What’s going to be a problem in 25 years, but people are choosing to ignore now?

Saw this question on Twitter, definitely a topic for the Dope. I unfollowed this guy but he follows me and his tweets keep popping up.

My answer is the impact the internet is having on mental health, especially the elderly. I’ve written a couple of pieces about this for my Substack and I don’t think the situation has gotten any better since then. There are articles, sure, but ‘everyone’ … myself included … pretty much assumes this is a problem impacting others far more than ourselves.

It also appears to be devastating for adolescents. How this will impact them 25 years from now is hard to say.

I really think that the emphasis on university-degrees-are-for-jobs plus the loss of education as a value in its own right will have many repercussions. Add the right-wing war on higher ed., and you’ll have lots of the smaller private colleges closing, massive grade inflation and education loss as people pander to retain students and their dollars, and we’ll ultimately realize that having an educated population is good but we’ve lost a generation.

Aging societies, perhaps? Tons of old folks and many fewer younger folks to help take care of them.

This is what I came to say. As soon as a country industrializes they stop popping out replacement level kids. Some places like China and Russia are already facing inevitable demographic collapse, and there is nothing at all they can do about it. To be clear the problem is not “people are not having enough kids”, that was the problem forty years ago, the problem is there aren’t enough 20-40 year olds to have kids now.

All people are ignoring it, or just some?

I would love to be the first person earth to ID a problem, but fear not being sufficiently creative.

I don’t know if this phenomenon is exactly a problem, but if it is, it’s widely ignored outside of the U.S. by people who aren’t part of the possible problem:

Beyond Belief: How Pentecostal Christianity Is Taking Over the World

Now that I have linked to that 2022 book, I’ll have to read it.

Just some. Like I noted in my example, you can find plenty of articles about the impact of the internet on mental health. Most people think the problem doesn’t apply to them, therefore few things are actually being done about it.

Well, many of us are not exactly ignoring AGW, sea level rise, gathering RW extremism, the post-truth mindset, etc., but neither are we collectively doing anything effective enough to slow their increase, much less turn them around.

The advanced Western industrialized countries are very attractive to citizens of the third world: thus they can adjust their immigration policies to have as many younger residents as they want.

Climate change is going to be an increasing problem. While there is a great deal of rhetoric about it now; there is very little action. The statistic you need to look at is:

I know from past threads that, on this board, some people deny it is a problem. But almost all countries that have sub-replacement fertility have tax incentives for child-raising. So the problem is not being ignored — it’s just that the large number of people who think it is a serious problem don’t have practical ideas for reversing it.

In the long run, I think fertility collapse will be solved by social evolution, as religions with higher birth rates come to predominate. But that will take a long time, and will occur almost regardless of government policies. EDIT: I agree with increasing immigration quotas, although we already are seeing sub-replacement fertility in some lower income countries.

Though they could, in many cases, they have actively chosen not to (see the U.S.'s ongoing stalemate over reforming/changing its immigration policy, dating back to 2005), which largely amounts to ignoring the problem.

Water is going to become scarce in certain areas.

The national debt in the U.S. is $31T. Most people ignore it. The interest on this debt is going to be a big problem.

World population.

I’m not sure about this. Isn’t the economy just a belief system? As long as people think it’s okay, then it will be okay.

It’s people losing confidence in the economy that is worrisome.

The interest on our national debt is not based on belief. It’s a real thing, and must be paid.

Why wouldn’t we be able to pay it?

Interest on 20t sounds ridiculous. But we paid it. No matter how high that number gets we still manage to pay it.

We did pay the World War II debt, but it required hidden taxes (google financial repression).

You could also read articles on Japan’s economic stagnation, partly due to much higher debt ratios than we currently have in the U.S.

The national debt is one of those problems that, from a certain perspective, looks like it should be the primary focus of policy, since if it totally blows up, the government will come close to collapse. From another perspective it looks like global warming should have priority. There are more unknowns than sometimes acknowledged so I prefer some sort of middle ground that satisfies no one.

We know these will be big problems in 25 years. We aren’t choosing to ignore them, but to address none of them completely.

Excellent synopsis on the debt and on the above quote overall. I’m sad to say another gloss on the same situation is

We aren’t choosing to ignore them, but to instead address all of them inadequately.

I don’t think it’s going to take 25 years to be a problem, but there being no laws limiting it or any other legal/tax disincentives to investors big and small buying up single family homes is a big one.