We spoke with Pierre San Giorgio, who, after a successful business career, began focusing on the issue of survival in the event of a global crisis. Today he is considered one of the main authors of t. i. survivalism. His first Surviving-Economic Collapse Survival in 2012 was among France’s 50 best-selling books.
Besides being an expert on the survivalist strategy in case of a global crisis, you also have a career in the field of high-tech industry, working in different parts of the world. So, could you give us for the beginning a brief account of your career and tell us what led you to become an author dealing with the survivalist topics?
I’ve been working for 15 years in the high-tech industry, especially in the software industry across the world. I worked for big American companies like Oracle, and some internet companies like salesforce.com, etc. I also had my own company which I sold in 2005. My expertise was developing new markets for software companies. Actually, I had done some work in Ljubljana, in Slovenia. It is a beautiful city and a beautiful country and I enjoyed the time I worked there in 2000.
What led me to the survivalist topics was that first of all I traveled across the world and I could see the reality of the world. The second was that I started to notice the incredible changes, firstly, the consumption of energy, especially oil, as well as changes in the environment, and globalization. It also became obvious to me, that the war in Iraq in 2003 was such a big lie. All of this made me rethink everything that I knew about geopolitics and about how the world works.
So I concluded that eventually, by 2020, or so, there would be some major crisis that would cause the world economy to collapse. Because of that, I started to prepare myself. I bought a farm in the mountains. I also learned how to garden and a lot of other skills. So, little by little, I started to consult with other people who also wanted to understand what I was thinking, and eventually that led me to write a book that ended up being an international bestseller, and was translated in French, Italian, English, Russian and many other languages. It’s coming out in Polish and Turkish right now. That led me to write other books about survival.
My first book is focused on how to survive an economic collapse, and the second book is how to survive in the city. After that, I wrote a book, focusing on why women specifically should care about the future and such things. The last book out is about chemical, nuclear, radiological, and biological problems, which also includes such problems, as the current pandemic.
As a man who has worked on different continents, and in different cultural environments, what did you learn about human nature? How do your personal experiences reflect on the modern claims that “we are all the same” and that “race is just a social construct”?
Well, my generation was not that much concerned with all of that. In the 70s and 80s, we were just dreaming of an open world where you could do business, and no one ever told me that everyone was the same. I was always told that there were differences. And you can imagine that there are differences in cultures and peoples from Ljubljana or Zagreb, and from Ljubljana or Trieste.
I, being originally Italian, know that there are differences between people from Milano and people from Rome, from Napoli and Sicily, and so on. Obviously, there are differences between people from Slovenia and people from Congo or Japan. This was obvious. So all this “race is just a social construct” and we are “all the same”, it’s just complete nonsense, of course. We all know that ethnicities exist because of adaptation to the environment, which happened over thousands of years.
Our genes are adapted to the environment. It decides who you are and what culture you are developing since culture is also developed according to environmental and climatic patterns. In the Middle East, you have cultures where you don’t eat pork because it’s difficult to store pork in the heat. That’s just a simple example. And on the other hand, in countries with cold winters, a pig is a very useful animal to keep.
So, you develop cultures and religious taboos, you develop aggression in different ways whether you are in the desert, in the forest, or the savanna. We are all different and that is a great thing, to have different people. The problems begin if you start mixing different peoples, and with the ideologies which claim that everyone is the same and that everyone should have the same results. But of course, people cannot have the same results. Change of environment takes thousands of years of adaptation, but now you expect people to immediately, magically, adapt to different environments. Which is of course impossible. This is going to lead to war. We have seen the current migration crisis of the last five to ten years, which is going to increase. It has brought a kind of low scale civil war in the countries in which these people came. This sadly happening, and it’s normal.
I have no illusions regarding human nature. I have worked in Africa for 5 years. I know exactly how violent tribal cultures and all human cultures can be. Europe has a violent history, but so does the rest of the world. World history is the history of migrations of people who fight for territory, women, and resources. And this has always been very brutal and savage. So we have to be very careful, in case this comes back, and it is coming back.
As an author dealing with the survivalist topics, can you give us a brief account and main principles of the survivalist movement?
My definition of a survivalist is simply a responsible adult who thinks about the future and prepares for it. Nothing more, nothing less. So, whatever you think the future is going to be, you prepare for it. My particular theory is that if you want to predict and survive any kind of future events you need to think of a way to be free and to be free you have to have as much autonomy as possible. Autonomy from governments, the production cycles, and from being dependent on others regarding the things you need, like water, food, and so on. I’m not saying that you should be 100% autonomous and self-sufficient. But you must try to be at least a little bit autonomous and self-sufficient. In my first book, I defined seven principles, seven elements, which are important if you want to be autonomous: water, food, health and hygiene, energy, knowledge and skills, defense, and social link with other people. You should develop all of this, so that you can secure, not just survival for one person, but a network of people, basically what is called a village or a small town, or even a country that can be self-sufficient as much as possible and able to survive a crisis.
Recently, a book titled “Surviving Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Events”, that you co-authored with Chris Millennium was published. Could you tell us the story behind your cooperation with Mr. Millennium? What led you to the decision to write a book together? Also, please give us just a brief overview of the book, its main points?
When my first books came out I received a call from a person who was the former head of the chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear unit of the anti-terrorist branch of the French army. It is a very famous unit called GIGM Groupe d’Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale), very strong in the anti-terrorism against nuclear radiological terrorist attacks, like chemical terrorist attacks and things like that. He said, that he really loved my books, but thought that there was missing a part about chemical problems and biological pandemics problems.
So he suggested that we should write a book together. He contributed his knowledge on technical skills because he has a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and he is also a Special Forces guy. So he brought a lot of interesting elements to the book. And I contributed my knowledge on history, perspective, and perhaps also the writing. So together we wrote, what I believe is a unique book, which came out this year, in 2020. The book offers a lot of ideas, which help understand the problems, since, most of the problems that are biological and nuclear for example, you cannot see.
You cannot see radiation, you cannot see a virus, and you cannot see an epidemic, and yet you feel the effects. So you need to understand how to read the news and the information, how to detect the problem, and also how to react to it. The book also includes a list of what you should have in your house if you want to be prepared. So people who read the book had masks and gloves, and were ready for the pandemic, just as I was.
Pandemics happen regularly in history. In this case, it was what we call a “black swan”, it was unexpected. But we knew the probability that eventually it will come was high, and now it is here. The book can be also interesting to people who fear such things as a nuclear plant accident, or even a nuclear war. We hope this never happens, but it is a possibility in some countries. So, what do you do if let’s say India and Pakistan go to war and they use nuclear weapons, what are the consequences for you, for your household and your garden?
Because radiations will eventually spread across the world. What if there is a war between NATO and Russia? I mean, we hope it will never happen, but it is possible. So this book is very useful in this regard too. And there are of course also chemical accidents. Everyone who lives in the city is near a factory, and a lot of cities are facing this problem of petrochemical material that can burn, explode, or create pollution. Because of all of this, you need to be prepared.
What are your views on the current COVID-19 pandemic? How would you asses the measures taken by the European countries? Do you believe that a stricter and faster reaction could have prevented the rapid spreading of the virus?
I’ve been following this pandemic since mid-January and I was telling my followers on YouTube, that it is not something we should panic about, it’s not something extremely horrible. However, everyone should be prepared. I actually told a lot of people at the end of January to buy masks and to be ready, to stay at home and to get some food and water, just as I always do in case of such emergencies.
It is a fact that we have a real pandemic. It is more dangerous than the flu, but we are lucky that it’s not very dangerous. However, the data that came from China was very confusing, and only when Italy was hit in February, we were able to understand what the problem was. Now the main problem is that it can kill people who have weak immune systems, quite fast. It can be quite devastating for old people, for people with comorbidity and with other illnesses. So in these cases, people should be stopped, confined, and quarantined.
Obviously, this was done too late everywhere, and this confinement will also have terrible effects on the economy. That’s why it won’t last very long, and after six to eight weeks of confinement maximum, they will stop it. The governments will lift it since they will have to restart the economy, so it doesn’t die. The world health organization and generally speaking EU and the world governments have responded way to slow, and this is why the epidemic has spread.
Keeping the airlines open with China was a big mistake, and once the epidemic went through they basically said, that they can’t close the borders since the illness has gone through anyway. Eventually, the decision came too late. Of course, now we have to play the game and wait, but we cannot kill the economies. That’s why we will have to risk letting people out and restart the economies. But this is just a small crisis compared to what is coming in the future. The level of debt of the financial system is so high and it has been increasing because of this current crisis.
So, the debt level will be so impossible to repay, and eventually, the whole system will crash. I don’t think it is going to be this year but it could be very soon, it could be next year or the year after.
Do you have any practical advice for our readers regarding this pandemic, and what would you advise in general to the people during such a crisis? What precautions should we all take when such viruses appear?
For the current crisis, it is a bit too late. I would only advise people to stay calm and not to panic. Eventually, we will get out of this and most people will be ok. For any future crisis, that will obviously happen, I would like to encourage people to read my books since everything is explained in detail there. I explain how much food you should store per person per week, how to learn to defend yourself, and how to prepare yourself for any kind of crisis.
I think it’s most important that we create a network of people who can help each other. This is very important. Also, for the next pandemic, we should watch to have enough masks, gloves, medication, and others, which can help us in the case of confinement, at home… We are lucky that supermarkets are open, but you can imagine if they had to be closed. A lot of people don’t have food at home, they have nothing.
Can you give us a brief account of the natural course of such viruses, from its first appearance to its disappearance? How long do you believe it will take for the current COVID-19 virus, to disappear? Do you believe it could mutate and return at some point in the near future? What would be the best course of action in such a case?
Well, the good news is that it has already mutated, and we are following, I think, ten different mutations. Most, actually, all of them, are less viral and kill less. This particular virus is very common. There is actually a chapter in our book about this kind of viruses, and especially coronaviruses. Fortunately, they are well known, which means that we will have either cure or vaccines available very soon.
So, this problem will disappear. Of course, mutations will happen, and there will be new ones, but since the mortality is fairly low, and is getting lower over time, we can expect this to become like the flu; something that comes back every year and kills perhaps a few old or weak people, but then it’s gone and we forget about it. We are going to get used to it. This is not a big problem. The issue is that we do not know if the virus is natural, or if it was touched a bit in the laboratories, which seems to be the case.
In this case, it’s a bit more complicated, since we don’t know why it was touched for. I do not believe it is a military strain. It’s not being modified to become a military weapon because it doesn’t kill a lot of people. It kills less than 1 percent. So, if you want to kill people, if you want to have a military virus, you create something much worse. Think of Ebola which kills 50 percent of the people it touches. So, you have are much worse kinds of weapons already, than this kind of viruses. I would say to people; don’t stress, be ready but don’t stress.
For sure it will return, but next time we will not stop the economy because of it.
How big role, would you say, did globalism and open borders policies had in the rapid spreading of the COVID-19 virus? Also, do you believe that this virus will have any positive consequences for us in the long run?
Yes, globalism and open borders are helping to spread many kinds of illnesses, in many ways. Open borders are a vector of biological warfare. They just don’t use a virus, they use people. Now, globalism, like air travel and so on, is not an ideology in that sense so we cannot blame it as an ideology for the spreading of the virus. But it definitely represents a technical problem, which makes such pandemics inevitable.
Open borders, as an ideology, are bringing much bigger problems, because they are changing the population, the demographics, the voting patterns, while also bringing criminality on a huge scale. And this is much more dangerous because the criminality levels are very high in Europe now. The good news is that it can be reversed because you can say to anyone who arrived in Europe in the last 20 years that they have to go unless they have had incredibly positive effects, but in 99% of the cases you simply change the policies and if you can manage to get to that, then this people will have to go away. It’s not very complicated.
Whereas the virus affects your health, it’s in your blood and lungs. It’s a different element. I believe there are going to be politically positive consequences, because people will realize that, while this is not like a war, they have still suffered a little bit in the months of staying at home, and there will be difficulties with the economy. And when people face such difficult times, they suddenly don’t have, you know, a kind of a mental bandwidth anymore, for all the crazy ideologies and crazy policies regarding gender or feminism, and all these stupid things that have been going around in the last ten years. I think this will lose traction and the politicians will become much harder on many issues, and I think that people in Europe will see better results in the future, because of this.
Of course, there is always the risk that governments will want to become more dictatorial by using health concerns to make things much harder on people and to create more authoritarian systems which will bring more laws that are against European people. So we have to be careful. It’s the right time to voice your concerns and your opinions and to voice them in a very strong manner, not just by voting, but by addressing the politicians in a very strong way. If people are for open borders you should go to them and you should tell them in a very strong way why you are against such policies.
We need to shame them and to shame the policies that have been happening in the last ten years. Not just vote, but go to them and talk to them and tell them that you are really unhappy and that you will not accept these policies to continue. This is very important for the future.
Another of your books dealing with the major crisis is titled “Survive – The Economic Collapse”. Could you give us a brief overview of this book? What would be the main instigators of such a collapse? Do you believe that we could be facing an economic collapse in the future because of the potential global economic crisis that can happen as the aftermath of the COVID-19? How big do you think this economic crisis will be?
We should think about the convergence of the big problems that we’ve had in the last 20 years. First of all, we are growing economies that require more and more energy and resources, materials, oil, and coal. Everything is in bigger need, especially with the growth of China. Then you have environmental problems. I don’t know about global change, but I know for sure that there is a pollution of waters, which is killing fish in the seas and the oceans.
You have more and more need for land to produce food for 8 billion people. This is a huge number. And this is becoming more difficult for the economies to sustain. You have mass migrations of people who try to go to places where they can benefit from social services, which is adding to the debt that is being created everywhere because we want to grow, but there is no real growth so we create debt. We inject fake money in the economies so they could grow and we believe we can have infinite growth in a world of limited resources. Soon you will have problems of not being able to grow, not being able to pay the debt, not being able to feed the people.
And then you will have massive civil wars because people cannot get along if the money from the government is not coming to everyone and potentially even big wars across the world for the last resources. So, massive problems are coming and I think the crisis that is incubating right now is probably the biggest the world has ever seen because there are 8 billion of us, and I think this could be the last big crisis which will cause a big crash of the population in the world. This virus is just a rehearsal.
It’s a very good opportunity for us to contemplate what has been going on and to rehearse our strategies and our plans a bit for our survival which is not just surviving, but building communities that can be strong in this kind of situation.
In CBRNE, you and Mr. Millennium are dealing, not just with the pandemic crisis, but also with a possible future crisis that could be caused by nuclear, chemical, or radiological events. Please tell us what happenings could cause such scenarios in the future and. how likely do you believe such a crisis may arrive? And most importantly how can we prepare for such scenarios?
I want to say that the most common crisis that can happen is your house being burned by fire. This is the most common crisis that people may face, so before you even think about a war with nuclear weapons you have to know if you can save your house from fire and if you are ready if it burns it down. Do you have enough money, do you have enough resources to get on and wait until the insurance pays you?
So, first of all, I want to tell people to start with small things and then little by little think of what could happen, what it would mean if, for example, in your city a chemical plant that blows up, like in Serveso. This happens every year in many cities across the world and sometimes people have to leave their houses. They have to find a place to stay. So, do you think about these things, have you planned such a thing?
And then, of course, you have problems such as we already mentioned, like pandemics, but also problems like Chernobyl and things like that which are real. How do you prepare for them, how do you detect them, how do you act, what is the attitude you must take? All of this is explained in the book. We don’t expect a nuclear war to happen. We don’t believe there is going to be a nuclear war, but it’s not impossible and therefore we need to tell people what to do in such cases. And it’s most important that you prepare before it happens.
You need to prepare the attitude, the strategy, and maybe some of the things you want to have in your house to be ready. You also have to know how to react, you, your children, and your neighbors, if something like that happens. We are lucky. I live in Switzerland, you are in Slovenia. These countries are probably not the first targets for nuclear war. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be prepared, it just means you shouldn’t be stressed.
The whole idea, the fundamental idea behind preparation is exactly that of not stressing, because if you’re ready for events, well, then you do not need to be scared if they happen. When this pandemic began and I detected it in January I was not scared, I am not scared now, and I’ve never been in panic or scared because I know what to do. And this is how survivalism helps you have a better life because it makes the fear go away, especially the fear the media wants to put into you, and with this lack of fear you really can have a better life.