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Larry Fink on stage at the 2022 New York Times DealBook on November 30, 2022. in New York CityPhoto by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for The New York Times

(The Sociable) — BlackRock CEO Larry Fink tells the World Economic Forum (WEF) that developed countries with shrinking populations will be better prepared for the social problems that come from “substituting humans for machines.”

Speaking at the WEF’s Special Meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth and Energy Development during a panel on “Investing Amid Global Fracture,” Fink said that there would be a divide between the “middle class developing countries that have a foundation and education” and developing countries that have booming populations but little education.

With that divide, Fink argued that developed countries with shrinking populations would be the “big winners” as far as quality of life is concerned because they will have all the technologies to boost productivity and elevate their living standards.

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“I can argue in the developed countries the big winners are countries that have shrinking populations,” said Fink.

“We always used to think shrinking population is a cause for negative growth, but in my conversations with the leadership of these large, developed countries that have xenophobic immigration policies, they don’t allow anybody to come in, shrinking demographics – these countries will rapidly develop robotics and AI and technology.

“And if the promise, and it’s going to happen, if the promise of all of that transforms productivity, which most of us think it will, we’ll be able to elevate the standard of living of countries, the standard of living of individuals, even with shrinking populations.”

For Fink, fewer people means a better quality of life in the developed world thanks to automation.

For growing populations in the developing world, particularly in Africa, education will be key, according to the BlackRock CEO.

“The paradigm of negative population growth is going to be changing, and the social problems that one will have in substituting humans for machines is going to be far easier in those countries that have declining populations,” said Fink.

“For those countries that have rising populations, the answer will be education – for those countries that do not have a foundation of rule of law or education, that’s where the divide’s going to get more and more extreme,” he added.

The WEF’s Special Meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth and Energy Development took place from April 27 to 29 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Reprinted with permission from The Sociable.