February 25, 2024

New kids on the block: geeky, wealthy, entrepreneurial pro-natalism activists

This month, the 8 billionth child entered the world. Demographers believe that the world’s population is moving towards 10 billion. But at some point, the curve will begin to move downwards. People everywhere (except sub-Saharan Africa) will become older and older, leading to huge burdens on government social services.

The problem is that most countries have birth-rates below replacement level. And no one knows how to coax women into having more children, as China has discovered, to its dismay.

What is to be done? A solution comes from an improbable source – wealthy, geeky tech and venture-capitalist pro-natalism activists.  

Chapter 1: Elon Musk tweets obsessively about Population Collapse.

The eccentric billionaire has been married twice but now describes himself as single. He has had at least nine children with a combination of wives, girlfriends, and surrogates. Here are some of his recent tweets.

  • “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.” Elon Musk on Twitter, May 25, 2022.

Chapter 2: Malcolm and Simone Collins do something.

Malcolm and Simone radiate powerful self-confidence. As a couple they have operated companies on five continents that collectively pulled in US$70 million every year; raised a private equity fund; directed strategy at top, early-stage venture capital firms; written three bestselling books; served as managing director of Dialog, a retreat for global leaders founded by Peter Thiel; and earned degrees in neuroscience, business, and technology policy from St Andrews, Stanford, and Cambridge.

In a feature in Business Insider, they explain that they want to rescue the world from becoming a real-life Idiocracy. Starting with themselves. Before marrying, they committed to having between 7 and 13 children. Since Simone was older, she froze her eggs to ensure that age would not be a barrier. They already have 3 children. In 2018, which they call the Year of the Harvest, they produced and froze as many embryos as possible. They select the embryos for high IQ and other valuable traits. They call themselves “hipster eugenicists”.

“As long as each of their descendants can commit to having at least eight children for just 11 generations, the Collins bloodline will eventually outnumber the current human population,” they tell Business Insider.

Chapter 3: Learn all about the coming population implosion at pronatalist.org.

From their home in rural Pennsylvania, the highly-connected Collins couple are preaching the gospel of Pro-Natalism, which is the latest fad amongst the super-rich in Silicon Valley. For the past 20 or so years, billionaires were obsessed with longevity – increasing lifespans to hundreds of years. Research on that continues, but some have turned their minds to demography. “The person of this subculture really sees the pathway to immortality as being through having children,” says Simone.

Pronatalist.org, created by Malcolm and Simone, alerts readers to the crisis and proposes a solution:

Birth rates are falling precipitously around the world in both developed and developing countries. If dramatic action is not taken, we will witness the extinction of entire societies, expansion of totalitarian governments, and an unchecked rise of tribalism.

South Korea’s birth-rate is about 0.81, far below replacement level. The Collinses call this “genocide by inaction”. “This is equivalent to a disease that wipes out 94% of the population. We need radical solutions to save endangered ethnic groups.”

They see contemporary politics through a demographic lens:

If you have ever wondered why different ideological factions in politics seem to be able to agree on less and less as time goes on, why they are becoming more authoritarian, and why tribalism seems to be increasing: You are witnessing the invisible hand of demographic collapse at work.

Population numbers will eventually rebound within a few hundred years, but progress the world has made in terms of women’s rights, freedom of speech, environmentalism, racial equality, gay rights, etc. runs the risk of systematic erasure if we fail to intervene.

What’s the answer? Only a cultural change will save us, they argue. Tax credits and baby bonuses won’t work:

Only cultures with a strong external motivation to have kids are well above repopulation rate at the moment; all others will enter the dustbin of history. Essentially, every world culture that does not have strong religious convictions or educate and treat women as equals is being systematically deleted. …

A single family having eight kids that successfully passes that practice to their own children can save their entire ethnic group. (One family having eight kids for ten generations leads to over a billion descendants.)

Chapter 4: networking for pro-natalism

The Collinses want you to join them. “We are actively building a diverse network of families with the grit to make it through this maelstrom. If you are committed to a high birth rate and building a healthy culture for your family, we want to talk!”