We’re not going to be the Jetsons.
Our progressive secular elites think this is where we’re going. If only we can be convinced to give up our nostalgic clinging to outmoded ways of thought and social organisation. We just have to get rid of archaic Judeo-Christian thought processes and we’re home free!
This would be fine as a goal (if you like the idea of the whole world being turned into the set for Logan’s Run) except that it’s not coming. There are a lot of problems with this idealistic vision of the future that sci fi has explored quite a lot. Social disparity is a popular issue for exploration. Where are the poor people in this glittering scenario? Is there a working class? Who’s making all this stuff that these shiny, pretty people use? And I’m sure we can imagine a lot more questions to ask.
But there is one thing that is going to stop these even from being questions worth asking. There’s one thing that is happening right now that is going to make 2050 look NOthing like this, one thing until very, very recently (and WAY too late,) no one wants to admit is happening.
In 1950, we understood that having children was a good thing.
By 1970, we’d decided that other people having children was OK, I guess, but it’s not my thing.
By 1980, most people thought that no one should be having children, because humans are a bad thing.
And don’t imagine that it’s just us rich white westerners. People still think (thanks Henry Kissinger) that the African nations are still hugely “overpopulated” and are out-birthing us on a massive scale. But the reality is that human fertility is dropping across the board. It’s a global phenomenon. And fertility rates are on the rise nowhere on earth. The whole world is turning blue.
It is certainly true that in countries where people are the most highly educated, technologically advanced and ready to create the Jetsons world we’ve already had 40 years of lowest-low fertility rates. Somewhere between 2.0 and 1.2 children per woman. And in our advanced, highly educated, wealthy portion of the world the abortion rate (percentage of pregnancies that end in abortions) has been around 1/3 for at least a decade. Not only are we contracepting ourselves into extinction, we’re killing the ones that do make it through.
That means in the countries where the innovators are making all the fun shiny toys in the Jetsons video, there are fewer and fewer of us all the time, and as a consequence, our economies are slowing down. There are fewer working-age people supporting more and more and longer-lived older, unproductive people. There’s a good reason – and it has nothing to do with “compassion for the terminally ill,” that these same countries are now going for various forms of legalised passive and active euthanasia.
(In the western world it is perhaps notable that it is the formerly Catholic nations like Italy and Spain have have been contending for the lowest fertility rates. This fluctuates, but though Italy’s abortion rate is still quite low, in Quebec, once described as the most Catholic nation on earth, the abortion rate for French-speaking people has been as high as 45%… That is, if you were conceived by francophone parents in urban Quebec, you would have about a 55% chance of surviving to birth. Consider for a moment what that means. An infant death rate like that would put urban Quebecois, affluent and highly educated, on a level with the 19th century London working class during a cholera epidemic. Except that in the case of contemporary Quebec it’s being done on purpose and being paid for by the state.)
As our friend Elon Musk said above, the One Child Policy in China has already caused massive demographic problems. The inverted pyramid isn’t a theory in China. Remember a few years ago when western economists were all talking about the ‘sleeping giant’ of China? That giant is busy dying in his sleep, and isn’t going to wake up.