Musk urged Italians and the people of other industrialised countries to have more children “or the culture of Italy, Japan and France will disappear.”
At a political festival organised by Italian leader Giorgia Meloni’s far-right Brothers of Italy party, US billionaire Elon Musk has claimed that having more children is the only way to reverse the population declines threatening the economies of many advanced countries.
Musk told the Arteju political festival in Rome on Saturday that immigration cannot solve the demographic problem that many major economic powers, such as Italy and Japan are facing.
“My advice to all government leaders and people is: make sure you have children to create a new generation,” he said.
Musk has 11 known children with three different mothers, and he took to the stage with one of them in his arms saying that “demographics is important”.
Musk urged Italians and populations in other industrialised countries to have children “or the culture of Italy, Japan and France will disappear.”
“We are in danger of no longer having these countries,” he said.
Italy’s population decline
Meloni has made reversing Italy’s population decline one of the key priorities of her government and the 2024 budget bill still before parliament contains several measures in support of families with children.
Musk told the audience that Italy is “an incredible country” and “a good place to invest” but added that “companies investing ask themselves: will there be enough people working?”
“Maybe I’m repeating myself but these are the facts,” he added.
Musk said he was “very supportive of legal immigration,” saying countries should welcome anyone honest and willing to work hard.
He did say that there should be more vetting of immigrants’ credentials, suggesting that it is not possible to assess who met these characteristics without monitoring to a greater extent.
“Let’s increase legal immigration, but we must end illegal immigration,” Musk said.
On the climate crisis, Musk claimed to be an “environmentalist” but added that “we should not demonise oil and gas in the medium term”.
“I have the impression that in the short term we are exaggerating on climate change,” he said, also criticising environmentalists for making people lose “faith in the future”.
“We must continue to have hope,” he added.
Infected with ‘woke’ virus
Asked about advertisers who have abandoned the X platform, worried about an increase in far-right publications, an increase in disinformation and apparent harassment since Musk took over October 2022, the entrepreneur said: “I think X will do well, and we’re already seeing advertisers coming back to X.”
He added: “Advertisers always worry about their brand… But I think it’s a short-term problem,” also suggesting some of those who left X were infected with a so-called “woke” virus.
Meloni herself, who has repeatedly said she is opposed to “woke ideology”, came to power last year thanks, among other things, to her promise to put an end to illegal immigration.
“Artificial Intelligence is an element on which attention must be paid. It is like a double-edged sword. It will be able to do practically everything but it will lack conscience,” he said.
Musk, who also owns SpaceX and the platform X, said he is in favour of “regulations so that someone can at least be a kind of arbiter” that controls the application of AI around the world.
“The positive part is that we will never again have a lack of goods and services because AI and robotics will be able to do everything you want,” he predicted, acknowledging that one of its “risks” is that it could manipulate public opinion.
Musk explained that AI will be like “the genie with the lamp” to whom people will be able to ask for “anything” but will have to be “attentive” to their wishes.