Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 May 2022
Prologue- the pending collapse of human populationsA perfect storm of social, political, environmental and biological factors is conspiring to suppress the fertility of our species. In this book, we shall explore the fundamental nature of human population dynamics and the wide range of factors responsible for the change that is about to come. Societies touched by prosperity’s wand experience many advantages including good health, education, security and longevity. However, these gifts come at a cost. Prosperous societies experience high levels of environmental pollution, psychological stress, obesity, addiction and a focus on individual fulfilment that combine to generate extremely low levels of fertility. As societies accumulate wealth, they sow the seeds of their own demise. In the short term, our ‘superaged’ societies must be supported by a shrinking, overstretched workforce, that have neither the motivational energy nor the biological capacity to procreate. In the long term, the lack of selection pressure on fertility, combined with the exponential growth of the IVF industry, will serve to drive fertility rates down still further. Unless we recognise and respond to the factors suppressing human fertility, we shall not be able to control the predictable population collapse – and escape will be challenging.