The Best Place to Live If a Cataclysm Comes

From a story on by Tyler Cowen headlined “Where is the best place to live if a cataclysm comes?”:

My counterintuitive answer is northern Virginia, or at least the general DC area. I’m talking about asteroids, super-volcanos, and nuclear exchanges, not AGI risk.

If you live in a dense urban area, stay put — especially if, like me, you live in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.

The biggest advantage of the Washington region is that, in the case of a real catastrophe, it would receive a lot of direct aid. It’s not just that Congress and the White House are nearby — so are the Pentagon, the FBI, the CIA and hundreds if not thousands of government agencies. Insofar as there might be an emergency response to a cataclysmic event, the Washington area will be prioritized.

The region also has plenty of hospitals and doctors, and a wide variety of law-enforcement units — including the various federal agencies as well as police from Maryland, Virginia and D.C. If you care about order being restored, Washington will be better than most places.

Of course, a counterargument is that Washington is more likely than most places to be hit by a cataclysmic event, especially if it involves a nuclear exchange or some other weapon of mass destruction.

But there’s “good news”: If a foreign enemy is truly intent on targeting America’s capital, the conflict may be so extreme that it won’t matter where you go. (If I were a foreign power attacking the US, Washington would not be my first choice as a target, as it would virtually guarantee the complete destruction of my own country.)

I consider — and reject — New Zealand and the American West as alternate options. New Zealand might not even let you in.

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