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In the long run is the human race dead?

28 Oct 2021 6 month(s) ago

Alarming trends in fertility are possibly pointing to the extinction of the human race.

It is a financial truism that 'demographics is destiny'. It is the best way to predict the future. 

That is certainly true of ageing, which has been a massive economic influence for the last 30 years. It is one of the reasons it has been so difficult to get economic growth. The baby boom after World War II meant growth was easy to achieve. There was population growth and lots of new manufactured products people wanted to buy: fridges, cars, TVs and electronic products of various kinds.

But with fertility dropping by half – most parts of the world are now below replacement rate – and populations ageing, we are in an era of world wide oversupply, especially in secondary goods. Massive improvements in efficiency have also had the contradictoruy effect of slowing economic growth (remember 'economic growth' literally means growth in the rate of transactions).

New types of transactions had to be found and for the last 20 years financialisation made up the gap. It was the process of monetising everything, usually by loading it up with debt. It has kept the transaction ‘spinning top’ going.

But financialisation is largely exhausted, not least because the levels of world debt, well over 300 per cent of global GDP, are now unsustainable. The only way to stop a collapse of the system has been to keep interest rates at near-zero.

It seems there is worse to come; in fact the human race itself is under threat. There has been an alarming decrease in the average sperm count of Western men over the last few decades. Research by Statista has revealed a 59% fall between 1973 and 2011 – from 337.5 million to just 137.5 million.

A Zero Hedge article says:

“Commenting on the decline, lead author of the study, Hagai Levine, said "the results are quite shocking...this is a classic under the radar huge public health problem that is really neglected".

“Going further, Levine warned that "eventually we may have a problem and with reproduction in general. It may be the extinction of the human species." As noted in the research paper, the economic and societal burden of male infertility is high and increasing. The researchers advise that "because of the significant public health implications of these results, research on the causes of this continuing decline is urgently needed."

Fertility research has in the past been criticised for not taking into account the potentially biased sampling methods of earlier studies, citing also the variable of changing laboratory methods. The researchers in this case though say that such issues have been taken into account - only considering samples where the same count method was used, were of an acceptable size and did not include men known to have fertility problem.”

Keynes’ famous investment aphorism: ‘In the long run we are all dead’ may have just taken on an entirely new meaning. The capitalist economic system itself may be dying, and, with no viable alternative – socialism offers no way out – something very new may be in prospect. If we live to see it, that is.

 

Reader note: This is general reporting only and should not be considered in any way to be investment or tax advice. It does not take into consideration the investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any particular investor. For more information please read our disclosure statement.

 

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