Pitchforks Ahead?


The 30 January 2017 edition of The New Yorker published an article by Evan Osnos entitled Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich|Some of the wealthiest people in America—in Silicon Valley, New York, and beyond—are getting ready for the crackup of civilization.

It describes luxurious private and exclusive self-sustaining (and well-fortified!) “bunkers” that certain interviewed “jillionaires” have reserved in case of an apocalyptic revolt of “The Other 99%.” The following excerpt presents a more realistic, responsible—and effective—point of view:

“One measure of survivalism’s spread is that some people are starting to speak out against it. Max Levchin, a founder of PayPal, … told me:

‘It’s one of the few things about Silicon Valley that I actively
dislike—the sense that we are superior giants who move
the needle and, even if it’s our own failure, must be spared.’

“To Max Levchin, prepping for survival is a moral miscalculation; he prefers to ‘shut down party conversations’ on the topic:

‘I typically ask people, “So you’re worried about the pitchforks.
How much money have you donated to your local homeless shelter?”
This connects the most, in my mind, to the realities of the income gap.
All the other forms of fear that people bring up are artificial.'”

Levchin concludes that “this is the time to invest in solutions, not escape.”


Bob Dylan, born 1941.
AARP The Magazine,
February/March 2015.

A few years ago (before he became a Nobel Laureate in 2016), Bob Dylan requested an interview with Robert Love (once top editor of Rolling Stone, now of AARP The Magazine). Besides his insight nailing The Real Reason Why Rock ‘n’ Roll Died, he most astutely observed:

“The government’s not going to create jobs. It doesn’t have to.

“People have to create jobs, and these big billionaires are the
ones who can do it. We don’t see that happening.

“We see crime and inner cities exploding with people who have nothing to do but meander around, turning to drink and drugs, into killers and jailbirds.

“They could have work created for them by all these hotshot billionaires.

“For sure, that would create a lot of happiness.
Now, I’m not saying they have to—I’m not talking about communism—
but what do they do with their money? Do they use it in virtuous ways?

“There are a lot of things that are wrong in America and especially in the inner cities that they could solve.

“Those are dangerous grounds, and they don’t have to be. There are good people there,
but they’ve been oppressed by lack of work. Those people can all be working at something.

“These multi-billionaires, and there seem to be more of them every day,
can create industries right here in the inner cities of America.
But no one can tell them what to do. God’s got to lead them.”

Going back to 2012, Nick Hanauer presented a TED [Technology, Entertainment, Design] Talk confessing that he is a super-rich guy who owns so many houses on multiple continents that he can’t remember all of them. He warned that, unless the income gap between The Top 1% and “The Other 99%” is fixed, the outcome will be unavoidable revolt and social apocalypse.

In 2013, Hanauer published a commentary in Bloomberg Business Week proposing a $15 minimum wage. Hanauer believes that, if societal inequality is allowed to grow unchecked, modern societies could start looking like pre-Revolutionary France.

These views can be traced back to the wisdom of Henry Ford [1863–1947], who acted upon the proposition that his employees should be paid enough to afford purchase of the automobiles they built in his factories.

End of rant…