Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Missive from Galt Gulch

"There are two novels that can change a bookish 14-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." -- John Rogers.

So the top 400 richest people on the planet decide they're sick of dealing with the little people, and retire to Galt Gulch.

Day one: Four hundred people wander around Galt Gulch. "Where's my mansion?" Christy Walton asks. "I think we're supposed to build our own shelters," Larry Ellison replies. "I'll just hire some Mexicans to build me a new mansion," Charles Kotch says. Bill Gates mutters, "Do you see any Mexicans here?" Jim Walton says, "Just go to the nearest Wal-Mart and shout 'La Migra!' at the top of your voice, and stand outside. You'll see plenty of Mexicans to hire." "There's no Wal-Marts here," David Kotch says in an irritated voice. Alice Walton looks shocked, and says "What do you mean there's no Wal-Mart here? There's Wal-Marts like, everywhere!"

Warren Buffet sighs. "We have rocks and we have trees. All we have to do is pile up rocks into walls, and cut down the trees to use the wood to make roofs." "But I might break my nails!" Christy Walton screeches, a look of horror on her face. Michael Bloomberg interjects, "First things first. I'm hungry. What's for dinner?" Larry Page wanders by, a confused look on his face. "Just go onto Google Maps and look for nearby takeout restaurants and order something," he says. "Dolt!" snaps Sergey Brin, "We don't have computers here, and there are no restaurants, this is Galt Gulch, not Galt Silicon Valley!" Sheldon Adelson says, "I have a candy bar. I'll bet you this candy bar that nobody knows how to cook in this gulch." George Soros snarks, "I'll take that bet, because my fellow rich people are dolts, morons, and idiots, helpless without their serfs to do their every bidding." Michael Dell irritably says "That's mean, George. Anyhow, the answer is clear. I'll just use my credit card to buy that candy bar from Sheldon, and sell it on the Internet." "Monkeys! Monkeys! I see monkeys!" Steve Balmer shouts, and Paul Allen looks around, "hey, maybe we could eat those for dinner." Jeff Bezos says "Sure, just order a barbecue grill and a cigarette lighter from Amazon.com and we'll have barbecue monkey for dinner." Ann Chambers asks, "has anybody seen my nurse? I feel a fainting spell coming on." John Paulson snaps, "We don't need those little people. We are the masters of the universe. We own everything." "That's okay," Donald Bren says. "I'll just hire some contractors to bulldoze all this and put up a McMansion tract housing plot." Abigail Johnson helpfully says, "I think if we provide a mortgage-backed security for that application, we can obtain a significantly higher profit." Phil Knight says "so do you know how to drive a bulldozer, Donald?" and Donald looks at Phil with a look of horror that says "what, me, get my hands dirty?" Carl Icahn then says "let's do a leveraged buyout of bulldozer drivers." Ron Perelman yells, "Does anybody here know how to drive a bulldozer?" Silence follows.

As darkness falls, the 400 denizens of Galt Gulch huddle, hungry and cold, under the marginal shelter of the sparse trees populating the gulch. But they do not huddle in silence. As they huddle, they talk excitedly about new kinds of CDO's, leveraged buyouts, Internet search algorithms, optimal investment strategies, and the advantages of computerized inventory control. Over the next few days, the denizens of Galt Gulch slowly fade away, until in the end there are only 400 corpses, doomed by their inability to, like, actually do anything for themselves, as vs loot things from other people.

The End.

The above is, alas, a work of fiction. Oh well.

-- Badtux the "Too Bad" Penguin


  1. What a nice story! Made me happy, right up to the ending, when you said it was fiction...

    Instead of "Lord of the Rings," teenagers should read "Lord of the Flies." But they shouldn't take it to be an instruction manual.

  2. Good story, but I was hoping for cannibalism.

  3. Bukko, what is striking about our lords and masters is that not a single one of them has any idea which end of a hammer would be used to hammer a nail. None of them could build their own home with their own two hands regardless of how many building materials got ordered from their local Home Depot and dropped off at the edge of the Gulch for them, nevermind actually figuring out how to cut down trees and saw boards out of them themselves. Our lords and masters are, quite bluntly, idiots at anything that actually requires building something with their own two hands. They have people for that. And would be dead within days if they didn't.

    Nangleator, cannibalism would require them to get their hands dirty. They might have to figure out how to start a fire, and use stone implements. I doubt any of our lords and masters even possesses a pocket knife on their person, much less remember to bring silverware when they decided to Go Galt and depart to Galt Gulch.

    Meanwhile, back away from the Gulch, how is the rest of the world coping with the fact that their lords and masters have disappeared? We'll see in the next installment of "Going Galt".

    - Badtux the Fiction Penguin

  4. Actually, Nag has a good point. Put it together with Bukko's suggestion, and the final chapter, which you delicately elided, does most definitely involve cannibalism.

    As a wise blogger I know often points out, people will not willingly starve. Hunger falls upon the rich and the poor alike - at least in a wilderness scenario.

    The best part is that, since none of them know how to start a fire, they'll have to eat Christy Walton raw.

    JzB who had hummus for lunch

  5. Loving it...where is the travel agent to book their flights?

  6. Hmm, I think there's lots of the Galt Gulchians who would want to eat Christy Walton raw. Metaphorically speaking.

    But good point, JzB. Okay, cue the cannibalism.

    Plus I'm a bit harsh on some of the Galtians. For example, while the Google and Amazon guys (Page, Brin, and Bezos) are more mathematical airheads than practical pragmatists, they at least have a *theoretical* knowledge of how the real world operates -- they did at one point in time wield screwdrivers and actually build stuff with them. My guess is that they'd be the last men standing, and would die some months later after trying, and failing, to translate their theoretical knowledge of hunting and wilderness survival into actual capture and consumption of wildlife and actual shelter.

    - Badtux the Practical Penguin


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