EP 213 Robin Hanson on Declining Fertility Rates

Jim talks with Robin Hanson about the ideas in his recent Substack writings on human fertility rates. They discuss why the fertility rate is important, fertility decline as a harbinger of societal decline, how income impacts fertility rate, investing in status markers vs fertility, runaway selection effects, copying elites, absolute vs relative levels of wealth, South Korea’s low fertility rate, implications of the decline, losing scale economies, pay-as-you-go retirement plans, innovation as linear to population, effects of declining innovation, likely dominant ethnicities of the future, insular high-fertility religious communities, what happens in a scenario of worldwide population decline, the main trends causing low fertility, high-effort parenting standards, legal protections for religious groups, capstone vs cornerstone marriages, learning from the winners, Robin’s childhood cult experience, promoting less crazy insular subcultures, and much more.

Robin Hanson is an Associate Professor of Economics, and received his Ph.D in 1997 in social sciences from Caltech. He joined George Mason’s economics faculty in 1999 after completing a two-year post-doc at U.C Berkely. His major fields of interest include health policy, regulation, and formal political theory.