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Darrell Bricker: An Empty Planet – The Shock of Global Decline

Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs and co-author of “Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline,” discusses the global population decline and its economic implications in a recent interview. According to Bricker, fertility rates are dropping, leading to accelerated population declines since 2016-2017, even earlier than anticipated in China. This trend has significant consequences for economies that rely on people for growth and labor.

The global baby boom generation will reach retirement age by 2030, causing a rapid impact on the workforce. Countries like Japan and Italy already experience annual population declines. The UN offers three population projections: high variant (14 billion), medium variant (10.4 billion by 2100), and low variant (8.6 billion). Bricker notes that the median variant, representing the UN’s projection, assumes a replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman.

Environmental chemicals could impact hormonal disruption in fertility rates, but Bricker attributes the primary cause to cultural and psychological factors, such as humanity’s changing perspective on creating future generations. Additionally, immigration and adapting to the birth rate of one’s country of residence are common.

Declining global fertility rates and population growth present challenges for the economy, as consumerism and consumption decrease with aging populations, leading to slower economic growth. Governments face political challenges when attempting to address these issues by pushing back retirement ages. Countries like Japan, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Hungary are already grappling with significant population declines.

Bricker acknowledges that the degrowth movement sees human activity as harmful to the planet and suggests fewer people would lead to less consumption and a better environment. However, he believes they underestimate the impact of such a transition. Bricker emphasizes that declining fertility rates require adaptation and will result in a different world for future generations.

Data on declining fertility rates has become increasingly compelling, making it difficult to deny the issue. Bricker notes that this situation is unprecedented and requires careful consideration when making long-term business decisions, particularly in industries like mining and natural resources.

Time Stamp References:
0:00 – Introduction
0:40 – Population Trends
3:26 – Rapid Changes
5:20 – U.N. Projections
7:12 – Births & Urbanization
10:45 – Family Economics
14:07 – Retirement Age & Labor
16:02 – Offshoring Labor
21:09 – China Policies
22:16 – Peak Projections
25:46 – The Cake is Baked
27:27 – Immigration?
29:26 – Environment & Hormones
32:20 – Possible Solutions?
34:10 – Compelling Data
35:40 – Future Resource Demand
39:10 – Wrap Up

Guest links:
Amazon Book:

Bricker is the current Global CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs, a polling, research, marketing, and analysis company.

While Bricker was completing his B.A. studies, he began to specialize in research, polling, and analysis methods. This led to further specialization during his M.A. and Ph.D.

After completing his Ph.D. at Carleton University in 1989, Bricker was hired in the Office of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney as the Director of Public Opinion Research. After a year in the Prime Minister’s Office, Bricker was hired by the Angus Reid Group, a polling and analysis company that eventually merged with Ipsos.

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