Elon Musk has a responsibility he took on himself.
It consists of alerting the world to the problems and dangers threatening our civilization.
This responsibility is linked to the mission that he has also set for himself. The CEO of Tesla (TSLA) - Get Free Report and founder of SpaceX, who dangles the dream of colonizing Mars in coming years, aims to revolutionize civilization.
As a result, his role as a whistleblower, making him a sort of Cassandra, goes hand in hand with that of beacon and innovator.
But sometimes these alerts go unnoticed or are ignored. So rather than give up, Musk redoubles his efforts and tirelessly repeats his warnings.
This method is the one he adopted concerning what he calls a particular threat to us.
Musk Sees a 'Major Risk to the Future'
This threat is the decline of the world population. The billionaire has been sending alerts about it for several months. His warnings were confirmed recently by China's first population decline in more than six decades.
China, the world's most populous country -- one-sixth of the planet's inhabitants live there -- saw its population decline in 2022. That's a statistic that was unheard of for six decades, and demographers say that it's a historic turning point.
The country's population had doubled since the 1960s, to more than 1.4 billion today.
But in 2022, the number of births in China was 9.56 million, the National Bureau of Statistics reported. At the same time, 10.41 million deaths were recorded. The drop in the population was 850,000 people.
This is a first since 1960-1961, when a famine that began in 1959 killed tens of millions of people. That famine followed the errors of the economic policy known as the Great Leap Forward.
The Chinese announcements had aroused concern about this problem -- but not the urgency that Musk believes it deserves.
The serial entrepreneur has just sounded a new and more urgent alarm following the publication of data by the World Bank.
"Population collapse is a major risk to the future of civilization," the billionaire warned on Jan. 24.
He accompanied his message with a link to data from the World Bank between 1960 and 2020.
The global fertility rate, or the average number of children a woman bears during her lifetime, has sharply dropped during this period, the data show. It went from 4.7 children in average in 1960 to 2.3 children in 2020. If there was a peak at 5.3 children per woman in 1963, the curve is generally declining.
Musk's Solution: Make Babies
A recent study projects that the world's population will peak at 9.7 billion in 2064, before decreasing to 8.8 billion in 2100. But if we follow the curve of the growth rate of world population, demographers say, the population would begin to decline around 2060.
The annual growth rate of world population was 2.1% in the 1970s. Today, this rate is around 1%. And it should go to zero between 2060 and 2070, demographers say.
Twitter users largely shared Musk's urgency. But they pointed out that this was not the first time he had issued this warning. So the fact that he had to renew it suggested that maybe people think it's not so bad to see the world's population decrease.
"It’s amazing how you say this literally every chance you get and still, people don’t believe you," one Twitter user commented.
"I don't necessarily disbelieve him, I just don't have a problem with it. Maybe others feel the same," another user said.
"You cant force it. If people don't want babies, they just aren't going to have them. Forcing people to have kids would be a violation of human rights. Caring for kids is a huge responsibility, you're responsible for teaching them to be good humans. If you don't have it in you, don't," added another Twitter user.
Musk, who is not a demographer, believes that the main solution to this threat is to have more children.
The billionaire, 51, is the father of nine, three of whom were born at the end of 2021.
"People will say, like, well, 'it's too expensive to have a baby'. No. The wealthier they are, the fewer kids you have; the more educated you are the fewer kids you have," the billionaire said last May.