The super-rich are planning their escape in case of an uprising.
YOU know those doomsday paranoids who have bunkers full of dehydrated food and weapons?
Well, this is the upper-crust version. Rather than survivalists preparing for the end of the world in some backwater shack, the richie-rich among us are also taking the same precautions. Sort of.
Former hedge fund director, Robert Johnson, told a packed room at the World Economic Forum in Davos (kind of like camp for the super elite) that hedge fund managers were planning their escapes, wrote The Guardian.
Mr Johnson said: “I know hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway.”
So what are these super rich peeps afraid of? The zombie apocalypse? Rising sea levels? Alien invasion? Nuclear war?
Not so much. Maybe they are, but, apparently, that’s not why they’re planning their exodus.
The uber-wealthy are afraid of us.
Mr Johnson made the comment about his billionaire compatriots at Davos during a session on income inequality. What he was getting at is that the very rich have hatched escape plans in case of an uprising or a revolution from people fed up with the widening gap between the rich and the poor.
In recent years, Occupy protests have drawn some attention to, if not successfully agitated change on, the wealth gap.
Recently, an Oxfam report found that the 1 per cent richest people in the world will control 50 per cent of global wealth. Even within developed societies, income disparity is a glaring issue. In the US, the wealth gap is worse now that any time in the last 100 years except during the Great Depression, according to Fortune. There, the top 0.1 per cent of households own 22 per cent of total household wealth.
In Australia, according to ABS figures, the richest 20 per cent of Australian households account for 61 per cent of total household wealth.
Back at Davos, Mr Johnson said societies could tolerate income inequality if the minimum income was higher. But, he said, the existing system encourages and rewards chief executives to make decisions driven by profit.
“People need to know there are possibilities for their children — that they will have the same opportunity as anyone else. There is a wicked feedback loop. Politicians who get more money tend to use it to get even more money,” he said.
Of course, some high-wealth individuals (the preferred term for rich people in the investor community) may be setting their sights even higher. With commercial space travel almost a thing, the rich may be able to live out their days in space in a fancy space station, like in Elysium.
In the meantime, if you’re out and about in remote parts of Australia or New Zealand, and come across a high tech compound with an air strip, it may very well be a rich guy’s doomsday bunker.