The New Yorker has an article on some of the rich separating themselves from society into secure bunkers. Their premise is that society is in trouble. I think we mostly agree with the view that, with climate, inequality, and Trump as a response, we are in trouble.
What is most important for society – and I think us – will be the balance between caring for those who are hurting and hurting those whoa re not us. Some, as the article gives by example, reduce “us” to a Robinson Crusoe society of just me. Aloneism. As things get tight, do we chose to go buy a gun, or chose to talk with neighbors, taking every opportunity to hang out with people we may get to know? The balance between these impulses may turn out to be crucial
The rich in the article are using money they have taken from society to protect themselves from society and leaving behind, so to speak the very people whose money they took. This is at least anti-social. It is also, if they were aware, anti-self.
The rich go it aloners seem to lack any sense of culture in the sense of say Dickens or Tolstoy, or any awareness of politics as in the social obligations of governance. They seem uninfluenced by christianity, judaism, islam buddhism, confuscianism. Or Doonsbury.
What role does economics play in this? Most economic articles have no mention of the impact of economic activity, regulation, flow of investment, creative destruction, on any actual people. We have developed an economics culture where the mechanisms of economy remain while everything human: pain, displacement, broken families, happy families, a nice stroll in the woods, are totally missing. Such a culture supports some people taking some part of the mechanical system and going off the grid and leaving all else behind.
There are in the world very large number of experiments, mostly local, on new agriculture. living arrangements, shard solar panels, water conservation, craft production and sharing. What kind of economics would support these experiments?
The go it aloners fail to imagine the difference between isolated survival and the fear that goes with it from the pleasure and satisfaction of being with others, caring and helping and creating.