- Waiting years to receive a car you ordered, to find that it's of poor workmanship and quality.
- Promises of colonizing the solar system while you toil in drudgery day in, day out.
- Living five adults to a two room apartment.
- Being told you are constructing utopia while the system crumbles around you.
- 'Totally not illegal taxi' taxis by private citizens moonlighting to make ends meet.
- Everything slaved to the needs of the military-industrial complex.
- Mandatory workplace political education.
- Productivity largely falsified to satisfy appearance of sponsoring elites.
- Deviation from mainstream narrative carries heavy social and political consequences.
- Networked computers exist but they're really bad.
- Henry Kissinger visits sometimes for some reason.
- Elite power struggles result in massive collateral damage, sometimes purges.
- Failures are bizarrely upheld as triumphs.
- Otherwise extremely intelligent people just turning the crank because it's the only way to get ahead.
- The plight of the working class is discussed mainly by people who do no work.
- The United States as a whole is depicted as evil by default.
- The currency most people are talking about is fake and worthless.
- The economy is centrally planned, using opaque algorithms not fully understood by their users.
The Event. That was their euphemism for the environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, unstoppable virus, or Mr. Robot hack that takes everything down.
This single question occupied us for the rest of the hour. They knew armed guards would be required to protect their compounds from the angry mobs. But how would they pay the guards once money was worthless? What would stop the guards from choosing their own leader? The billionaires considered using special combination locks on the food supply that only they knew. Or making guards wear disciplinary collars of some kind in return for their survival. Or maybe building robots to serve as guards and workers -- if that technology could be developed in time. [...]
When the hedge funders asked me the best way to maintain authority over their security forces after "the event," I suggested that their best bet would be to treat those people really well, right now. They should be engaging with their security staffs as if they were members of their own family. And the more they can expand this ethos of inclusivity to the rest of their business practices, supply chain management, sustainability efforts, and wealth distribution, the less chance there will be of an "event" in the first place. All this technological wizardry could be applied toward less romantic but entirely more collective interests right now.
They were amused by my optimism, but they didn't really buy it.
They were not interested in how to avoid a calamity; they're convinced we are too far gone. For all their wealth and power, they don't believe they can affect the future. They are simply accepting the darkest of all scenarios and then bringing whatever money and technology they can employ to insulate themselves -- especially if they can't get a seat on the rocket to Mars.