Elon Musk's frequent warnings about declining birth rates globally underscore a growing movement among Silicon Valley tech billionaires.
Musk, who has fathered 10 children with three women, has repeatedly voiced his concerns about the threat posed by a declining population, often advocating for policies that encourage childbearing.
The Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder has tweeted several times in the past few years about his stance on conception, often espousing pro-natalist views.
"If the alarming collapse in birth rate continues, civilization will indeed die with a whimper in adult diapers,' he wrote in January 2022.
The ideology of natalism promotes reproduction and suggests it is an integral objective of being human. Supporters of the ideology often advocate for high birth rates and policies that promote childbearing and parenthood.
Many natalists worry that falling birth rates in developed countries like the United States and much of Europe will lead to economic collapse, the decimation of civilizations and the gradual extinction of cultures.
"Having children should be incentivized, not be a financial penalty like it is in most countries!" Musk wrote on his social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
"We must create the next generation of humans or spiral into oblivion," he added.
The statement came in response to Katalin Novak, the President of Hungary, who announced several pro-natalist policies. These include tax exemptions for women with more than four children, loan forgiveness for couples after having three or more children and access to government-operated fertility clinics.
The country leads the way on such policies, contributing around 5% of its national GDP to increase birth rates.
However, the concern around demographic decline is widespread. A steadily growing number of countries have adopted pro-natal policies. The United Nations (UN) found that since 1976, the number of countries with pro-natalist policies has gone from 10% to 15% in 2001 and then 28% in 2015.
Expansions in policies that push natalism have been adopted in many nations, including Hungary, Poland, Greece, Korea, Japan, Latvia and Finland.
The U.S. government has warned that the country has seen a drop in fertility across several demographics, including Hispanic Americans, who have had significantly higher fertility rates compared to other ethnicities in the last few decades.
CDC data found that between 2007 and 2022, the U.S. birth rate fell by 22%. Not a single state reported an increase in birth rates, although some experienced a slower decline than others.
According to Bloomberg, Musk has expressed serious concerns about population decline in the U.S. and previously called it a "much bigger issue" than climate change.
In 2021, he donated $10 million through the Musk Foundation to the Population Wellbeing Initiative (PWI), a fertility project located at the University of Texas at Austin.
That same year, he told factory workers that if people do not have more kids, "civilization is going to crumble," Wired magazine reported.
The following year, he said at a Wall Street Journal event that one of the "fundamental constraints" in human progress and innovation is labor, emphasizing that one of the "biggest risks" to civilization is the low birth rate.
Musk has also pushed other wealthy tech entrepreneurs to have children.
"Contrary to what many think, the richer someone is, the fewer kids they have. I am a rare exception. Most people I know have zero or one kid", Musk wrote on Twitter in May 2022.
Insider would later report that a source who worked closely with Musk said the tech billionaire was "very serious" about the idea that wealth is directly correlated with IQ.
The individual also claimed that Musk had urged "all the rich men he knew" to have as many kids as humanly possible.
That concept has steadily permeated throughout Silicon Valley, drawing substantial criticism.
The adoption of natalism among the wealthy elite appears to stem from the longtermism craze that permeated Silicon Valley in the 2010s.
Longertism is an ethical and philosophical view that humanity should have a positive influence on future generations and that by understanding future people have moral worth, the current population can determine how well or poorly their lives may go.
At the time, industry leaders like PayPal founder Peter Thiel, former Google President Sergey Brin and former Oracle CEO Larry Ellison gave billions to biotech companies that they believed could help them and future generations push off or defy death.
Today, that thinking among the elite has shifted to the staples of natalism.
Thiel, alongside venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson, has put substantial funds into fertility centers, expected to hit 78.2 billion dollars by 2025.
Jurvetson, through his Future Ventures investment company, has also dumped millions into the company Gameto, which works with Harvard University to delay the aging of ovaries.
The natalist movement among wealthy Americans is now spearheaded by Malcom and Simone Collins, a married couple who founded the non-profit pronatlist.org.
The wealthy couple have expressed concern that freedom of expression, racial equality, LGBTQ rights and climate awareness could one day cease to exist because of declining birth rates.
The natalist movement has roots in many religions, including Judaism, Islam and major branches of Christianity, such as the Catholic Church. Amish people are one of the most prominent proponents of procreation, averaging 6.8 children per family, according to research.
Simone, a venture capitalist, has said that proponents of their "subculture" believe the "pathway to immortality" is through having more children.
The couple, who has three kids, wants to have up to 13 children together. To accomplish this, Simone has stored as many embryos as possible in a freezer.
While conceiving one of their children, Titan Invictus, Malcolm and Simone used embryo selection and genetic testing to rule out obesity and anxiety disorders in their offspring.
The Collins' have also said their bloodline will dominate the human population after 11 generations, assuming their calculations pan out correctly.
However, some have expressed concern the family's viewpoint is a form of eugenics, a term that the Collins couple rejects.
Simone told the Telegraph in April that she does not believe humanity can be perfected; she merely wants to give her kids the best possible "roll of the dice."
"I don't think it's appealing to just Silicon Valley people," Malcolm said when speaking with The Daily Telegraph. "It's more like anyone who is familiar with modern science and familiar with the statistics is aware that this is an issue, and they are focused on it."
'The reason why you see Silicon Valley people disproportionately being drawn to this is they're obsessed with data enough, and wealthy enough, to be looking at things — and who also have enough wealth and power that they're not afraid of being canceled," he added.
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