Capitalism, education, reconstruction and Fort Cicerogreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
I've been reading a lot of stuff about marketing, recently, and came up with the theory that: "If jealousy and a fear of being left behind -which many ads use as a hook- motivates people to buy things more than just plain want, then a fear of something real and tangible should be a huge motivator".
With that in mind, I've found a way -I think- to capitalise on y2k. To make what could be an immense amount of money (could be is based on the fact that I have about 13 months in which to do so, and that I'd need six figures of startup capital- my parents are lower-middle class and can't help, dammit) and help a lot of people, quite possibly saving tens of thousands of lives.
By the way, I'm writing this on the basis that on this forum we all consider each other friends. Friends don't steal each others' ideas, okay? ;)
Two main facets: 1) For the very rich, the upper-upper class who earn $10mil+ a year. A lot of these guys live in L.A, which for reasons that should be fairly obvious is probably going to be worse than Beirut come 2000. Anyway, for them, I'll have retreats bought, built, fitted out and basically made ready. We handle everything, from buying the land to building the place (using out-of-state construction workers; that dilutes the number of locals who know where the place is) to stocking it with guns and food and medicine and all the hundred and one other things you need to survive for a year on your own. Better stuff we present as custom options: "If you like, you can add motion detectors and a layered security system that'll alert you whenever someone comes within a mile of the place for only $...". We also give the customer and his family a free training course -just a couple of days- in how to use a firearm, etc. For these services, we charge a generous profit margin. A man earning $5mil a year will not balk at spending $100,000 as an insurance policy for himself and his family. Since my initial guesstimate says that the project would cost maybe $40,000 for me, that's a nice margin.
That's the main way to make money. However, I also want to help the masses somehow and save lives. To do that, there's 2) Information, seminars and courses. Market "year 2000 awareness courses"; a 2-hour information evening, free, where the exact causes implications, and possibilities of 2000 are discussed. This is partially a public service and partially a marketing tool for the other stuff, which costs money (enough to cover my costs, plus a small profit). "The other stuff" is courses run in firearms, basic mechanics, advice on what to do WTSHTF, and so on. I'm sure these already exist -I *know* firearms and basic mechanics courses already exist- but we'll be marketing them at average people who don't want to die in 2000.
There's also my idea of 3), "Fort Cicero" (named after Marcus Tuilius Cicero, my hero- he rose from middle-class birth to the very top of the Roman aristocracy, all while being one of the most decent men in Rome. He's nothing to do with 2000, but I've always wanted to name something big in honor of him). FC, (or probably a more market-desirable name) would only come into existence if I can get support from fifty or so of the upper-upper class, and that support would take the shape of seven-figure sums. It would basically be the ultimate survivalist retreat; located on top of a hill, with weapons emplacements and so forth (I might even look into acquiring illegal stuff from Russia or somewhere, heavy machine guns, anti-tank weapons and so forth; bringing them in, stashing them away somewhere safely until TSHTF and then mounting them on the defences). Inside would be quality accommodation for 250 people, with a gym, a library, a pool room, etc. Underground would be millions of rounds of ammunition, enough food for 250 people to survive on for 5 years plus seeds and agricultural stuff, a LOT of fuel, plus junk silver and gold. There'd also be a vault for these rich customers to bring their own personal valuables that they don't want looted WTSHTF; they bring them here. I'm assuming 4-person families and 50 primary customers (I have no idea as to the expense of what this theoretical dream would cost, but I think it would run well into eight figures). We also hire a couple dozen trustworthy military people for added security, plus specialists like a good doctor, an agricultural expert, a couple of mechanics, a teacher for the kids (why not?), and a couple of weapons-proficient janitors. We have solar panels on the roofs of the buildings, a very high observation tower so that we can see everything for miles around, wells, wind power if viable, water power if there's a stream nearby (streams are rare on the tops of high hills, but we could run a cable down to a generator on the nearest river. The first lot of marauders would probably sever it, but we can fix replace cables and it would be a good source of power without wasting petrol). FC would have two purposes, the latter which I would probably not advertise. The first would be the primary one of providing security for a lot of rich people. The second: All my profits (I'd convert them to gold, of course) would be stored there. So would a lot of stuff that thousands of good people could survive on. Once the environment calms down enough, FC becomes the focal point for something that Cicero himself would be proud of: Reconstruction. Fanning out, we equip other good people with the stuff they need to start agriculture and civilisation again. Increase, until FC itself is no more than a stronghold and founding capital. Keep expanding as resources allow, using military strength to deter or hunt down marauders, giving any who surrender citizenship and land. This is what my profits would be used for; financing this expansion/reconstruction thing.
Of course, FC is theoretical and will require a lot of effort to make real. The other two concepts are what I could do immediately on getting finance, and I'm planning a cost structure proposal for the first one right now.
So what do you guys think?
-- Leo (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 13, 1998
Leo, my man. The first option would be OK, REALLY GREAT, except...... your cost figures are AT LEAST 1 order of magnitude off for the " 'plain vanilla' retreat". the kind of cabin you will have to provide, with the required acouterments, particularly if you are building and stocking appropriately will cost at least 100K$. Especially considering the cost of the land.
the Fort C option is also really interesting. As you set out to create the ideal castle/fort remember that the support structure of a castle in the old times was the village just outside it's walls. I don't see any provision for the village of sworn-men and bond-women you will need to support the 250 you are expecting. Consider just the wheat option. 250 people, 5 years, 700 pounds (MINIMUM for SUBSISTENCE) yields=1250 person years and 875000 pounds of JUST wheat. Add Honey 125000 pounds, Milk and dairy Products 250000 pounds and the rest of the required acouterments, you are looking at a LARGE facility. It's an interesting idea, that I played with for a novel. I came to the conclusion that the critical mass population for this type of operation would be about 250-300, but EVERYONE would have to be involved in security, and in productively supporting the community/castle. VERY SOON after the triggering event, that generated the population of this retreat, a village would have to be set up to house the support structure for the "Royal Class" in the castle.
-- NoWayToday (Not@this.time), November 13, 1998.
Hmmm, sounds to me like you've described the White House Y2K Plan.
-- MVI (email@example.com), November 13, 1998.
-- annon (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 13, 1998.
The "high-end" group you'd be approaching may reject for several reasons - Aspen CO sites are 1-2 Million each, and these characters would likely consider that "slumming" at a 100,000 cabin.
They live with, on, and for each others approval - and loath the so-called "right-wing survialist kooks". I don't think these types - I'm thinking Hollywood here, business types may be more realistic - would risk the embarresment of not being seen at the most glamorous, the latest party that night.
Get some capital, give it a trial. Offer your sponsor(s) first rights in the first ??? cabins.
-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (email@example.com), November 13, 1998.
Firstly, the FC idea would be pitched at anyone with the money to pay for it. There are a LOT of people who make better money than the top movie stars- they just aren't as prominent. They'd also be smarter, and more interested in survival over glamor. In fact, I'd rather have intelligent people than movie stars; they'd be better for getting things done.
Secondly, I'm aware that food is an issue. We would store quite large amounts on site; I've read that the food for one person for one year would take about 5 cubic metres. Times that by 250 by 4, and you need quite a large underground area.
As for the White House.. the difference would be that WE would pay for it, not the people. I don't want to establish any form of servant class; that's just evil. It would be mutual co-operation. Mutual benefit.
Haven't looked into the costs for idea 1), although I plan to ASAP. If you're right, I'm pissed off.
-- Leo (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 13, 1998.
Why not just build solar heated hydroponic greenhouses for food? With backup hand pumps for the tanks, of course. The pumps only have to be operated once every six hours or so - and plants grow like crazy in such a place - with no weeds or bugs (xcpt the white midge fly) food production is much greater (10x or better) than equivalent open air acreage. And it is all year round. The chemicals for a year or two of operation would fit a small barrel - just test for PH and then mix a new batch every month. Spray the old batch on the lawn - it will make the lawn lovely.
-- Paul Davis (email@example.com), November 13, 1998.
close your html.
-- closeit (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 14, 1998.
Be sure to plan for moving your compound's population in the unlikely event that a raging forest fire heads your way.
-- Diane J. Squire (email@example.com), November 14, 1998.
My vision for this place would be in an area not full of trees. Trees provide cover, which benefits a mobile side with minimal firepower. For security's sake, I wouldn't want a single tree within five miles of the place (ideally), and definitely not within a mile (realistically).
Also, terrain and land prices are a bit of an issue. Aspen is way out of the question; I was thinking more of Arizona. One idea that I had was to possibly build it in Texas, as close as possible to an oil well. We build a very small refinery (is that possible, or do refineries take up vast amounts of land?) and thus get a lot of available fuel. This would be immensely useful (imagine 2001, we can have aircraft in the air while everyone else is walking).
That greenhouse idea sounds very, very good. If this ever gets out of the theoretical stage, I'm going to have to look quite seriously into that. FC would probably be located somewhere hot, so that wouldn't be an issue. If I could, I'd locate the place in grassland or cornfield country, a place from where reconstruction and basic ag would be easier (if we can get a big surplus of food, it'd benefit other people a lot, hopefully save a lot of lives, and give some credence to us not being a bunch of assholes trying to restore the old system).
-- Leo (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 14, 1998.
Greenhouse's work, Leo. Bunker's don't.
-- Diane J. Squire (email@example.com), November 14, 1998.
Yes, but a place like this is going to be attacked. A smaller survivalist retreat might not be, but a place like FC would draw malevolent or hungry bastards like honey draws flies; it'll have wealth and food and everything else people would want.
Greenhouses provide food, but bunkers are neccessary (actually, not bunkers: a hill that any attackers would have to climb, avoiding ditches and passing through barbed/razor wire, before they climb a fence tipped with razor wire, all the while under fire from automatic weapons. The guys firing those weapons would be behind some form of cover for their own safety, of course- but I was thinking more of low bulletproof walls than bunkers.)
-- Leo (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 14, 1998.
A minor addendum about the greenhouses - Saudi now provides over half their food from hydroponic greenhouses on some offshore islands - at least it was over half when the team from UK that designed and built them turned them over to native operators and came home.
-- Paul Davis (email@example.com), November 14, 1998.
Another note about food - if you are interested in growing meat, you should look into pond raised catfish. These fish are about the most efficient convertors of feed into meat there are - and they will eat most anything. They are pretty good eating, too.
A general note to those who don't like to eat animal flesh here - as you should know, it is pretty difficult to balance out the ideal human diet without meat. In a survival situation, it would be impossible. The worst thing is B-vitamins, the only natural non animal source for B-12 that I am aware of is soybean tofu. Please don't quote me that tired old saw about human gut bacteria producing B vitamins - they surely do, but they produce them in parts of the intestine past the part of the gut capable of absorbing them. That is why rabbits eat their droppings - to recycle these vitamins back into the part of the gut that will allow them to be used. So unless you are going to make like a rabbit, eat some kind of animal product if you can't balance your diet.
-- Paul Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 15, 1998.
Those are two *really* good ideas, that I will definitely look into. The catfish, I assume, you could just as effectively raise in an indoor tank, feeding them all the scraps and garbage.
Mushrooms grow pretty easily. One idea that I've had was a well-ventilated room full of shelves, shelves that are full of dirt. Let mushrooms grow there, harvesting and eating them. Since they don't need light, you could have quite a few mushroom-growing rooms..
-- Leo (email@example.com), November 16, 1998.