Near the end of the movie “Titanic“, during the desperate evacuation of the cruise, we see Cal Hockley, the great villain and villain of history, handing over a stack of bills to the person in charge of a lifeboat to guarantee a place. The worker, who knows that he will die in the next few hours, looks at him contemptuously and refuses his request. At the end of the world, almighties can only offer wet paper without real value.
But this is a lesson that doesn’t seem to fit in the heads of the billionaires of this planet
Douglas Rushkoff is a writer, columnist, and guru of the American technological world. He Posted in Medium an experience that was later shared by a variety of media as a very significant experience: he was invited to a luxury resort to give a lecture about “the future of technology” but instead of meeting the usual conference with dozens of entrepreneurs, amazingly he met “five billionaire guys” (yes, all of them men) from the upper echelons of the investment fund world.
They didn’t want to talk about Bitcoin or Ethereum, but they asked him questions like, “Which region will be less affected by the climate crisis, New Zealand or Alaska?” Or “is Google actually building a home for Ray Kurzweil to house his mind?”, and best of all: “How do I keep my authority over my security guard after the event?“
This is not necessarily a very widespread name per se, but the concept behind that idea is. As this report from The New Yorker also tells us, a large part of the elite, especially but not only those linked to the technological world of Silicon Valley, are preparing for a possible social apocalypse. In part they see it as a game, but also as an expense within their pantagruélicas finances more than reasonable before the real possibility of that happens.
They speak of three threats: 1.) the traditional and always unpleasant possibility of nuclear war; 2.) a social rebellion of the masses in the style of the French Revolution, in which, fed up with the loss of purchasing power of ordinary people have suffered in the past 40 years, they go for it; and 3.) a third route that is becoming increasingly plausible: the climate catastrophe with millions of people environmental refugees around the world, as well as a hardening of climatic, territorial, and other conditions that create discontent that, once again, leads the mob to light their torches and storm the farms of Palo Alto.
And how do you prepare for the end of the world?
Buying land in New Zealand, This country seems to have become the new real estate fad of the survival genre. We are talking about a remote area with only four million inhabitants, huge areas of land with one Good democracy, a first world economy, food and energy self-sufficiency and more than a reasonable distance from the United States in case anyone wanted to go to them to harm them.
A real estate agent points out the concerns of the buyers, not so much how much the electricity bill is, but whether the property has a heliport and whether there are good connections for driving private jets between the main airport and your land.
“Many of my friends are already collecting weapons, vehicles and gold bars. This is no longer an exception. I will be honest: I am now collecting real estate to generate passive income, but also to have shelters around the world that I can go to.” said one of the New Yorker’s interviewees.
In the first week after Trump’s election, 13,400 Americans registered as New Zealand immigrants, which is officially the first step in the search for a home. It was about a 17 times higher application rate than usual for a process of acquiring citizenship that involves investing several million dollars in real estate. Some cheerfully call this process “the life insurance of the apocalypse”.
Today, after the Australians, the Americans are the largest foreign owners of New Zealand’s acres, which is causing internal tensions where local guests want to drive out of their country.
There are also smaller projects. In 2008, an entrepreneur bought the former Cold War-era nuclear shelter facility in Kansas. Below that, he built some twenty luxury apartments for 1% at a cost of $ 3 million for each small shelter several meters underground. Since its launch in 2015, it has taken less than a year to sell them all,
The future projected by the technoliberals
So much of this movement is known. There are billionaires who have thought get to the bottom of the problem: If society is unfair and we load the planet, there is no better way to solve it than to go to the roots and try to make this a more comfortable place for everyone, so that do not bully the people below because the power is only fictional and it seems impossible to fight against the whole world.
But this is not the vision of technoliberals. They have a kind of Bible called “The Sovereign Individual: How to Survive and Thrive during the Collapse of the Welfare State?”, published in 1997 and written by James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg. It is an apocalyptic text in that they call to The end of the nation state system through the Internet and the digital economy and how its breakdown will lead to a post-democratic future in which everyone must save themselves.
It is the followers of this current that disturbed Rushkoff, who, in their own words told him at the secret meeting that:
They knew that armed guards would be needed to protect their facilities from angry mobs. But how would they pay the guards once the money lost its value? What would prevent their armed guard from choosing his own leader? These billionaires considered using locks of complex combinations that only they would know to control the food supply, or having the guards wear disciplinary collars of some kind in exchange for their survival.
The founder’s paradox It is a board game (and a separate artistic installation) by Simon Denny. The game begins with the plutocrat’s acquisition of these New Zealand territories, but you’ll need to level up. The next challenge is to enter the world from seasteding creating Floating islands in international waters that act as micro-states for these technological millionaires, with whom they can rule in neo-feudal style without the government intervention. The next step is the mining of the Moon’s soil for resources, before reaching the end, the Mars colonization.
None of this would stop sounding like a nut and a mental distraction if we didn’t already have cases of capitalists talking about it publicly and with total seriousness his plans to colonize Mars in the near future.
But after all this, no matter how much money each person has in their pockets, sooner or later, the end of this world as we know it will come for each one of us, as the Kansas band lets us know in their famous song “Dust in the Wind”.