The Hyper-Elites Aren’t Thinking Straight About the End Game
They’re all going to end up isolated and alone
They’re all going to end up isolated and alone
The super-rich aren’t thinking straight.
We’ve got a world exploding with people.
We’ve got a warming planet on the verge of ecological collapse.
We’ve got an automation-induced joblessness crisis on the horizon.
10 billion people + water shortages + widespread poverty = ???
Everything points to Armageddon, or at the very least, multiple civil wars.
So what are the rich doing about it?
Profiting from the death spiral.
Preparing for Armageddon.
The elites aren’t stupid. Even if there’s a 5% chance of a major regional or global uprising in their lifetime, it’s worth allocating 5% to hedge their bets.
The elites aren’t stupid… but they are short-sighted.
Because what happens if a true collapse does occur?
Where do the rich end up?
Isolated and stuck in an underground bunker. (IE Peter Thiel, who’s supposedly building one in New Zealand.)
Isolated and stuck in a spaceship. (IE Elon Musk, who hopes to die on Mars.)
Isolated and stuck on a private island. (IE Larry Ellison, who owns the island of Lanai in Hawaii.)
Isolated and stuck on a private yacht. (IE Jeff Bezos, who is currently building a superyacht that’s so large it requires a second support yacht with a helipad.)
Setting aside the fact that homo sapiens aren’t adapted for long-term enclosure — in all these doomsday scenarios, the rich end up isolated and alone.
Is that really their long-term game plan?
Is that their brilliant Plan B backup for society?
Is that their vision of human flourishing?
If I was one of the richest people in the world, I’d get together the top few hundred wealthiest people for an End Game discussion.
I’d say something like, “Look, if we’re going to move full speed ahead with our AI automation agenda, it’s going to create billions of jobless people who will hate us. We also need to face the fact that our companies have raped the planet to fill our bank accounts. And right now, 131 million new enemies are being born every single day, and there’s no way our families will survive if we can’t feed, clothe, and affordably house all 11 billion of them in 2100.”
So what should we, the hyper-wealthy do about it?
Let’s start by assuming that we are only as rich as our poorest neighbor and that we are only as safe as our most dangerous citizen. Let’s also assume we’d like to reverse the middle-class decline and avoid planetary collapse.
How the heck can we do that?
What if we invested heavily in incentivized population control? Everyone’s worried about population decline from an economic perspective, but we actually don’t need workers anymore — we’ve got AI robots coming to do most of the work. So what if we gave people an extremely generous universal basic income if they chose to have one or less biological kids? A hundred years from now, the planet would have half as many people, essentially doubling the amount of resources available per person.
What if our global human goal wasn’t to pack as many people onto this planet as possible, but instead to maximize per capita human wellbeing?
Imagine the world of 2300 with just, say, one million people, but paired with the technological gains we’ve made in the past century.
Imagine a world where we re-grow the forests, re-stocked the oceans, and re-iced the poles.
Imagine being able to freely roam thousands of acres of field and forest and river and stream.
Imagine being able to see smog-free stars.
Imagine no one needing to work jobs they hate.
Imagine no more poverty or need.
Increasing shared natural resources + increasing shared technology + decreasing population = Super-abundance.
Instead, we’re heading for a Mad Max wasteland, dotted with very posh prison compounds for the wealthiest among us.
It’s not a very inspiring vision for humanity.
But the heart-breaking fact is that most ultra-wealthy people already live their lives in loneliness and isolation.
They can’t just go out for lunch like a normal person.
They can’t safely go for a walk down the street at night.
They can’t let their kids go off to school without bodyguards.
They’re under constant pressure to compete with global economic forces.
They live under the threat of political targeting.
They live with the knowledge that the working class hates them.
They can’t trust the large majority of the people they meet, including potential life mates.
In the case of many billionaires like Sumner Redstone and Rupert Murdoch — as so brilliantly portrayed in Succession — they can barely trust their own children.
So who knows… maybe isolation-for-everyone is their subconscious long-term game plan.
Maybe they want all of us to feel the way they do.