We need to talk about Elon Musk’s breeding program

Last night, the news has fallen that Elon Musk has yet another pair of twin children sharing his name – a revelation that brings his number of offspring to a total of nine (known) descendants.

Elon Musk, the richest man in the world and one of its most influential, is a strong believer in the theory of Population collapse – the idea that, contrary to claims of overpopulation, decades of purported declines in birth rates mean that we are in fact heading towards an irreversible and unsustainable crisis in which we simply have too few “producers” compared to people at the company’s expense. Unless we want an imminent”demographic implosion,” we need to “let’s do our best” and breed like rabbits.

By most measures, he has answered his call to action – but like so many men, under the veneer of technocratic saviour, Musk’s beliefs are deeply dangerous, reactionary and accompanied by colonialist dog whistles. So why don’t we talk about it more?

Bauzen/GC Images/Getty Images

Power dynamics and parenthood — For years, Elon Musk has repeatedly and aggressively voiced concerns about ‘accelerating declines’, saying people around the world with fewer children pose a greater existential threat to our species than nuclear conflict. , disease, famine or climate change. He cites studies predicting that the total world population stabilize by the end of the century, and its current pinned tweet is a statistic meant to support his beliefs. His obsession with the number of babies pumped daily is as pervasive as it seems unethical.

Now for the most recent revelation: not an (another) pair of secret children he had with Grimes but twins conceived with a different woman, Shivon Zilis. Zilis is a top Neuralink executive, a machine learning expert, and a subordinate of Musk. You don’t need a PhD in gender studies to see the problematic power dynamics at play here, especially when viewed alongside the allegations Musk has against him and his companies by former employees.

Problematic Action Plans — These new tabloid-worthy revelations aside, Musk’s views on birth rates could have serious consequences. There is a vast web of factors explaining why many people choose to have fewer or no children, from personal careers to changing societal expectations to their own fears for our collective future. Musk’s child advantage requires a massive shift in the cultural moors, and it’s extremely unlikely to happen in any version of his timeline. So… so what?

The Washington Post/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Do we encourage births? We are already heading towards forced pregnancy to some degree, but not currently on the explicit scale that Musk needs. How could a politician or an oligarch maybe to do all this in a climate of collapse, economic restriction, crumbling schools regularly riddled with bullets and an almost non-existent social safety net? How could you blame anyone in this society for their reluctance to start a family? Musk seems up for the challenge of having half as many heirs, but the less we detail this scenario, the better…

Still, we’ve yet to hear any concrete ideas from Musk other than “more births.”

The crux of the problem — We could spend all day discussing Musk’s deeply unnerving obsession with fertility. However, at the bottom of it all is this: Musk’s attempts to avoid a “population collapse” scenario simply boil down to hard work.

When Musk talks about societal collapse, he’s talking about a very specific type of society, which is inherently unsustainable from an environmental and sociopolitical perspective. His clear and unequivocal solution amounts to throwing as many people as possible into his own version of “progress” until we reach Mars. Collateral damage is inevitable, labor exploitation is necessary, and global numbers exceed individual names.

From there, we will begin to consume everything and beyond, like a swarm of hypercapitalist grasshoppers. We can no longer ignore that oligarchs like Musk believe fervently that this is civilization’s best and brightest possible arc – their eyes firmly fixed on the stars, their feet firmly planted on a mountain of ever-growing body to get them there.