.S. in the early 1970s, but thanks to innovations around tar, shale and deep sea extraction the U.S. surpassed this in 2018.

We might've delayed it, but I think we can all agree there will be a peak oil at some point. We all know oil is finite.


Fossil fuels are certainly finite, but if perpetual demand existed for a hydrocarbon based fuel (“oil”) we could produce as much as we wanted by fixing carbon from some source and using thermal depolymerization — hence my whole point about ingenuity.

Shale and oil sands are in a sense ‘unfair’ to the original notion of peak oil which was focused entirely on cheap to produce crude that literally bubbled out of the ground in some places. But then peak oil is semantic; yes, it happened for some flavors of crude in the U.S. but we did and will find ways to produce more (if needed).

Pending some fantastically cost effective way to mitigate all the externalities of burning oil, I certainly hope we reduce our use of it.


It is possible that we may never see peak oil because we transition from it and leave it in the ground. I would argue that a peak and reduction caused by regulation, taxation, or replacement via innovation don't count for the original "Peak oil" theroy.

There are 1.65 trillion barrels of proven oil reserves remaining, which is more than humanity has used throughout history, and the known reserves are going up over time, not down. There are another 3 trillion barrels of unconventional oil reserves (e.g. oil sands)



I got into the World3 model and its offshoots a few years back... somewhere online I found a JS implementation of the model that let you fiddle with the various inputs that the model was sensitive to. I don't remember the details, but I quickly discovered that one of inputs was extremely sensitive and would impact the model dramatically, and in the opposite direction that you would expect. I think it was something along the line of business growth - if you increased business growth just a little bit, the worst projections of the model disappeared.


I won't buy any prediction 5 years into future, let alone 20 years


I can accurately predict that in 20 years 240 months will pass in Africa.


Just wait until a leap second or time zone change ruins your prediction


LoL, maybe I should specify.

Any predictions aim to provide nontrivial insights


Nice try, Nostradamus!


"Their system dynamics model published by the Club of Rome identified impending ‘limits to growth’ (LtG) that meant industrial civilization was on track to collapse sometime within the 21st century, due to overexploitation of planetary resources."

I'm sorry, but - No shit!

Of course there are growth and population limits, and we are close to them. Everyone talks about global warming, but few talk about population and consumption as the main driver for that. We like the narrative that we have the technology to face climate issues and future resource scarcity because it means we're not doomed.

We will either need unpalatable or forced lifestyle/societal changes or we will inevitably face these unwanted changes when consumption outpaces resources.

Oh and China is now suggesting 3 kids per couple will be to tolerated...


I recommend reading about the Simon-Ehrlich wager of 1980[1] and also about Thomas Malthus[2]. Many very smart people have speculated many times in the past that major population-reduction strategies must be undertaken, and these doomsday predictions in terms of resource consumption have...almost always been wrong. In Paul Ehrlich's case, in 1968 he predicted that "millions of people will starve to death" in the 1970s due to population growth, and mass sterilization was needed to stop it.

The reason why people keep outpacing our own resource constraints decade after decade is that humans, unlike bacteria or any other species you can model population growth after, can modify our own environment, along with the degree of our own resource usage.

Which is all to say, that this statement has been proven demonstrably false more often in the past than it has been proven true: "We will either need unpalatable or forced lifestyle/societal changes or we will inevitably face these unwanted changes when consumption outpaces resources."

[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon%E2%80%93Ehrlich_wager [2]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Robert_Malthus


Yes, in essence all these dire forecasts are little more than fancy versions of Malthus's predictions, which assume that natural and other resources cannot be improved or increased as necessary by human ingenuity to support and promote societal well-being. Given how large the universe is, I'd bet there's a good chance that scientists, engineers, and enterprising people will find ways to make all these dire predictions wrong. Your comment should be at the top of the page, IMHO. (EDIT: I posted a comment referencing it; it's now at the top of the page.)


My issue with this idea is that that it doesn't take into account time.

For example, theoretically there could be a way to harness the energy of the Sun with a Dyson Sphere, but there's a minimum amount of time that will take:

- Our neurons fire at "X" speed, and there's a minimum "Y" amount of things we need to think of before we can build one.

- Light travels at 299,792 km/s, but there's a minimum "Z" amount of things to be seen, or computed and/or moved before one can be built.

- We can harness "N" amount of energy per unit time right now, but there's a minimum "M" amount of total energy that will need to be invested into building one.

I think we can all agree a Dyson Sphere won't appear around the sun tomorrow, or next year. There's a theoretical minimum amount of time, dictated by the laws of physics, for one to be built: and this will be the minimum amount of time it takes to make one even if we achieve maximum efficiency.

This applies to all human development, so IMO the question really isn't "can we figure out how to build X" but rather "how long would it take to build X". Things like fracking do sound like low-hanging fruit compared to the things we'd have to invent in the future to keep the status-quo. I'm sure theoretically we could invent a lot of things, but as we run out of the low-hanging fruit, can we invent them in time?


Malthus’ predictions were proven incorrect. The predictions of climate models — less rainfall, increased temperatures, less arable land — have proven correct. Not to mention that observable behavior matches those same models. If anything, the models have understated the direness of the situation: both the Arctic and Antarctica are warming far faster than even the most pessimistic models predicted.

You are claiming that because one man was wrong that all men are wrong. That is dangerously absurd.


No I'm not claiming that. I'm claiming that there's something to learn from the history of similar claims and examining why the assumptions in them ended up not being true, to help possibly mitigate similar assumptions today.


I'm but you can be completely right about having been wrong in the past, but growth is an exponential phenomenon in a world with a fixed amount of resources.

You're just saying "it's worked before, it should work again" as an argument. This is complete garbage.


But population growth rate isn't fixed and currently going down. Half of the the world's countries are below the replacement fertility rate, and would be in exponential population decay if it wasn't for increasing life expectancy.

China is a great example of this if you want to look into their demographic information


"There's a consistent track record of being wrong, we should learn from it" is not garbage, it's the bare minimum for engaging with the topic intellectually and honestly.


In that case, we have destroyed about 50% of the earth's natural biomass and we are near the point of depletion of the earth fish stock.

That means that an order-of-magnitude increase in consumption, which would trivially happen is all of the earth's existing population were to have first-world consumption standards, would completely wipe away a sustainable society.

As far as I know, order-of-magnitude reductions in consumption of basic resources while keeping living standards is not something we are anywhere remotely close to achieving.


Then please allow the late Hans Rosling to put you at ease :) https://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_global_population_gro...


Rosling is right if his population numbers are right. 10% higher and things go very badly.


You mention fixed resources as if we're getting close to the limits of those resources. The premise here is that we are currently capable of fully exploiting the resources of the earth, which is provably false.

A good example of this is the technology cycle of the oil industry. In the 20th century, the primary extraction method for oil was tapping shallow, high pressure oil reservoirs. Oil riggers would drill down less than 1000 feet and oil would come gushing out. As the shallow pockets ran out, the oil industry lamented because they approached a perceived resource constraint. Shortly thereafter, it was found that there was an order of magnitude more proven oil reserves deeper down.

I think society is at a similar nexus today. We're at an inflection point between the end of a lot of steep growth curves (oil and gas production, population growth, [possibly] economic development in the West) and the beginning of a lot of new ones (replacing oil with sustainable energy sources, material science, bioengineering, nanotechnology, space exploration). In all of those realms, it's painfully clear that we're a far ways away from the extent of available resources.

Let's consider artificial energy consumption by humans today. In total, humanity consumed ~500 PWh in 2019 [1]. Power flux of the earth is 173 PW; annualized, earth's energy flux is ~15 million PWh. That means that we consume 0.003% of the energy that is incident the earth. Clearly we're not getting close to the fixed resources of the earth.

In this view, global warming and resource consumption are still existential concerns, but we are working against perceived limits rather than today's physical limits. Humans are really good at making technology that increases the exploitable resources at our disposal. I'm relatively confident that we'll build technology to save us from extinction, but perhaps not from societal collapse.

[1] I summed the consumption from 2019 in the spreadsheet available here: https://ourworldindata.org/explorers/energy?country=USA~GBR~...


Oil extraction and the extraction of rare metals mined for solar panels are still limited by the basic laws of thermodynamics. In that context, oil extraction is become ever more inefficient and there is nothing we can do about it.

And in the context of resource extraction, it comes at the cost of a reduction in biomass and biodiversity. It is a laughable claim that we are anywhere remotely close to working towards, let alone reverse, the damage we've done to the biosphere.


The problem with this argument is that it puts us in a very tenuous position: humans need to get over every resource squeeze. Any critical limit that we don't find a technological workaround for in time becomes an extinction threat. In other words: you need to be right every time, I only need to be right once.


Economic growth doesn't consume an exponential amount of resources, it works by increasing productivity, which uses fewer resources.

Human population is definitely not growing exponentially either.


> Economic growth doesn't consume an exponential amount of resources

Right now it does. GDP growth and resource use have been demonstrated to be pretty tightly coupled, so if economic growth is exponential so is resource use, afaik. It's worth noting that energy is also a resource; it is really hard to de-couple productivity from energy usage.

Check out this article, and Figure 1 specifically: https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/growth-without-econom...


US per capita energy use and total water use peaked around 1980: https://twitter.com/Noahpinion/status/1407626765799878660

Total non-renewable energy use seems set to peak soon. Even ignoring tech improvements, economic growth comes from services, which means trading imaginary things between each other.


The USA has also exported large amounts of its industry to other countries, hence it's important to look at global figures.


Malthus wrote in 1798. maybe he was a little off.

turn it around. there is a clearly a level of population and resource consumption where starvation sets in and consumption drops.

you may personally believe that there is a lot of road left, but you seem to be asserting that it just never ends.


Are the technologies used to "beat" these predictions sustainable? There's no evidence that our current population level is even sustainable.

"Which is all to say, that this statement has been proven demonstrably false more often in the past than it has been proven true"

This is a very complex system, and like the saying goes for another well-known complex system "past performance is not a guarantee of future performance".


Global warming and the heat domes killing crops will be a problem.


All organisms can modify their own environment. Humans are not special. Malthus may have been wrong about the 19th century, but what is a couple hundred years? Life on Earth has been evolving for a much longer period of time.

I wouldn't discredit Malthus too soon.


Over population is not an issue for two reasons.

1 - Birth rates are falling. We’re getting pretty damned close to the peak of human population. There are some very easy steps we can do to expedite this, such as helping reduce infant mortality rate among the global poor, a move that is known to reduce fertility rates too.

2 - Consumption is wildly uneven among the world’s population. Focusing on population implies that those areas with high fertility rates are the issue, when in fact the primary limiting factor is and will remain the high consumption rate of the world’s richest nations.


Population momentum means population will peak at 11.2 billion people near the end of the century [1] before it declines. Total fertility rate drop isn't happening fast enough (need to get closer to 1 vs 2.1 replacement rate), and we've already locked in the expansion to 11.2 billion. 3 billion people can't afford to get enough nutrition [2]. That number will increase before it decreases.

Consider we're already on the path to exceed our carbon budget [3], and billions of people are trying to climb out of poverty (which requires fossil fuels, resources, and food production, which we are already managing....poorly and unsustainably). Many countries still offer funds to people to have children and have pro-natalist policies (to goose economic policy and pay for elderly entitlements and stave off the economic contraction). We're not just headed off the cliff; we're pushing our foot on the gas.

TLDR Those who consume the most will need to consume less, and even then there is likely not enough to go around for first world standards for all.

[1] https://ourworldindata.org/future-population-growth

[2] https://ourworldindata.org/diet-affordability

[3] https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-how-much-carbon-budget-...


Yes, there is work to be done. But I really really dislike the overpopulation and “tough decisions” narrative because:

1) It places the onus and blame on the people that are currently not the problem.

2) It implies that we must force people to have fewer kids, when evidence shows that women universally want to have fewer kids given the choice. We don’t need to coerce them, we need to help them.


Physical systems don't really care how distasteful ideas are. I don't mean to be rude, at all, but facts are life isn't fair. Climate systems don't sit around arguing over the equitability of development rights based on who emitted carbon when.

Rich countries burned fossil fuels for 100+ years to develop. Does anyone think those countries are going to revert to much lower standards (somewhere between European and developing country standards) to give that same advantage to developing countries? Absolutely not.

EDIT: I want to be very clear before my edit window expires; I do not believe anyone should be forced not to have kids (although I would be onboard paying folks who choose not to have kids a direct transfer payment, just as it's not taboo to pay people to have kids and many governments do it). But I also believe no one should have one or many kids if their socioeconomic circumstances don't allow for it. We should absolutely strive to empower and educate women, as you mention this causes a natural decline in fertility rates [1].

[1] https://ourworldindata.org/fertility-rate#empowerment-of-wom...


> I don't mean to be rude, at all, but facts are life isn't fair. Climate systems don't sit around arguing over the equitability of development rights based on who emitted carbon when.

I’ll put it simpler: you are completely wrong about what needs to be done and by whom.

Accidentally or not, you are repeating the narrative of eugenicists who are obsessed with over population in the global south, rather than the actual facts on the ground. We need to focus on de-carbonizing our industry, rather than the reproduction rate of those who currently consume the fewest resources per capita.


I argue helping people live better lives through education, robust family planning options and availability, and direct cash payments is not eugenics, but feel free to call me whatever you'd like. I'm comfortable with my position based on a foundation of empathy and pragmatism. I believe all human beings should be treated with dignity and respect.


I’m not calling you a eugenicist, I am worried you’re accidentally repeating their points. We absolutely can and should do what we can to help the global south, but focusing on over population as a source of our ills is a eugenicist talking point.

The problem is, and always has been our dependence on fossil fuels to increase our standard of living. Solve that, and the difference between 7-10billion humans is moot


This is probably not a popular opinion here, but I'm actually quite optimistic on our transition from fossil fuels to renewables. Things have been progressing nicely and I expect that progress to dramatically accelerate over the next 15 years.


I’m actually feeling pretty optimistic too. The fact that my house is currently a net exporter of green energy is certainly helping my mood in this area.


Just want to say I appreciate the discussion you two are having. Excellent points from the both of you. And it's nice to see a civilized discussion for once.


> … "it's nice to see a civilized discussion for once."

I've seen far more of that here than just about anywhere else on the Web where news is discussed. I appreciate it greatly, and the world needs more of it for sure.


"But I also believe no one should have one or many kids if their economic circumstances don't allow for it."

In EU area you can have as many children you like and the social safety nets will generally carry you trough caring for your child.

I suggest you use some other means of argumentation than wealth of parents, as that is a non-issue here (mostly).


Europe is also well below its replacement rate at ~1.5 children per woman.


"It places the onus and blame on the people that are currently not the problem."

This isn't necessarily true. There are many families in developed countries that have more than 2 kids. If you limit families to 2 kids then you could see the fertility rate drop lower (ideally fertility and immigration growth together would be under the replacement rate in developed countries).

"It implies that we must force people to have fewer kids, when evidence shows that women universally want to have fewer kids given the choice. We don’t need to coerce them, we need to help them."

This is generally true, but ignores outliers and the association with other factors. You generally only see the decline in fertility rate in areas that have lower infant mortality, which is also usually associated with a more modern lifestyle and economic conditions. You still have a subset of women in developed countries having a ton of kids for other reasons, like they want a big family, or religious things like the Hassidic community.


Whats wrong with some people having many kids, if the average still remains low?


If the average is low enough, then nothing. If the goal is to reduce consumption in high consumption developed countries, then you need it to drop low enough that the total population growth is at or below replacement (like birth rate + immigration).


While its possible that climate change may slow or reverse this trend, the number of people globally experiencing malnutrition has actually been falling over time.

https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/share-undernourished-regi...


All data indicates that climate change will diminish crop yields [1] and ocean life harvests [2] [3] [4]. If there is data to the contrary, I am open to consuming it to update my mental model.

> Researchers combined a global dataset of field warming experiments conducted at 48 sites to estimate decreased yields of 7.1 percent for maize, 5.6 percent for rice, 10.6 percent for soybean and 2.9 percent for wheat. Their estimates were 95 percent probable for the first three staples and 89 percent for wheat.

> In response, “technological and adaptive measures, such as northern expansion of the croplands, will thus have to increase yield by 1.8–2.0 percent per year to meet the conservative estimates of a 70 percent increase in food demand,” the researchers wrote.

> However, that required rate is higher than the historical yield increases in the late 20th century, “which is both challenging and alarming, considering the stagnating yield increases widely observed for the past decade,” they concluded.

[1] https://allianceforscience.cornell.edu/blog/2020/11/global-c...

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/29/climate/climate-change-oc... (Warming Waters, Moving Fish: How Climate Change Is Reshaping Iceland)

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/28/climate/fish-climate-chan... (The World Is Losing Fish to Eat as Oceans Warm, Study Finds)

> If current population trends continue at the same rate, the world will need to double its food production by 2050. To compensate, world leaders are consistently looking toward fisheries to be a critical source of protein for millions of people.

> In 2016, 171 million tons of fish were taken from the sea, and that number is expected to rise to 201 million over the next 10 years.

(my note: I have serious doubts this is sustainable)

[4] https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/clima... (Climate change is depleting our essential fisheries)


Regarding carbon, while it is possible we’ve already exceeded our budget on the pessimistic end, on the optimistic end (that we have 15 years), the current growth of PV alone is enough to for me expect it will turn out… well, ‘fine’ isn’t the right word but “not catastrophic” at the least.

Phosphorus, biodiversity, stuff like that? Still a concern.


> 3 billion people can't afford to get enough nutrition

Depending on the country, 1/3rd to 1/2 of all produced food goes to waste - and a lot of that is due to customers expecting that every supermarket has to have their particular brand of generic, short shelf-life goods (e.g. yogurt, salads and other vegetables, baked goods) on stock 24/7 and similar absurdities. And any suggestion to curb that shit, either by limiting the amount of different brands available in stores or to limit the time slots in which customers can expect fresh goods, gets quickly shot down by outrage mobs fearing the advent of socialism (which is associated with empty shelves).

As for the "can't afford" part: we need to get global wealth disparity under control, and especially us Europeans and Americans have to stop killing African textile and food industry by "donating" our excesses.

> Many countries still offer funds to people to have children and have pro-natalist policies

Anti-natalist politics are by definition always walking on the cliff of eugenics. Any attempt of restricting who is allowed to reproduce or how much will always lead into selection questions - China for example now suffers from a vast lack of women, as parents aborted or murdered female newborns, and I don't want to get started with the horrors that the Nazi regime committed.

The best and especially humane solution to curb overpopulation is to reduce poverty and increase healthcare - it has been shown that once people from a population get lifted in wealth so they don't need to have ten kids to have three survive to adulthood and one to take over their care in old age, child birth rate automatically drops!


"The best and especially humane solution to curb overpopulation is to reduce poverty and increase healthcare - it has been shown that once people from a population get lifted in wealth so they don't need to have ten kids to have three survive to adulthood and one to take over their care in old age, child birth rate automatically drops!"

... and per capita consumption of resources increase, usually creating a large net increase in resource consumption based in the modern lifestyle.


> "… and per capita consumption of resources increase, usually creating a large net increase in resource consumption based in the modern lifestyle."

Exactly why such a complex issue cannot be solved with one or two simple solutions as so many seem to think. We need to reduce consumption and abuse of limited resources and normalize such behavior in the minds of human society as a whole. Especially among those most actively doing said abusing and (wasteful) consuming. We also need to be more open to the idea of change, because change is coming whether we like it or not. There's a terrifyingly large portion of humans in decision-making positions on this planet who are fighting tooth-and-nail to maintain an unsustainable "growth oriented" status-quo.


"There's a terrifyingly large portion of humans in decision-making positions on this planet who are fighting tooth-and-nail to maintain an unsustainable "growth oriented" status-quo."

That's because our economies would collapse. Most of the population don't want the restrictions that would be necessary. So how do we change societal and individual views to give up the freedoms and resources that we have been enjoying?


The nutrition problem is a social problem, not a technical problem.


This only holds true if you are ok with areas with high birth rates and low consumption remaining poor and refusing to let them migrate to the rest of the world, which seems a hugely unlikely scenario in practice.

It seems most likely that either these areas will develop economically and thus consumption will rise, or their skyrocketing populations and lack of development will cause rising internal tensions/crises and pressure to emigrate to the higher-consumption parts of the world. Most likely some of both.

"Adding 2.5 billion poor people to the planet in 80 years won't be a problem because we'll ensure they stay impoverished and in their home countries" isn't really as palatable a solution to overpopulation as you make it sound.


Your point is true if and only if we cannot decouple standards of living and carbon emissions. Then again if that’s true then we are doomed; restricting the world’s poor from breeding or consuming would not be enough to save this planet, the global rich currently produces more than enough CO2 to damn us all.

The only way to save our species is to find a way to decouple standards of living from carbon production. Anything else is insufficient and can only delay the inevitable at best.


"Your point is true if and only if we cannot decouple standards of living and carbon emissions."

There are other concerns like food production, soil erosion, fish stocks, loss of biodiversity, etc. Its not just about CO2.


You assume that our current population is sustainable. Is it? We aren't living sustainable lives. Sure, this varies by country, but I believe this is globally true.

We are expected to peak well beyond our current level. Estimates are about 10-11 billion - a 25%+ increase.

A major problem with your infant mortality comment and consumption comment is that reducing infant mortality is also associated with modern lifestyles and an increase in consumption. Consumption patterns change as the mortality and fertility rates drop and economic opportunities increase. Our economies are built on consumerism and spending. We see this trend in developing nations today (you have to compare for various demographics, not just the country level).


It’s not sustainable, and that has absolutely nothing to do with population count and everything to do with how we’ve structured our society. We could eliminate everyone but America and it still wouldn’t be sustainable, it would just take longer to tip over into disastrous global warming.

It is literally impossible to make a society sustainable via birth rate alone, which is why I object to the argument vigorously. The only solution is to find a way to make our society and technology sustainable, rather than just hoping that birth control will fix it.


"It is literally impossible to make a society sustainable via birth rate alone, which is why I object to the argument vigorously."

And who is making that argument? This isn't what I'm saying at all.

"The only solution is to find a way to make our society and technology sustainable, rather than just hoping that birth control will fix it."

I'm asking is our current global population level sustainable? It sounds like that's a no. There is at least point-in-time population limits to what our "sustainable" system can handle based on advances in technology and societal restrictions. I use quotes here because we do not have a sustainable system, and the number of people who can be sustainably supported is at least billions lower than we are at today given today's technology.

It has to be a combinations of available sustainable tech/lifestyle and having a population that doesn't exceed the limits of sustainability.


> I'm asking is our current global population level sustainable? It sounds like that's a no.

At the current levels, it is not. If we shifted over to renewables then it would be.

I find focusing on the population extremely weird, given that the vast majority of emissions are coming from a relatively small portion of rich nations. We could eliminate the entire global south and still tip this planet into disastrous global warming purely based on the emissions of small, rich countries in the north.

Put more blatantly, I find that a lot of the discussion about overpopulation is an attempt to put the blame of global warming and our sustainability problems on those who emit the least per capita. There is very little merit to discussions about controlling population size while rich nations continue to depend on fossil fuels to maintain their standards of living.


"If we shifted over to renewables then it would be."

How would that help soil erosion, food production/waste? How would that help with other resource use like metals, timber, fish stocks, etc? There is a lot more to sustainability than just CO2. Even looking just at that, where can we get that much lithium, copper, concrete/asphalt substitute, silicon for solar, etc? There are restrictions to the resources we use and process.

"Put more blatantly, I find that a lot of the discussion about overpopulation is an attempt to put the blame of global warming and our sustainability problems on those who emit the least per capita."

Where was that said? That's not what I'm saying. You still seem to be focused solely on fossil fuels here ("emit"). As nations develop, they will also adopt a more modern and higher consumption lifestyle. This is a global trend that also applies to developed nations continuing to get richer and indulge in having an even better life (eg parents always want more for their kids than they had for themselves, substantial numbers of people want the newest iPhone, look at house size over time, etc).


I do agree with your overall point. That said, while an impoverished family with a dozen children isn't consuming much today, inevitably, they're going to consume a lot more as their nation gets wealthier, which is what's happening in Asia. As you alluded to, the solution is to develop these countries more quickly, so they'll no longer be incentives to have more children.


But the birth rate isn't really the point. It's a proxy for consumption. As the nation gets wealthier, the per capita consumption goes up and generally creates a net increase in consumption.


The point is that developing countries will increase their per capita consumption regardless. If birth rate decreases with level of consumption/gdp, you want to accelerate into it, thereby limiting the peak total consumption.

For example, it would be better if Nigeria hit a European standard of living and stabilizes population sooner at say 400 million people. The alternative is they grow per capita consumption more slowly and hit an EU standard and stabilize later at 1 billion people.


"The point is that developing countries will increase their per capita consumption regardless. If birth rate decreases with level of consumption/gdp, you want to accelerate into it, thereby limiting the peak total consumption."

Generally the accelerations coincide with one another. The only reason the population is increasing now is because some developments are being taken advantage of like food supply and medical care.

It depends if sooner is better. Many times it's easier to implement new technologies from scratch rather than revamp old infrastructure. If we rush implementation, then it can just be a waste of resources (look at sewage treatment in many parts of Africa that modeled it after the US).


I wonder once birthrates stabalise globally whether we will be back into a Malthusian economic cycle since we invest in sales and growth.


> Of course there are growth and population limits, and we are close to them.

No science agrees with this. All the models suggest there is a huge amount of land and resources available for a massive rise in population, but population models suggest humans will tap out at about 9 billion due to declining fertility just about everywhere except Nigeria.

Because there is no alignment between resource production and population growth rates local effects continue to impose the greatest limitations just like with other animals. For example humans are really good at finding food. An efficient international network to distribute food further solves that problem, but if a population in a given locale exceeds the capacity of that local to distribute food people will starve despite food availability and human capabilities.

If, as an economic aside, wolves hunt all the rabbits in a given location wolves will starve even if there are other food options and wolves can travel hundreds of miles. That is because a population density in a single location is invariably tied to the food capabilities of that location and changes take additional effort at expenses otherwise not necessary. When those wolves starve in the given locale that has no bearing on the world total wolf population, which is likely regular and stable. Humans have the same limitations due to population densities.


A lot higher than 9 billion

https://www.un.org/en/global-issues/population

"No science agrees with this"

Sources?

Using your wolves example, people can move to locations that are more developed and have the infrastructure for more food distribution. The main problem is that most people are so far removed from their food sources that they don't really think about whether there will be enough for their kids. You could have people starving to death, or something wolves dont have - global conflict.


According to your article 9 billion is still a safe estimate:

The world population is projected to reach 8.5 billion in 2030, and to increase further to 9.7 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100. As with any type of projection, there is a degree of uncertainty surrounding these latest population projections. These figures are based on the medium projection variant, which assumes a decline of fertility for countries where large families are still prevalent, as well as a slight increase of fertility in several countries with fewer than two children per woman on average. Survival prospects are also projected to improve in all countries.


Do you have any sources to support your claim?

The quote you give says this is the medium estimate. We would have to know the low and high to know if your estimate is "safe".


I would have to look up source just the same as you. It just comes from various things I have read over the years.


Can you show that source. I don't see one.


> "Using your wolves example, people can move to locations that are more developed and have the infrastructure for more food distribution."

This assumes that people can move to such locations. We live in a society where most "developed" nations will on one day happily accept and try to help refugees from terrible situations, and on another day will shoot those same refugees at the border and call them "invaders".

And then there's the simple issue of many such people in dire need of leaving their current home simply being unable to at all. Undertaking the travel necessary to attempt to reach a "more developed" nation would be a death sentence in and of itself for some (for varying reasons).


> Oh and China is now suggesting 3 kids per couple will be to tolerated.

To rephrase it a bit. China is now suggesting 27h for optimal Earth rotation.

It's never going to happen. Their population is going downhill fast.


Yeah, largely as a result of their one-child policy, the cost of raising a child in China has gone through the roof. People poured everything into getting the very best for their child (and grandparents did the same).

My definite impression is that most new couples in China are worrying about how they'll afford one child, not debating whether or not to have a third.


This also seems to support the idea that as fertility tolerates drop, per capita resource consumption rises to meet a more modern lifestyle.


It might not be feasible for China to get to 3 kids per couple, but it points out there's a natural tension between governments that want population growth for economic reasons and a need to reduce population growth (if there aren't major technological breakthroughs that reduce the pressure of overpopulations).


> few talk about population and consumption as the main driver for that.

This seems like the elephant in the room to me. It's almost never discussed, at least in the US, but as you say, it's the driver for global warming, ecological devastation, and resource constraints of all kinds. Us humans love to talk about our ability to adapt to new environments, but our lack of willingness to plan long-term is highlighting that our adaptability is not universal.

Edit: in before 'but what about the economic growth?': that's the point. Growth is not sustainable, at least when growth is related to resource utilization.


Technological improvement is growth. That isn't intrinsically tied to increasing resource utilisation.


It isn't entirely separate either. Often increases in efficiency direct increases in consumption. This observation was made by the English economist William Stanley Jevons and is known as Jevons paradox[1]. More recently, the economists Daniel Khazzoom, Leonard Brookes, and others have analyzed this relationship[2].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jevons_paradox

[2] http://www.iaee.org/en/publications/ejarticle.aspx?id=1091


It is a political non starter. US population growth is driven by immigration, not birth rates.

Focusing on population reduction in other countries is politically toxic. It is too conceptually close to eugenics, genocide, and racial conflict. That said, the idea of reducing population growth still underpins efforts to improve the standard of living the third world, it just isn't branded as such.


> Of course there are growth and population limits, and we are close to them.

This has been true for nearly all of human history. The thing about technology is that it changes what the limits are.


Yes, and we don't know if the current population level is even sustainable. Just look at problems cause by our current technologies like fossil fuel based... everything (oil, gas, plastics, synthetic fertilizers, etc).


Changing limits does not eliminate them entirely, however. There are still limits, and those limits can still be exceeded.


An exponential growth phenomenon is still limit by the basic laws of thermodynamics.


> Oh and China is now suggesting 3 kids per couple will be to tolerated...

This phrasing, specifically "tolerated," implies a misunderstanding of the motivation behind the change in policy.

The CCP is not "tolerating" up to three children per family; it is doing its usual ham-handed best to encourage it. China has blasted right through stage 3 (thanks to one-child) into stage 4 of the Demographic Transition Model, and is staring down the precipice of stage 5, where the likes of Japan already find themselves.

If you're not familiar with the DTM: https://populationeducation.org/what-demographic-transition-...


"Oh and China is now suggesting 3 kids per couple will be to tolerated..."

China came up with the same problem that all developed economies have come up against - low birthrate, and the all the economic baggage that comes with it.

I find it unlikely the party could pump up birth rate just by dictate though.


The problem is thinking of it as a problem. You can't have a sustainable system that requires birthrate (really a proxy for output and consumption) that increases infinitely.


It is absolutely a problem if population shrinks too fast. There is a threshold where the young literally can't feed care for the elderly.


And we are nowhere near shrinking too fast, especially since industrialization and automation provide the ability for a couple people to provide food/care for many.


Depends on what you mean by we. This is a real concern in countries like Japan, China, and Korea. Less on the food side, and more on care and services side.


So many doomsday takes here. For me, this is the important tidbit:

> Although both the business-as-usual and comprehensive technology scenarios point to the coming end of economic growth in around 10 years, only the BAU2 scenario “shows a clear collapse pattern, whereas CT suggests the possibility of future declines being relatively soft landings, at least for humanity in general.”

> Both scenarios currently “seem to align quite closely not just with observed data,” Herrington concludes in her study, indicating that the future is open.

What this is saying is that while one model predicts a more catastrophic scenario, the other predicts a slow drag (and even the catastrophic one doesn't necessarily mean the end of the world so to speak). But I don't think we need to go as far trying to predict things: you can just look at how resource-constrained economies are doing today: various places around the world are already forced to do water rationing, for example.

If there's anything the whole global warming doom and gloom got wrong is the idea that it would affect the whole world more or less the same way everywhere. But now, studies and news articles both show that these events are going to deviate from averages (e.g. pockets of extreme forest fires in specific locations due to local weather conditions, predictions of ocean tides raising by nearly a foot in specific locations depending on specific astronomic conditions). It doesn't seem like a stretch to postulate that the effects of a collapse are already here for some places in the world, in one form or another, such as what we already see with water shortages or flood seasons due to pollution or forest fire seasons.

Rather than some scenario where the entire world breaks out in civil war, it seems more logical to think that society will continue to live in a business-as-usual sort of way for a long time, except with ever increasing rates of location-specific annoyances/inconveniences/inequalities (e.g. no water tuesday or $70/lb salmon or terrible air quality for two months per year or what have you).


Talking about resources needs to specifically call out fresh water management. It's not exactly a shortage but it's more essential than oil.

When upstream dams a river, does downstream shrug and walk away? What about collecting rainfall on your own property? Ecology? Agriculture? Industry (hello Nestle)? Droughts affect power: Hoover dam is below capacity because Lake Meade is about 100 feet low and falling, plus Oroville dam is expected to shut down power this summer. Does this mean spinning up more carbon generators to fill in the hydro gaps? Desalination and pumping both take power. So many issues.


Identifying a specific time frame significantly de-legitimizes this study, but its broad case - excluding any change of technology or societal behavioral shifts - is entirely valid. Merely global warming and AI reducing jobs and resources alone in the next 50 years is likely sufficient to cause severe changes to 'society' in its current form. Societies and species follow periods of advance and decline in both short and long-term and being in a state of surplus, we fail to recognize this or dismiss it as irrelevant and only impacting our own lifespan.


Assertions like that made in the title of this article are completely ridiculous.

Imagine a person driving a car towards a concrete wall at 100 kph. If they keep driving 100 kph, they hit the wall in 2040. So do we predict that they hit the wall in 2040? NO. Any person in their right mind will hit the breaks, swerve, turn the car, etc. Not to mention, some clever entities may devise a way to destroy the wall or move it further down the road.

Many comments here talk about "at the current rate of consumption, XYZ will happen." The current rate will not be constant. As we approach the wall, the wall will push back on us with a force that is inversely proportional to our distance from it.

People, stop predicting the future with so much confidence. The smartest people have shown time and time again that they can't even predict trivial things. The balance of probabilities says that they'll be wrong again. Face it: in the grand scheme of things, we're not that smart.


except the car has multiple steering wheels, one for each passenger. final direction input is a black box convergence function across all of them.


> Any person in their right mind will

Hmm..


Hahahah! You saw that, too, eh? ;)

Humanity as a whole is clearly not "in their right mind". :(


Club of Rome hiring people to preach The Apocalypse 7.0, again and again and again.


In Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy of science-fiction books, one of my favorite ideas was of "full-planet" (?) business models.

It posited that most business models were based on growth: sell more widgets to the population. Build more and more things. But the world markets are saturated, so there emerged a new approach of full-market business models, for example focused on repair, maintenance, and recycling.

(this was a key conflict in the book, with the old actors trying to expand into Mars, which wanted none of it, and Mars finding new allies in the proponents of sustainable/renewable business)


The usual way to address this is to have wars. Destroy lots of stuff and now you can make big loans for the rebuilding. This is why the economy boomed for a while after WWII.



The graphs are so unspecific that it would fit in a fanfiction for Sid Meier's Civilization. "Resources" and "Pollution"? What resources and what pollution?


Also how would pollution still be growing exponentially if population and industrial production dropped off substantially?


The Club of Rome is a standard bogeyman in conspiracy circles [1]. They are painted as pushing for significant depopulation, through whatever means necessary.

If you consider involuntary depopulation as a form of societal collapse, I wonder how much of this will be a self fulfilling prophecy.

[1] http://conspiracywiki.com/new-world-order/club-of-rome/


The LtG projections show a wide variety of outcomes depending on the scenario being modeled.

The thing that jumps out from what are otherwise very different graphs is that we are now in a place where there is high sensitivity to inputs: IF population growth stops, IF we transition to renewables, etc. outcomes are much less bad than if we crash through all the guardrails.

Conventional economic metrics are like watching the tachometer when the engine is overheating.


Exponential growth on a finite planet. What could go wrong.


Technology has blessed us. We've come up with "super straws" to extract oil incredibly efficiently giving us cheap oil, we've devised huge barges which act essentially as vacuum cleaners for fish in the ocean giving us incredibly cheap fish.

The problem is that this skews the curve that would normally slowly taper supply down, which would increase prices and lower demand.

Now, instead, because of this blessed technology, we'll march quickly on full demand to the end and have nothing left. We'll empty the oceans of all the cheap fish and won't know until it's all gone.


Highly recommend this Joe Rogan episode with David Sinclair [1]. He touches on population growth, fertility rates, and technology. Most importantly, what the impact of living longer will have. I've dug deeper than the podcast and read some of his writing on population and it's really interesting stuff. It may make you rethink the "we'll breed to our doom" mantra.

[1] https://open.spotify.com/episode/55UlxYWPfV46f7puMkZPeD


Growth will stabilize and eventually the global population will decrease. Soon the problem won't be too many people but too many old people without enough kids/robots to replace them.


Why would growth continue to be exponential?

>The 2019 forecast from the United Nation's Population Division (made before the COVID-19 pandemic) shows that world population growth peaked at 2.1% per year in 1968, has since dropped to 1.1%, and could drop even further to 0.1% by 2100

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Projections_of_population_grow...


>and could drop even further to 0.1% by 2100

That is still exponential.


Don't worry, a future technology will fix everything. Now get out there and buy a new car, buddy.


But it's not going to continue forever. AFAIK we're supposed to level out in 2100.


60 years after the collapse of society, if the date in the heading is correct.


The KPMG research about the Limits to Growth scenarios is at https://advisory.kpmg.us/articles/2021/limits-to-growth.html

It is titled "Update to limits to growth: Comparing the World3 model with empirical data".


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