Why Silicon Valley billionaires are prepping for the apocalypse in New Zealand


Would the billionaires have the same exalted status without common people? Interesting to see what people do when they are right at the peak of the pyramid.

Because this is the role that New Zealand now plays in our unfurling cultural fever dream: an island haven amid a rising tide of apocalyptic unease. According to the country’s Department of Internal Affairs, in the two days following the 2016 election the number of Americans who visited its website to enquire about the process of gaining New Zealand citizenship increased by a factor of 14 compared to the same days in the previous month. In particular, New Zealand has come to be seen as a bolthole of choice for Silicon Valley’s tech elite.

In the immediate aftermath of Trump’s election, the theme of American plutocrats preparing for the apocalypse was impossible to avoid. The week after the inauguration, the New Yorker ran another piece about the super-rich who were making preparations for a grand civilisational crackup; speaking of New Zealand as a “favored refuge in the event of a cataclysm”, billionaire LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, a former colleague of Thiel’s at PayPal, claimed that “saying you’re ‘buying a house in New Zealand’ is kind of a wink, wink, say no more”.

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Mark O’Connell – The Guardian

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‘No Amount of Screaming Would Have Helped Us’


Today’s needull is review of two novels based on apocalypse like scenarios. The authors use this scenario to look at some philosophical questions.

The novel really becomes remarkable when Helle extrapolates philosophical debate from the dire situation. The conversion of matter into fundamental particles, as the men face their own deaths, is hinted at obliquely when the narrator watches the blazing chair: ‘You can no longer tell that the thing that is burning there was once a chair’, giving him hope that his essence may survive somewhere in the universe. The book ultimately questions why mankind shoulders on in the face of such futile odds: ‘All in all, we don’t much care for this world any longer. But still we continue diligently to take one step after another into it.’

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Jude Cook — Review 31

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