Governments around the world, desperate to raise their birth rates, are offering incentives to parents to make more babies. These can range for one-time cash bonuses to complex parental support systems like subsidized childcare. None of these systems seem to be working. For example, Sweden, which is doing everything right to encourage childbirth, has a fertility rate similar to the USA, which is doing little to support its parents. The core problem with any incentive program is that nothing a government can offer comes anywhere close to the true costs of parenthood. Such incentives may even have the perverse effect of encouraging the wrong kind of people to have children. — Also see DemographicDoom.com — Instagram & Twitter: @DemographicDoom — See episode notes and comments on the video version at j.mp/dd_incentives [ep 26]
"Fictitious wealth" is assets that people think they have that cannot be realized in the long run. You can own stocks, bonds, real estate even cash in a mattress, but none of it has a secure value in the future. All assets are vulnerable to crash, and government actions over the past decade have assured that nearly all of them will. During the Global Financial Crisis, big governments and central banks worked together to rescue the economy, but all they really did is kick the can down the road. Particularly demaging are the runaway deficits of the U.S. government and the low interest rates of the Federal Reserve. Both have given rise to an "everything bubble" that is bound to pop in the 2020s. Glenn Campbell explains the mechanisms involved and how there is little hope for a non-catastrophic resolution. — Also see DemographicDoom.com + Instagram + Twitter. Comment on video at j.mp/dd_fiction [ep 25]
In choosing to have a child, you must accept that you may be imposing pain upon them. For example, they may experience a devastating disease or disability which would have never happen had you not brought them into the world. Life is, by its nature, traumatic, and you can justify imposing this trauma on someone else only if you believe the value of sustaining your culture outweighs the potential risks. Roughly one in ten births is likely to become "problematic" in one way or another, but you do it for the nine successes. In this episode, Glenn Campbell explores several aspects of childhood trauma, including a form that every child must face: "real-life adjustment trauma." Parents create a protected environment for their children which is never easy to escape from. — Also see DemographicDoom.com + Instagram + Twitter. Comment on video at j.mp/dd_trauma [ep 24]
Education in America is in crisis. At the upper end, college graduates are saddled with huge student debt. At the lower end, public education is perpetually underfunded. Presidential candidates promise to fix public education and forgive student debt, but how much can the government afford? Since he is not running for public office, Glenn Campbell can offer a frank analysis: Physical universities are destined for collapse, while the best approach to primary education may be returning to the one-room schoolhouse of the past. — Also see DemographicDoom.com + Instagram + Twitter. Comment on video at j.mp/dd_education
In December 2019, Glenn Campbell looks ahead to the 2020s. Economic and political chaos will explode as the bills of the past come due. Massive protests in France, Hong Kong and Chile are just the beginning, because nearly everyone will be unhappy in the coming years. The core issue is that there is not enough pie to go around. — Also see DemographicDoom.com + Instagram + Twitter. Comment on video at j.mp/dd_decade
If you are in your 30s and haven't had children, should you feel guilty? Is it your responsibility to create a new life to replace your own? Glenn Campbell breaks down the moral issues. Demographic collapse, like climate change, is a complex problem with no single solution. It is good to want to make the world a better place after you are gone, and this may or may not involve raising children. It may take years to figure out what your mission should be, and your solution may be different than everyone else's. The only thing you should feel guilty about is wasting your personal resources on things you know are not important.
Most wealth is stored in the form of "assets"—that is, things you can own that you assume can later be sold or redeemed for money. Assets can include real estate, stocks, bonds, bank accounts and even cash stored in your mattress. The problem with assets is that their value is always speculative, and their value today may not be their value tomorrow. Even cash carries a risk, because inflation could reduce its buying power over time. Glenn Campbell explores the value of assets based on his experience with real estate in Las Vegas.
Civilization is always getting more complex. This is measurable in various ways, including the number of laws on the books and number of job descriptions in employment records. Modern society consists of systems built upon systems. Each new system is intended to solve a problem, but the total mass of these systems eventually outweighs their utility. When a society becomes so complex that it cannot be governed, it eventually collapses. Glenn Campbell explains complexity, based loosely on the work of anthropologist Joseph Tainter. (Search YouTube for "Joseph Tainter complex".)
Few of us would question that the world is overpopulated. In 50 years, the human population has roughly doubled, from 4 billion to almost 8 billion. Wouldn't it be best if humanity brought down it's numbers to a sustainable level, like 4 billion again? Probably, but there is no painless way to get there. If birth rates fall, as has already happened, it leaves us with a huge excess of ailing old people and not enough active workers to support them. In many ways, government and economies are addicted to growth, and when the growth reverses, a plethora of bad effects can be expected.
Throughout the world, birth rates have fallen dramatically, and most countries are now below replacement fertility, or the number of babies needed to refresh the population. Only recently, the world was worried about a "population explosion". Now an implosion seems more likely. Why is this so? Why aren't people having children in the same numbers as they used to? The core reason is simple: People aren't having children because the costs outweigh the benefits.