CHILDLESSNESS: The Epidemic That Dare Not Speak Its Name

Dr. Jordan B. Peterson and Stephen J. Shaw discuss the Birthgap, a term recently coined by Shaw – and the subject of his new documentary by the same name. In this interview, they examine the long building but invisible causes of what may be the most pressing issue facing the Western world in the next few decades.

Worst case scenario: total societal collapse due to a lack of new children being born, and a rise in senior citizens living longer.

Stephen J. Shaw is a British national who has studied and lived on three continents. He trained as a computer engineer and data scientist before starting his first film project, “Birthgap,” at age 49. He is president and co-founder of the data analytics company, Autometrics Analytics LLC. Stephen holds an MBA graduate business degree from ISG in Paris, France, and is continuing his studies at Harvard Extension School.


(1:23) Intro
(2:32) Who is Stephen J Shaw?
(5:11) Noticing the problem
(7:30) Web of small dragons
(9:02) The Birthgap explained
(12:00) Hungary, childlessness
(13:30) Family structure
(16:13) A vast majority want children
(20:07) Involuntary childlessness
(21:00) If emissions are halved tomorrow…
(23:06) Suburban ghost towns
(28:04) A wave of collapses: infrastructure, reality, social security
(30:03) Immigration for population replacement?
(32:36) Culture drain, those left behind
(34:40) Tokyo, 1973 and now
(35:40) Cultural loss of respect for the elderly
(38:51) Making his first documentary film at 49
(41:06) Starting with a question
(42:13) Is the birth control pill a cause?
(44:43) When to pursue family and education
(45:30) The lies we tell young women
(49:00) 1 in 3 by 30 have procreation problems
(50:45) Why you really go to college
(52:40) The fertility window
(55:44) Why aren’t people useless all the time?
(57:03) The connection across borders
(1:00:03) Reaching replacement level
(1:01:22) Demoralized to the point of inaction
(1:05:03) The path to childlessness
(1:07:45) Mate selection and hypergamy
(1:10:40) The time to decide
(1:15:00) The “Population Bomb” was a dud
(1:17:11) We do not live in a petri dish
(1:19:01) From a point of positivity
(1:23:46) The inverted pyramid
(1:26:50) Africa and the cycle of booms
(1:30:29) Hungary, incentivizing reproduction
(1:33:00) The fundamental problem
(1:36:20) Holding motherhood as sacred
(1:38:56) The need for a plan
(1:41:01) Lifelong learning should be a cultural norm