Billionaire entrepreneur says the country is slowly dying.
Elon Musk is sounding the alarm again.
The billionaire entrepreneur has made it a habit now: alerting the world to urgent and alarming issues in the hope that there will be collective awareness.
Sometimes, in the face of silence and lack of reaction, Musk offers solutions himself. But these are not often well received. Such was the case with his peace plan to end the war between Russia and Ukraine, which has been going on for almost a year now.
Musk had proposed a controversial peace plan last October to end this war. Under the terms, the Ukrainians would have ceded Crimea to Russia. Crimea was annexed by the Russians in 2014.
Ukraine also would’ve had to renounce becoming a member of NATO and the European Union, two organizations that Russian President Vladimir Putin considers threats to his country’s sovereignty.
The Ukrainians saw it as a proposal to capitulate.
Italy Risks ‘Extinction’
The plan gave the impression that Musk was pro-Russian, as it mirrored Russia’s demands. The Ukrainian authorities vehemently rejected the plan, often with strong words. Andrij Melnyk, Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, even said “F— off” to Musk’s diplomatic efforts. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Musk of being pro-Russian.
Faced with such strong reactions, the billionaire explained that his plan was realistic. Musk said he feared that the conflict would escalate into all-out war with the possibility of a nuclear attack and potentially devastating consequences for Ukraine and the world.
If he often appears clumsy and pays for his inexperience in geopolitical affairs, the billionaire does not, however, give up on continuing to be a conscience alerter. He has just sounded the alarm about Italy.
The tech mogul warns that the country is slowly dying if nothing is done. It all started with a thread on Twitter in which cybersecurity researcher Andrea Stroppa made worrying conclusions from official data.
“Italy’s Ministry of Health estimates that 14.1 million of 58 million citizens are affected by chronic diseases,” Stroppa wrote on Jan. 27, with a demographic-trend chart showing how chronic diseases affect the different age groups of the Italian population.
“With one of the oldest populations and one of the lowest birth rates, Italy risks the collapse of public health and then extinction,” he warned.
Musk seems to agree with Stroppa’s observation that Italy risks disappearing due to an aging population and low fertility rate (the average number of children a woman bears during her lifetime).
“Italy & many other nations are dying,” the billionaire commented, adding a sad emoji.
Musk’s Warning Sparks Debate
The reactions this comment received from Twitter users should please Musk. Many tweets wondered, for example, what to do to avoid this disaster scenario, while others called to take his prediction seriously. His warning sparked debate, which is Musk’s goal.
“Any idea how to fix this?” asked one Twitter user.
“Lord Jesus help them,” added another user.
This isn’t the first time Musk has sounded the alarm about Italy’s impending demise. In May, he was already alarmed by the decline of the Italian population, in a thread already with Stroppa.
“Italy. Despite we have a good welfare birthrate is failing,” Stroppa had written, with a demographic-trend chart showing the birth rate falling in Italy from 1946 to 2019.
“Italy will have no people if these trends continue,” the mogul responded.
The number of births in Italy fell in 2020 to its lowest level since the country’s unification in 1861, according to Istat, the Italian National Institute of Statistics. This was the the 12th consecutive year of decline.
It stood at 404,892, or 15,192 fewer births than in 2019. The number of deaths rose to 746,146 in 2020 and the population decreased to 59.3 million inhabitants.
The decline continued in 2021, according to available data from January to September, with 12,500 fewer births over the period than in the first nine months of 2020. The average number of children per woman residing in Italy was 1.24 in 2020, one of the lowest fertility rates in the world.
The covid-19 pandemic largely explains the drop.