Today, the only clerk working at the OHC (Office for Humanity Count) finished his work a bit later than usual. After his daily routine of counting all the inhabitants of planet Earth, he sent a message saying something like: “we are 8.000.000.001!”.
So, it’s true, the population of Earth apparently reached the 8 billion milestone. Or it’s about to reach it. News are not consistent even on a simple number.
Anyway, it’s an epic growth spurt in the last century: we were just 2 billion in 1925, 4 billion in 1974 and now 8 billion. We double every 50 years, even less. Very good news for companies trying to sell us whatever they can. Not a big news for our planet, though.

However, things are changing. The growth will end soon. As it happens for stocks, multilevel marketing and our willy, there cannot be eternal growth.
Forecasts tell us that the world population is expected to peak in the 2080s at about 10 billion, hang there for a few decades, then fall in the 22nd century.
Many countries are not producing enough babies to maintain growth. For example, I have just one child. But it’s not entirely my fault. Most of the Western countries and also those of Eastern Europe are expected to see their population shrink as a cotton shirt washed in hot water.

And shrinking populations alarm economists. Fewer kids means fewer workers contributing to the economy (and to my pension). The balance between workers retired people will further skew towards the latter. And it’s not only an economic / financial issue. It will change our cities, transport infrastructures, our healthcare systems, even the entertainment industry will morph into something different. Less bowling lanes, more bocce?

Then, should we talk about de-population the day we reach the 8 billion milestone? Yes, at least for Italy, it’s quite a serious issue, notwithstanding my jokes. But the frightening thing is that whoever can do something about it does not care. They won’t face the problem. They will die much sooner. Including me, of course.