What Can We Learn from the Wealthy of Silicon Valley?
I read recently an article in the New Yorker entitled Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich about how some of the world’s wealthiest people perceive today’s growing, looming economic and social disasters. They are also preparing a strategy for multiple scenarios with the worst being a total breakdown in society. One of the issues that surfaced in the article was many of these elite, smart people see doomsday as a chance to become secluded and retreat to their cabin in the woods. They view it as another vacation home in the country, an island somewhere, or even in a different country with New Zealand as the country of choice. A few useful points surfaced in the article I feel are useful to you as a more down-to-earth, prepper who doesn’t have a private jet to whisk you and your loved ones away to safety (Oh, but wouldn’t that be nice? No more TSA).
One of the key points early in the article was the fact that no matter how secluded you are or how much ammo, food, etc. you have you are still one person, or a small family, and the chances are against you surviving a long standoff alone. Some issues the rich faced are a bit far-fetched for most of us, yet they do provide a good sense of reality. One of the wealthy gentlemen interviewed was talking with a group of peers and mentioned in a major event he would have his private jet take he and his family to their ranch out west. One of the people in the conversation asked if he was going to bring his pilot’s family too? And, what about maintenance crews and all the support you need for that jet? The list continued with the final agreement that this was not a great idea and additional planning was required that included realistic movement and staffing plan. Also, some of the people interviewed thought they were prepared with a stash of food, water, guns and ammo; however, they came to the realization that a small group is not likely to fair well over time. As one, or even a small family group, you’ll lose against the people wishing to do you harm or take what you have. I can relate to this as I have been in situations where I was superior to an enemy, yet their massive number eventually changed the odds and I needed to remove myself from the situation.
One of the other themes in the article was the need to become a “radical self-reliant,” meaning “happy to help others, but not wanting to require others.” The article mentions several times the need for us to cling to a group, a community that will have social order and structure similar to what most of us are familiar with. A community that includes a leader, followers, rules enforced, doctors, dentists, educators, etc. We may find it odd these innovators from Silicon Valley are thinking about doomsday theory as most of us may conger a vision of a geek with glasses behind a computer. In fact, these guys and gals are critical thinkers, with outside the box methodologies; after all this is how most of them got to where they are today. Therefore, certainly it’s reasonable that they could come up with some solid ideas. Additionally, these thinkers make their living by predicting the future, seeing what tomorrow’s needs are today, and how people will use their products in the future. Also, these analytical minds see risk as a mathematical problem, which takes some of the drama out of the problem solving. They see all the required prepper skills as a type of insurance plan. While you pay for it now and may never use it, when you need it…it’s there. Finally, the tech crowd perceives doomsday events as not likely but recognizes the significance of such an event and understands fully the need to be prepared; this is what drives them.
One of the other interesting factors in how the rich see the world is somewhat divided. Some view an apocalypse on the horizon with the need for an evacuation plan just as we do, they look to move to an isolated area that’s well stocked with supplies enough to ride out the preverbal storm to reduce their exposure to major human centers. This is all very logical and is a good survival strategy. Just as there are hundreds of companies ready to take your money there are also companies that cater to persons of high net worth. Old missile silos in Kansas are being converted to apartments, with a price tag of $3 million a pop. These living pods offer 24-hour armed protection from civil strife and protection from a nuclear blast with your very own reinforced apartment chamber. These apartments provide all the luxuries of the modern world and most are personalized to the owner. One owner shipped granite from Connecticut to build his fireplace in the apartment. The other half of the elite see the risk of social disorder in many forms, with one being an all-out civil war rooted in an economic crisis/war between the one-percenters and the rest of the nation. These people seek to prevent such disasters in the first place. And, they see this as an opportunity to affect change before it gets to the ugly. The cure some are suggesting is not to build a fortress somewhere, or run to New Zealand, but to remain where they are and invest in the people by spreading the wealth in the country. It was mentioned that the salaries of the top 25 hedge fund managers earn more in a year than all the kindergarten teachers in America. Giving the masses what they want and need with parks, medical reform, better schools, and freedom from so much debt are just a few areas that some well known philanthropists focus on. Prepper talk amongst the elite is somewhat taboo; however, it does exist and they’ re tacking actions to ensure their survival.
One of the conversations in the article was an admission from Steve Hoffman, CEO of Reddit (valued at over 600 million dollars). He commented on getting his eyes corrected to 20/20. He didn’t it just because he was tired of wearing glasses or has a butt load of money to spend (which he does). He used strategic thinking and came to the realization that in a bad situation, even a natural disaster, having 20/20 vision without the aid of glasses or contacts would increase his chance of survival. What a solid example of progressive thinking and he’s absolutely correct in his perception. He went on to add that in the worst of scenarios glasses and contacts would not be an easy item to find. Therefore, he thought it logical to have the surgery to eliminate this issue from his list. Again, he had the time and money to do this, but kudos to him for thinking outside the box and seeing the big picture (even more clearly post-Lasik surgery).
Here are some final thoughts and take aways from this article. Think about what you can do today, tomorrow, and over the next year to prepare yourself, your loved ones, and others for disaster. Think about your physical conditioning, your eyesight, and other factors you may be able to alter starting today. Are you putting off a hip replacement or some other corrective, elective surgery? Think about whom you want with you in a crisis and each person offers to the collective. Think about your team as an expanded Special Forces unit that has all the areas covered with backups in case something happens to someone; cross-train everyone starting with your family. Think about the basics that’ll keep you alive in the immediate, near, and distant future. Think about everything you rely on today and imagine it’s gone tomorrow. You’re stuck with what you’ve prepared in go-bags and cache points and the knowledge you have between those ears.
Think about what you can do for your neighbor and others today, how can you help them. It may be that person who you’ll call upon in your moment of need. As we survive, we don’t want to lose what makes us human. We want to uphold to ethical standards although a SHTF situation may cause us to do things unimaginable, we can still operate in an ethical manner. You have the right to protect you and your loved ones, even others who are being oppressed. You don’t have to feel bad about that, but you should consider all aspects of actions and after actions to improve on errors made. Stay alert, stay alive!