Fear of civil unrest prompts super-rich to buy “getaway” boltholes
The super-rich are buying property with airstrips in places like New Zealand, because they’re afraid of an uprising from the poor, according to a speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Robert Johnson, president of US think tank, the Institute of New Economic Thinking, said hedge fund managers are making getaway plans after civil unrest such as the 2011 London riots and the recent Ferguson riots.
He 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.”
Johnson’s statments follow Oxfam’s recent report indicating how the gap between the rich and poor is widening. Over the last five years, the richest 1% grew from owning 44% of the world’s wealth to 48% in 2014, says Oxfam. By next year, they’ll own more than the rest of the 99% put together.
According to reports in The Guardian, Johnson argued that if the lowest-earning people are making enough money, people can tolerate income inequality. However, when more and more people are struggling to get by even in the richest countries, the gap becomes a problem.
“People need to know there are possibilities for their children – that they will have the same opportunity as anyone else,” said Johnson.
“There is a wicked feedback loop. Politicians who get more money tend to use it to get more even money.”
Stewart Wallis from the New Economics Foundation agreed that the wealthy were planning their escape, telling CNBC Africa: “If they can get off, onto another planet, some of them would.”