In Poland, where I come from, a few years ago a right wing populist party won the elections partially due to proposing a child subsidy called 500+. At the time it was the highest direct cash child subsidy-per-GDP in the world. While it did push many poor families over the poverty line, the impact on fertility was modest at best.

As a libertarian, I have always been against high taxation and welfare. However the more I think of it, I see no better option that BIG direct cash subsidies - way bigger than 500+/800+(as updated this year) or anything else that has been tried elsewhere.

The root cause of fertility issues is that in WEIRD countries, having (many) children is signalling low status. Single, childless couple = high status. This needs to be flipped. One way the governments could try to accomplish it is with ad campaigns, billboards, propaganda - we all know how poorly this usually works out. But what the government CAN do effectively is tax and redistribute.

Many young middle class people say that they can't afford having children. The subsidy system should be designed such that young people could not afford NOT having children.

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the biggest problem is that the window of having children is so small (maybe two decades) and badly overlaps with being/becoming adult (mature) enough to be a good parent (two decades minues 5-10 years) and this clashes badly with education required to do anything in a modern economy so one can be materially in a good place to raise children well enough. This is good because it means the means to produce meat waves of soldiers for the glory of psychopathic leaders like Putin... is now past. Fertility extension is a better option to blue sky into being than life extension per se. Bu tmaybe they are linked.

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I expect spending more for fertility will just make it that much more expensive to have kids, without much counterfactual increase in the number of kids. School, and safety-related regulations will just increase. So I don't see why it is a fertility failure. Though I admit there's not enough data on direct cash payment to parents, so not doing any tests there would be a big failure.

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This seems to assume that falling fertility is a bad thing, and not just a natural response to increasing wealth that will level out at some point.

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Thank you for raising awareness on the issue.

There are likely multiple combining effects that need to be investigated separately to understand individual effects and it is definitely a human issue, not affecting animals.

What should be looked at in the assessment of risks is the trend, speed of change, and it is consistent, allowing to make reasonable predictions for extinction within 30 years unless handled now.

There should be more posts and information like yours, more research and solid simple individual recommendations for everyone to follow based on that.

There are more details on https://archive.md/ScgMy#selection-1301.0-1365.132, taken from https://twitter.com/OwenGregorian/status/1747628014513365385

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Maybe a better way would be to not promote fertility for an extended period of time until there is a great decline in population.

Of course if we do that then the population becomes too aged.

So my first argument is wrong.

However the very problem democracy faces is it predicts democracy is the solution, and then becomes infertilely incapable of predicting psychological change created by social change then sterile. The idea that democracy has changed by giving group x rights and then y more rights has accomplished anything is ridiculous because it has not first predicted and prepared for the consequences of giving group x and then group by the vote. Backlash then is created that is directly responsible for the unprepared community. First we need to prepare society for change by preparing it to understand the very concept of what change is. If people are going to live in a hurricane they need to learn that the hurricane is going to occur and instead being annoyed at the disruption caused by the hurricane but to prepare by being able to utilize the benefits the hurricane brings instead of seeing it as societal disruption.

The society needs to be built around the concept of how to use the hurricane's benefits and not be disturbed by its annoyances.

. The idea of endless sunshine and beaches that is unprepared for the hurricane that doesn't recognize the endless sunshine and beaches are brethren with the hurricane, then creates a "catastrophe" when the hurricane arrives. Instead those wishing to live in the hurricane zone need to be built not around the annoyance of the hurricane but around recognizing their community exists because of the hurricane and the changes that will occur when the hurricane. Instead of trying to rebuild to what was before the hurricane the society will rebuild to what is after the hurricane.

Thus is democracy. If it assumes it is democratic only because it expands rights then it never prepares for the expansion to be a transformation and simply believes it has expanded rights. But it fails when it assumes that expanding rights in a community unprepared for expanding has any value to the community unprepared for its expanding rights in the community. The expansion of rights has to be built on a new societal structure of what it has become after the expansion of rights. It cannot expand rights into what was the society and believe it has accomplished because, like the hurricane, the expansion becomes a catastrophe instead of a benefit to those whose rights have been expanded as well as those unprepared for the expansion.

The idea of democracy, the idea of the environmentalism, are only valid when they recognize the changes that occur require adapting the government or the changing environment to the evolving situation. If we merely think going from one energy to source to another is the solution we are merely rebuilding on the same foundation and will suffer the catastrophe.

When change occurs we should be rebuilding the foundation to adapt to the changes that have occurred. .Otherwise the effects of the catastrophe become increasingly catastrophic, I should think.

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When losing becomes winning.

“...They do not want to give such enemies the satisfaction of admitting they have a point. They’d rather humanity went extinct, if that’s what it takes, than compromise on any treasured value trends. .”

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I’m surprised you don’t have a complex liability and insurance scheme against childlessness instead?

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Ah, my "we're overpopulated and no matter what we do the population will fall to it's equilibrium, so focus on seeingi the right people to the other side of the transition" didn't make it, huh?

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Normally you relish in the nuance of complex topics, but I feel like you did the other side a disservice here. Many of your summaries of arguments against fertility interventions are decent, but you miss the critical one. How much does this matter? There is something in between human extinction and limitless population growth. If the current demographic crisis continues, the population will certainly fall. But to suggest humans will go extinct is a dramatic over exaggeration. Likely the population will fall a bit and level off around 70-80% of current population.

What's the difference between 6 billion people with really amazing quality of life and 12 billion people with mediocre quality of life because resources are so constrained? At this point, we're getting awfully close to the "repugnant conclusion." When you suggested that social liberals are willing to accept the death of humanity to defend their principles, you really lost me. If the choice was "have 10 babies tomorrow or the humanity disappears," i'd obviously have no qualms about making that my life. But that is absolutely not the decision we face and trying to frame it like that will lead to overpopulation.

Assuming we're able to get over the hump of having a disproportionate elderly population (that's where AI / robotics will help), the remaining people who make up the human population will have much better lives for it.

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Fertility is a self-correcting problem. Liberals who do not want children will be supplanted by the religious conservatives who do.

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Thanks Robin. "They are not bothered by people like them having made similar dramatic forecasts for over a century, each time pointing to new never-before-seen machine capabilities". Not a fair comparison. Maybe some people overstated the threat from technology in the past, but with AI very rapidly beating humans at more and more intelligence skills the people around you are making a forecast which is perfectly sensible and in no way over dramatized like some past predictions may have been.

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It not the end of the world, but some places it does not look to good, like China. Japan is in a declining phase. Many countries in Europe will have significant population declines.

In Ukraine millions of childbearing age women have fled and I don't think they are going back. And of course those killed. It's not in the statistics. It's going to be quite a decline I think.

Population Forecasting Charts


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1) More than a "few" years makes it sound like you're talking 20 years. Global population won't start to decline until around a *hundred* years in the future based on current projections. And you've been talking about serious problems multiple hundreds of years ahead. So many things could change in that time, most obviously technology, also possibly thermonuclear war, but also that humans will by then genetically evolve to have higher fertility in the modern high-tech environment where most of us live.

2) This is based on current, huge advances. Wait until OpenAI stops astounding us with their advances for 5 years before saying the revolution is over.

3) Fair enough.

4/5) They do have a point. Why not wait until underpopulation is *actually* a problem, 200+ years from now, if that ever happens, before going for massive speculative investments? Overpopulation is the far more pressing problem right now, and so these massive investments could just make everything worse in the present.

In the short term, the far more budget-efficient way to increase US population would be to increase immigration quotas. But, oops, that goes against right-wing talking points. (And it's not like we need a higher US population right now anyway)

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