Son James, his wife Kelsey, and I had an interesting conversation about the possible coming collapse of the Euro this evening. I read part of this story to them:
British embassies in the eurozone have been told to draw up plans to help British expats through the collapse of the single currency, amid new fears for Italy and Spain.
As the Italian government struggled to borrow and Spain considered seeking an international bail-out, British ministers privately warned that the break-up of the euro, once almost unthinkable, is now increasingly plausible.
Diplomats are preparing to help Britons abroad through a banking collapse and even riots arising from the debt crisis.
The Treasury confirmed earlier this month that contingency planning for a collapse is now under way.
A senior minister has now revealed the extent of the Government’s concern, saying that Britain is now planning on the basis that a euro collapse is now just a matter of time.
That’s the background. What’s more interesting to me is this article:
About a year ago, I spoke at a conference in Europe that attracted a lot of very rich people from all over the continent, as well as a lot of people who manage money for high-net-worth individuals.
What made this conference remarkable was not the presentations, though they were generally quite interesting. The stunning part of the conference was learning – as part of casual conversation during breaks, meals, and other socializing time – how many rich people are planning for the eventual collapse of European society.
Not stagnation. Not gradual decline. Collapse.
As in riots, social disarray, plundering, and chaos. A non-trivial number of these people think the rioting in places such as Greece and England is just the tip of the iceberg, and they have plans – if bad things begin to happen – to escape to jurisdictions ranging from Australia to Costa Rica (several of them remarked that they no longer see the U.S. as a good long-run refuge).
Of course. Once it is pointed out it is obvious.
Those with money will escape the collapse if it occurs. They will take a big hit and won’t be able to get all of their wealth out but they are generally smart and will generally succeed. The looters (by this I mean to include the socialist governments) will attempt to prevent the wealth from leaving but even if they were successful eventually the looters will run out of loot.
Much of the wealth and nearly all the brain power that generated that wealth will “take a holiday”. There is also a good chance, as in the book, that the escape of these people to another place will hasten the downfall. Rand may have missed a lot of the details but the basic concepts may be close enough that the end result is essentially the same.
Atlas may be shrugging.