Automation, plunging birthrates, and resource scarcity make for a fascinating debate
Yes, I wrote USFDA on purpose. The USFDA is charged with determining if medical products are safe and effective. In the case of injections for Covid, this legal requirement was waived because the Congress and President agreed with 49 governors that there was a health emergency that only the vaccines could fix. (If there are alternative existing effective and safe medicines available for a problem, emergency use authorization cannot be granted.) Under a health emergency, the USFDA can authorize use of a medical product, without as much safety and efficacy testing as customary. Accordingly, the injections were never found to pass the customary USFDA standard of "safe and effective."
You could invite your inlaws to suspend additional injections (for a mere strain of the common cold) because these have not met a safe and effective legal standard, but were instead authorized for emergency use at "warp speed." Under two Federal laws, vaccine makers are legally exempt from liability for any injuries resulting from their products.
It's not just birthrates that are plunging. Fertility is plunging, necessitating in vitro fertilization (IVF) for many young couples who can afford it. Even those who want kids are having a hard time creating them. Some are linking it to the widespread lack of actual sunlight, chronic use of blue lit screens, LED lights and wireless tech in general - all of which mess with our endocrine systems, overall health and thus fertility. In parts of Asia, they discuss what they call the "celibacy syndrome", meaning the "kids" don't even want to have sex. Anyone who came of age in the 60s and 70s knows that we had to try hard NOT to get pregnant. No longer. (btw, the NOT is not shouting, just emphasis :)
I wonder if there is anything else causing a decline in fertility?
I might have once made some of your assumptions.
The insurance CEO who revealed the rise in the death rate among people of working age was the head of a national firm headquartered in Indiana, Lincoln National. He reported about 10-14 months ago.
Insurance firms are not strongly threatened by a surge in the death rate, because they can argue injectees voluntarily chose an experimental treatment not approved as safe and effective by the USFDA.
Likewise, vaccine suppliers are not financially threatened because twice given blanket exemption from liability for harms caused by their products.
Should actuaries speak out in some way, as individuals? They may owe a duty to their employers not to be controversial.
US news media is highly concentrated. 6 conglomerates are estimated to provide 95% of news reporting within the USA. There is not a large independent media keen to investigate why the average life expectancy among Americans took a two or three year drop during 2021.
Nor are there a lot of Congress persons keen to know more, save the senior senator from Wisconsin and possibly a few others. They could require testimony from insurance firms and ask annoying questions.
A good book, in order to learn more, is Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy's Junior's, the Real Anthony Fauci. Another commenter at Mr. Rabino's shows a logo of reading this book.
In 2014, Dr. Vernon Coleman wrote: "Anyone who tells you vaccines are safe and effective is Lying."
In 1998, he wrote: "How to stop your doctor killing you."
In 2006, "Coleman's Laws: twelve essential medical secrets which could save your life."
In 2023, Kennedy published "Vax-Unvax: let the science speak," in collaboration with Brian Hooker.
In 2019, a book was published in Israel, "Turtles all the way down: vaccine science and myth." It is now reissued with a forward by Mary Holland, JD, now heading Children's Health Defense.
In 2015, Dr. Suzanne Humphries and Roman Bystianyk collaborated on "Dissolving illusions: disease, vaccines, and the Forgotten History."
It well known more people have died from the covid injections than from all prior vaccines dating back to the onset of the VAERs data base.
There is a lot of information to learn, if one actively looks for salient information.
Going by traffic there is to many. 😆 Especially California. 101 is not the same as it was years ago. Not even close.
“Are there too many people or too few?”
I agree this is a very interesting subject but I don’t think it’s as complex as it might seem. JR cites three different probabilities
For example, “science” generally claims that procreation is a biological imperative, but I don’t think that’s quite right. The true imperative is “quality of life” (aka “value fulfillment”) not just survival by any means or circumstance. If that’s true then a lot of these questions and issues take care of themselves.
For instance, I would argue that one of the reasons abortion “rights” is so important to so many women - and maybe men as well - is because of quality of life issues. One could argue that the main reason birth rates are dropping in “first world” countries is precisely because of quality of life considerations, but not only for the potential child but the would-be parent(s) as well.
Interestingly, JR identifies the rise of “AI” as being factor and I agree but not for the reason Elon Musk believes. The assumption now is that AI is here to stay and will only proliferate, but I’m not so sure of that in large part because I don’t think AI will actually increase the quality of life for real people, and therefore it won’t be used as much as it could be. One aspect of quality of life is personal value fulfillment, and “personal” implies individuality. AI depersonalizes everything it does and for that reason I think it’s long term adoption will be much more limited than many seem to expect.
I find it absolutely hilarious all these comments saying there are way too many people, yet none of these same offering to set the example of decreasing the population by offing themselves.
Points to take into account:
1. Population figures change slowly. Even catastrophic scenarios just don't kill that many people, and even when there are population booms they are relatively slow, at least these days in most areas. People choosing to have half a dozen children is pretty uncommon in most places.
2. Machines require energy and change fast. Automation is only an issue, when energy is cheap, which makes doing things with machines cheap. Besides, with plentiful energy and food, figuring out jobs for people (any sort of services) is not an issue. But we don't have plentiful energy (fossil fuels are depleting, nuclear isn't widely used and lots of the nuclear fuel is in problematic countries, renewable isn't plentiful). Also, machines break down much more easily than people die.
A middle-of-the road scenario then would look like: automation goes down, the workforce stays roughly the same, which resolves unemployment. Life expectancy goes down as standards of living go down, removing some of the pressure on the workforce to maintain retirees. Essentially, a going-back-in-time scenario.
I have written some of my thoughts on the matter in my blog.
On how to model resource scarcity:
All of which is probably at the same time way too sensible and too far from the mainstream to get any attention whatsoever.
One major point that gets overlooked in discussion on overpopulation is that all current economic systems are based on continual population growth. Without constant growth and constant inflation, our economic systems will crumble, which will, at minimum, lead to real revolutions.
Constant economic growth requires more workers who, in the aggregate, earn more money, which brings more profits, which fund more pay/benefits for workers, which causes tax collections to increase, which supports more government spending, which help continue and increase payments to social programs such as Medicare and Social Security (here in the USA), etc.
The cohesion and future of our economic systems depend on ever higher populations, working at more jobs, which is why the probable reduction in human paid work through automation and AI is something that people should be thinking very hard about.
"The short answer is urbanization. In agricultural societies, children are free labor so people have lots of them. When people move from farms to cramped apartments in crowded cities, kids are more trouble than they’re worth, so families shrink. Today’s world is rapidly urbanizing, so fertility rates are plunging."
So why doesn't this work in Gaza, where the population is high, the land area small, economic opportunity is poor and yet the place is overrun with small kids (50% of the population is under 18)? The answer has to be all the free aid sent into the area (500 trucks full of freebies daily prior to Oct 7th!) illustrating that both rats and humans will exceed natural resource carrying capacity when showered with free support.
Politicians and economists should consider this a lesson for the future.
I suggest that the Malthusian scenario of mass starvation may be tempered or eliminated by one simple fact -- stop wasting food. It is estimated that 1/4 to 1/3 of the food stuffs generated globally end up trashed somewhere along the chain of enterprises from farmer to consumer.
I am afraid that the existential threat is not from what the author provided but what he did not -- energy systems. Or shall we say, the lack of them. Oil may never run out, but it will be clear that its use for certain economic needs will decline. Which is more important to society? We use oil byproducts for medical needs or as a one shot driving a Maybach at 200mph?
Governments have tendencies to take over unprofitable needs/wants. If you speak about future you have to think about future in every aspect.
A.I. aka Artificial Insemination sponsored by governments is one possibility. I do not see populations dying off. Robot bees (people) can be produced artificially as well.
Last I heard Japan was continuing to have no real immigration. It should be able to afford to bring in temporary guest workers to care for it's elderly. And if they can't - well Japan has always been more accepting of suicide than other nations.
Italy has let a lot of immigrants in, as has just about every other European country, and it will lose it's character as a result. The Muslims that have poured in may be a recipe for much worse than the nation changing it's character.
Excess Mortality off the scale concordant with the jaberoos too (multi Zs).
Hi Mr. Rubino,
Always enjoy your comments and your interviews when they occur. That said, your first chart looks like the NASDAQ in early 2000. We know what happened soon thereafter. The second looks like any stock chart you wouldn't want to own or would like to short. But we are speaking of humanity, so in that context, meaningful comments are difficult to say the least. The pyramid of financial risk comes to mind, except at the top is war, death, mayhem and destruction and at the bottom a peaceful life out in the country of a stable nation. The 'market of life' we find ourselves in will require an abundance of caution mixed with a resourceful people able to discern the good from the bad in every manner of life just to survive. Avoiding high risk portfolios of life will be fruitful, sticking with the basics and the addition of a little luck and good fortune. And throw in a prayer also.
On a different note, but related to much of your (and my) portfolio. SMR looks like they will fail. This could put a pretty big dent in uraniums luster. I know there is demand for uranium for existing and other planned systems but this could be a months to years long drag on nuclear power in general. Thoughts?