Blogger, TheEnlightenedMind.wordpress.com, surfaced an article in the Telegraph regarding a growing number of people who prefer technology over face-to-face social and sexual contact.(1)
Unfortunately, contrary to the writer of the Telegraph article, the trend isn’t new, and it’s social effects are already evident. An article from 2013 talks about the same thing happening in Japan.(2) In an even earlier article, young men talked about robotic sex toys as being “less stressful” and expensive than relationships with females. In Japanese society, this preference for technology has led to a declining birth rate, where there are insufficient working age people to support industry or benefits for the senior population. The shortage of workers has contributed to a high labor costs, and may have been a contributor to the decision by Nikon to move camera production from Japan to Thailand, announced this week.(3)
There’s both an economic and social impact to decisions by younger people not to date, not to have sex, and not to have children. In this context, the decision by the founder of Toys’R’Us to shutter the chain seems prescient. Couples on dates patronize restaurants and movie theaters. Babies require diapers and daycare and toys. Children require schools. Demand for all of these things fall as people stop dating and having sex.
We’re not talking about a full and immediate stop. That’s not how social change works. Change is incremental. But even a 5% decline in the number of births will impact the cost of a variety of products and services. As manufacturers need to produce less, economies of scale are reversed. Schools that depend on parental contributions to fund sports programs will be harder pressed to do so when there are fewer parents to contribute.
There are probably impacts that we don’t yet understand. Loss of social skills is one. An increased tolerance for violence might be another. Both have been attributed to an excessive consumption of social media and video games. We simply don’t know for sure.
However, it might be time to buy stock in manufacturers like Standard Innovation, the Canadian parent of We-Vibe.
In theory, it is possible to put the loss of sex drive in a larger context of controlling the human population on the planet. We know that certain types of air pollution can diminish male sex drive.(4) We also know that the increased cost of raising a child and difficulties in balancing parenting and careers can be a deterrent to becoming a parent. We also know that there are more humans on the planet than are having their basic needs (food, clean water, housing) met. So the idea that these various factors are coming together to place a lid on the number of humans makes some sense.
The only thing guaranteed in life is change.