Wednesday 22 February 2017

Diversification as insurance: bolthole edition

Idealog asked me last week whether it made sense for billionaires to see New Zealand as a bolt-hole against apocalypse. I had a lot of fun taking a punt at an answer.

New Zealand would do better than other places in some doomsday scenarios, but hardly in all of them.
But Dr Eric Crampton, an economist and the head of research at the New Zealand Initiative, says the billionaires prepping for doomsday may have it wrong.

“For many end-of-the-world scenarios, the best bolthole isn’t the most isolated place in the world, but the wealthiest place in the world,” Crampton says.

“Scenarios leading to collapse in international trade are worse for small countries that are trade dependent than for very large countries that have large internal free-trading areas.”

But he can understand why US citizens would prefer to seek refuge on the other side of the world, particularly in the current political climate.

Crampton is a Canadian that moved to New Zealand from the States in 2003 to take a job at Canterbury University, and he’s stuck around ever since.

“Arriving here, it felt like the outside of the asylum. America was growing increasingly mad. Airports were armed camps. The police seemed to have a very hostile relationship with the public and were heavily armed,” he says.
There's a lot more at the link, including zombies. Enjoy! Bottom line, best billionaire strategy likely has a portfolio of boltholes against a range of potential disasters, and New Zealand could be a nice part of that bundle.

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