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Some of the wealthiest people in America—in Silicon Valley, New York, and beyond—are getting ready for the crackup of civilization.

By Evan Osnos

NPRのFresh Airでも話していました。

Why Some Silicon Valley Tech Executives Are Bunkering Down For Doomsday
January 25, 20172:44 PM ET

この記事はFORTUNE CEO Dailyというメルマガの紹介がコンパクトにまとまっていたのでそちらを紹介します。核ミサイル格納庫を改築したluxury condo retreatsが出てきますが、ここでは「避難所」みたいな意味でいいのではないでしょうか。世界の終わりが来ても逃げ込めるシェルターこそまさに究極のretreatですね。

"Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich", in the New Yorker , is everything a magazine article should be: Surprising, nuanced, and layered with multiple levels of meaning. As the title conveys, it's about ultra-wealthy types—mostly in Silicon Valley and Wall Street—who have adopted the sorts of survivalist plans that are possible for those with nine-figure assets. (The article appeared before news broke that venture capitalist billionaire and Trump acolyte Peter Thiel obtained citizenship in New Zealand.) One investment chief tells the writer, Evan Osnos, "I keep a helicopter gassed up all the time, and I have an underground bunker with an air-filtration system." Why, yes, I see how those could come in handy. Readers go on to visit an underground former nuclear missile silo near Wichita, Ks., now converted to luxury condo retreats (in the most literal sense) for the wealthy…when the people with the pitchforks come.

「超金持ちのためのこの世の終わりへの備え」は雑誌ニューヨーカーの記事だが、雑誌記事に必要なものがすべて詰まっている。驚きを与え、考えさせられ、重層的な見方を示してくれている。タイトルが伝えている通り、超富裕層の中で、多くがシリコンバレーやウォール街出身だが、緊急事態の備えをしているタイプについてである。この備えは9桁の資産がないと実行できない。(この記事が出てからベンチャーキャピタリストで億万長者のトランプ支持者Peter Thielがニュージランドの国籍を取得したというニュースが飛び込んできた)。ある投資責任者がライターのEvan Osnosに次のように語った「ヘリコプターの燃料を常に満タンにしているし、地下シェルターには空気清浄装置がある」まあ、これらのことは役立つことはわかる。読み進めると、カンザス州ウィチタにある地下の核ミサイル格納庫を訪れることになる。今は裕福な人のため(まさに文字通りの意味で)豪華マンションの避難所に改築されている。

This isn't a story about a handful of quirky paranoiacs. Osnos diagnoses significantly graver social maladies, and they're hardly limited to a few people: "A survey commissioned by National Geographic found that forty per cent of Americans believed that stocking up on supplies or building a bomb shelter was a wiser investment than a 401(k)." He notes that the doomsday preparations accelerated after 2008, sped up some more during Obama's second terms and yes, continue to mount today. In New Zealand, which you'll discover is the lusher, more aesthetically pleasing alternative to an underground silo in Kansas, 13,401 Americans registered—the first step in applying for citizenship—in the days after Donald Trump was elected president. That's more than 17 times the usual rate, according to Osnos.


By the time this article is done, Osnos has astutely compared today's income inequality and rising resentment of the wealthy (at least, as it's perceived by those affluent people) to a similar era more than a century ago, when John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie were symbols of profligate riches at a moment of stark economic gaps and perceptions of government failure. As Osnos points out, those titans decided to spend their millions to address social ills; the people he describes in this article are using their wealth to flee them.

(この記事が終わるところで、Osnosは今日の収入格差と高まる富裕層への恨み(少なくとも裕福な人が感じているもの)を一世紀以上前の似た時期と鋭く比較している。その時代とはJohn D. RockefellerとAndrew Carnegieが盛大に浪費する金持ちのシンボルとなり、大きな経済格差と政府の失敗という認識があった時である。Osnosが指摘するように、これらの大金持ちたちは大金をはたいて社会問題に取り組んだ。この記事で登場した人物たちは自分たちの富を問題から逃れるために使っている)

ニューヨーカーの記事でもこのような態度はélite survivalism is not a step toward prevention; it is an act of withdrawalと批判気味に書いています。こんな態度の人がシリコンバレーやウォール街にいれば切り捨てられた人々もトランプの唱えるような対策を取りたくなるのもわかります。(賛成はしませんが。。。)

Fear of disaster is healthy if it spurs action to prevent it. But élite survivalism is not a step toward prevention; it is an act of withdrawal. Philanthropy in America is still three times as large, as a share of G.D.P., as philanthropy in the next closest country, the United Kingdom. But it is now accompanied by a gesture of surrender, a quiet disinvestment by some of America’s most successful and powerful people. Faced with evidence of frailty in the American project, in the institutions and norms from which they have benefitted, some are permitting themselves to imagine failure. It is a gilded despair.

As Huffman, of Reddit, observed, our technologies have made us more alert to risk, but have also made us more panicky; they facilitate the tribal temptation to cocoon, to seclude ourselves from opponents, and to fortify ourselves against our fears, instead of attacking the sources of them. Justin Kan, the technology investor who had made a halfhearted effort to stock up on food, recalled a recent phone call from a friend at a hedge fund. “He was telling me we should buy land in New Zealand as a backup. He’s, like, ‘What’s the percentage chance that Trump is actually a fascist dictator? Maybe it’s low, but the expected value of having an escape hatch is pretty high.’ ”

記事のタイトルはthe survival of the richest(金持ち生存)でしたが、the survival of the fittest(適者生存)のもじりですね。

the survival of the fittest
the principle that only the people or things that are best adapted to their surroundings will continue to exist

survival of the fittest
a situation in which only the strongest and most successful people or things continue to exist

"Survival of the fittest" is a phrase that originated from Darwinian evolutionary theory as a way of describing the mechanism of natural selection. The biological concept of fitness is defined as reproductive success. In Darwinian terms the phrase is best understood as "Survival of the form that will leave the most copies of itself in successive generations."