Center for Strategic Assessment and forecasts

Autonomous non-profit organization

Home / Politics and Geopolitics / Direction materials
Business: where the billionaires of the US refuge from the coming Apocalypse
Material posted : Administrator Publication date: 09-02-2017

Secluded real estate abroad — a passion not only for Russian oligarchs. Lately, she has mastered many billionaires from Silicon valley, and most of all their eyes turn in the direction of New Zealand.

Secluded island with a good climate, long-established "gentleman's set" self-respecting billionaire. Hawaii, British virgin Islands, Bahamas, Fiji — here, according to Forbes published the gallery, those heavenly places that are occupied by billionaires from around the world.

Increasingly, however, they consider the property not as a place but as "alternate", where you can escape in the case of global instability. And then particularly important factor is not entertainment infrastructure, and privacy, distance from countries with aggressive foreign policy and military bases.

According to these parameters leads New Zealand. The country has no land borders with other States, seems to be more protected from epidemics and military conflicts. A small population — 4.5 million 268 thousand sq km — allows for respectful cities from a distance to build a very comfortable "shelter" for yourself and your family to observe the death of the rest of the world from a safe distance.

The hobbit Silicon valley

At the end of January 2017, The New Zealand Herald reported that one of the most famous and wealthy Americans — Peter Thiel — has purchased 477 acres in the South island. Thiel was the first major investor in Facebook, and founded PayPal, but special attention was attracted during the last presidential election, when it was announced that, unlike most of their counterparts in Silicon valley, supports Donald trump.

The estate near lake Wanaka, which is estimated at $10 million, til had acquired two years ago, and not asking for permission to the government, although the land has a special status and transactions of foreign citizens must approve the Agency for foreign investment. The news is that, as explained by the representative of the Department, till not a foreigner, he is the sixth year new Zealand citizenship. This fact American billionaire never advertise.

However, it is not only Tolkien. According to Thiel, the world is the same struggle between good and evil, as in "the Lord of the rings", but with the difference that a successful outcome will be. Dark forces — epidemic, social unrest, or wars over scarce resources — can prove irresistible, and then they can only hide on the edge of the world. "I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible," says Peter Thiel. Possibly, the citizenship of New Zealand is closest to life in middle earth, suggests The New York Times.

New Zealand welcome does not abandon the rich from around the world. In exchange for investments of $7.3 million for three years there you can get a residence permit to live permanently in the country there's no need to spend 44 days in a year. There are economical option: $1.1 million over four years and 146 days a year in the country. And American billionaires are willing to use this opportunity. In New Zealand have alternate aerodromes founder of the investment Fund Tiger Management Corp. Julian Robertson, filmmaker James Cameron, Chairman of the Board of Directors Fidelity National Financial bill Foley, etc.

Among the owners of new Zealand property is also the head of the Russian "Evraz" Alexander Abramov and the Hong Kong financier Michael Nock. According to Bloomberg, in 2011 New Zealand has issued 10 thousand investment visas, in 2016 — already 75 thousand

"If the world is destined to descend into hell, then this is the best place on the planet. People want security and therefore are committed to New Zealand," says Director of customer service at Malcolm Pacific Immigration David Cooper.

In anticipation of the Apocalypse

The anticipation of catastrophe is not leaving the Silicon valley not only til. In this sense, he's got more supporters than political allegiances.

Many in the Valley perceive the arrival of Donald trump in the White house as the next step towards a global catastrophe. For example, the organizers of the project "doomsday Clock" at the end of January stated that disaster the world takes only 2.5 min. Scientists, among them 17 Nobel prize winners, we are convinced that this close to the Apocalypse the world been since 1950-ies, when the United States and the Soviet Union began testing thermonuclear weapons.

Sam Altman, head of the largest startup incubator Ycombinator, admitted to The New Yorker magazine, which is also preparing for the world disaster: "When my friends get drunk, they begin to speculate how it will end. Since in a Dutch lab five years ago modified the H5N1 avian influenza virus, making it sverhdorogim, the probability that a deadly synthetic virus would be unleashed in the next 20 years, was, shall we say, non-zero".

Another significant risk — the attack on the humanity of artificial intelligence, describes the possible scenarios for Altman, or a nuclear war for resources. "Try not to think about it, but I have the guns, gold, potassium iodide, antibiotics, batteries, water supplies, gas masks from the Israeli army and a large plot of land in big Sur, where I can fly," says the entrepreneur.

Big sur is a mountainous, sparsely populated area on the California coast. But for Altman it is only a transit point. In the case of an apocalyptic scenario shelters surrounded by ocean, like New Zealand, seem more reliable. And, in fact, further Altman's plan is to first fly to big sur, and then together with a friend Til is in its new Zealand ownership.

The revelation of Sam Altman prompted The New Yorker to investigate the prevalence of such concerns among successful entrepreneurs. I found something interesting. According to estimates by Reid Hoffman, the founder of the social network LinkedIn, more than half of the billionaires of Silicon valley has acquired something of a refuge: "Human motivation is a complicated thing. But I think people think: now I have protection from what scares me".

The new Luddites

Why panic haunted the IT business sector, it would seem, are imbued with the spirit of optimism and confidence that technology will change the world for the better? Habit to consider all the risks and maximize the forecasts leads them to the conclusion that technology can not only stop the progressing problems of humanity, but to exacerbate them.

Traditional disaster technology does not prevent — it did not prevent Silicon valley to inflate and burst a bubble in the property market; moreover, according to Thiel, the bubble was a response to another, the same Silicon valley and generated, namely, "the collapse of the dotcom". As a result of these shocks, the welfare of the majority of Americans stopped increasing or even fell, and social stratification increased. It will increase even more as robots, that is, artificial intelligence will displace people from production, that the latter can take up arms just for the inhabitants of Silicon valley. The pandemic is caused by some kind of invincible virus, could easily be among the claims made to the technologies and their creators. In short, American billionaires fear a new Luddite.

This movement erupted in the nineteenth century, at the dawn of industrialization, in the UK. The participants struggled with new technologies — they broke the looms, were selected their jobs. Then the disturbance was suppressed by the repression, the benefit the state has enough funds for it. Now one of the catastrophic scenarios that have circulated in Silicon valley, facing a similar outbreak, but with the difference that the victims are not machines and their creators.

Rich and armed

The concerns seem justified because some people in America sincerely believe that the inhabitants of Silicon valley make their fortunes out of thin air, deceiving investors and the public. One of the supporters of this point of view, Antonio garcía martínez, was an analyst at Morgan Stanley, then made an application for advertising in social media AdGrok, and six months ago released a memoir called Chaos Monkeys — "Monkey of chaos", which described in detail how he deceived his colleagues.

Twitter purchased AdGrok, with the condition that Antonio will stay there to work, but he quit and went to a competitor — Facebook. In this company, he, however, also did not stay and eventually returned to Twitter. "Morality in the form in which it exists in these technologies, is a very expensive pleasure," he writes. And in conversation with The New Yorker adds: "When a society loses faith in a healthy fundamental myth, it falls into chaos."

Not the fact that the authorities have powers to curb new Luddites. So, rich will have to seek safety in fortifications and weapons. In the study of The New Yorker weapons mention almost all the interlocutors of journalists. But how to deal with a disorderly crowd, even if you have in the basement of an Arsenal? Rather to get lost somewhere on the edge of the world, where you don't exactly get it.

Among the billionaires of Silicon valley expressions "prep for survival" (training to survive) and "apocalypse insurance" (insurance from the Apocalypse) the steel chassis — they are preparing for the worst and hope to survive, not especially hesitate to discuss the scenario in the circle.

Reid Hoffman once told a friend that he was going to go to New Zealand. "And, for insurance against the Apocalypse?" — he reacted. Conversations on this subject held in Masonic style — winks, everything is understood. "Then the secret sign you usually say: "you Know, I have one broker that sells silos for Intercontinental missiles, they are protected from nuclear attack, and it is interesting to live there," says Hoffman.

Security in price

These sentiments make traders custom estate. For those who have no money for a house in New Zealand, the USA offers silos and bunkers during the cold war. The company Vivos offers bins for $25 thousand in Texas with all the course facilities, drains, air filters, premises for storage of food. And that's one of the most budget options.

In such bunkers have all that, according to the optimists, need to survive the end of the world — protection against all effects of a nuclear attack, enough food for several dozen of years, after which it will be possible to come to the surface, to assess the loss and to continue living.

A real estate in New Zealand meanwhile is steadily going up. According to Global Property Guide, housing prices have grown in 2015 by nearly 11%. One reason for this was high immigration, including owners of large capital. And some real estate agencies even position themselves as doomsday preppers, that is oriented to those who are sincerely preparing for the end of the world.

Alexander Gordeev


RELATED MATERIALS:Politics and Geopolitics