Why capitalism dies in 50 years

It is time to put out one of my own crazy ideas. So far I have never heard the idea anywhere, which is exactly why I put it out there. First it is time to talk about it and second the fastest way to getting the right answer is not to post the question but the wrong answer.

So proof me wrong with all you got.

The idea came to me years before I watched one of the talks/infotainment shows by Hans Rosling (checkout his website www.gapminder.org it’s awesome) but never was the data presented more compelling and up to date then here.

The video is called “DON’T PANIC – The Facts About Population” (I’m already hooked. Anybody who does a reference to Douglas Adams Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a good one in my book.)

Unfortunately I cannot embed the video so you have to follow this link to watch it on gapminder.com. You should watch the video completely but the part that I am referring to is from 19:20 to 26:13.

Here he shows a graph of population growth. With two main statements: 1) at around the year 2000 we have reached peak child (it is like peak oil, it mainly states that from that point on the number of children will never exceed 2 billion) and second we will reach the end of population growth with 11 billion people in the year 2100.

Isn’t that awesome! So don’t worry we don’t run into trouble because of overpopulation. What a relive. So DON’T PANIC, right?

<<Wha…? My 200 Super-Chromatics just turned black. – Time to relax.>>

The data

Yes I really believe in the data that Hans Rosling is presenting. However, if you examine the birthrate for Europe as an example where the rest of the world will be at the end, than one can see that only four of the countries in Europe actually had a birthrate over two in 2012 with Turkey at 2.09 having the highest birthrate of them all. The total fertility rate per woman in Europe is at 1.58.

That would mean, yes, we have reached peak child and it will actually be down hill from there, at least for Europe.

The problem that I have with the data Hans Rosling has presented is this happily-ever-after-glow. From here on out everything is fine. Everything stays as it is, all the problems solved.

Maybe we don’t even reach the 11 billion, even better, right? Wrong!

Anybody noticed that the title of this post has nothing to do with population growth?

Population decline has its problems too but that is not why my sunglasses turned black. The reason is our economy.

Capitalism with a capital C

Capitalism as we have implemented it works only if there is constant growth. There needs to be a constant increase of demand otherwise the economy and companies and especially shareholder suffer.

I’m no business major or anything business or economy related but there are different ways to increase demand.

  • Create a new product, a better product (no real growth – linear at best). Even if we could invent exponentially we can’t buy exponentially (see also oligarch video at the end).
  • Tell people it is super fun to be single, to live in single households, creating more households and increasing demand. (Singles have no children. A little short-sighted this strategy and we are allready maxed out on that one. – Also no growth)
  • Finally the major driver for demand, which comes for now for free is of cause population growth, which we now know is going to end.
  • The only real way in my opinion that would make any impact on a reasonable scale and postpone the inevitable would be to help 2 billion people to come out of poverty. That would mean investing money in the poor and help them flourish and not become dependent from any kind of aid system.

My idea is very simple with the decline of population growth capitalism as we have it at the moment will cease to exist.

“Why 50 years?” you ask, so that I get your attention of cause. Would you be interested if I said it ended in a 100 years? Sure the time frame will be off and there are more factors involved than I have presented, but at the end it will come down to exactly this.

What then?

Time to ask a science fiction author! Unfortunately there is no one concerning this topic that I know of. Please leave your suggestion in the comments.


But if you guys want a good read concerning the aggressiveness of capitalism turned real read Richard Morgan – “Market Forces”.

Things ought to get worse before they get better.


So, what then?

I have no idea.

The next 100 years will be the most interesting years of humanity.

  • Global warming/climate change
  • Stop/decline of population
  • End of capitalism
  • Total globalization
  • Machine age / robotics / self-driving cars
  • Reaching type 1 civilization on the Kardashev scale
  • End of fossil fuel
  • Man made mass extinction

Basically we have to do it all or die.

The question should not be what it costs or who is gone pay for all this. The question should be are you the best man for the job? Yes, so we feed you, clothe you and give you shelter and do everything so that you can make humanity come through at the end.

Capitalism as it is today has become a force hindering the progress of humanity.

It is time to fix it.

The problem is no one even talks about it properly. So please start discussing the end of capitalism it is inevitable any way.

See you in the future.


PS. The oligarchs are feeling it too.

PPS. What is it with the pointing fingers? Is the future coming from the right side?

Why capitalism dies in 50 years
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