A Happy Convergence of Two Trends?

Headline: “China trying to increase its birthrate.” A couple of dozen years ago, China tried to limit births to one per family. They thought the country was getting too crowded. Now they are doing the opposite —- trying to increase their population. That’s because, like in many advanced countries, birthrates have been declining and, as people have been living longer, the population of retired people has been increasing. Some of the biggest countries were headed toward a situation where there wouldn’t be enough working-age people to provide the goods and services needed by retired people.

The Chinese aren’t counting on it, but it appears that A.I. will increase productivity so much that many fewer working-age people will be needed to take care of the retired people. We may reach the point where A.I. can take not only take care of the retired people but also subsidize the working-age people, so they won’t have to work as much to earn a living wage. That would be nice, but it might require a higher degree of rationality on the part of people than has generally been exhibited thus far.