Tech billionaires are buying up luxurious bunkers and hiring military security to survive a doomsday apocalypse.
Billionaires have become something of a hot topic in recent years, with having millions in the bank no longer enough to satisfy the most ambitious amongst us and the prospect of reaching these lofty heights now something that a growing number of entrepreneurs and investors aspire to.
But one question that we can’t seem to answer is, what exactly would we do with the money that we couldn’t achieve with multiple millions? The answer might not be as glamorous as you’d think – at least, not if the examples we’ve seen from existing billionaires are anything to go by.
Recently, due to the growing threat of climate change, preparation for an uncertain future has become a new hobby of the hyper-rich – because, when you already have everything you could possibly want or need now and have already donated eye-watering sums to charitable causes, what else is left but to think of the future?
The concept of ‘doomsday preparation’ has, in recent years, ceased to be considered a fringe activity and has slowly but surely entered the mainstream, with online stores selling the king of ready-made survival bags and ‘bug-out’ kits that are becoming increasingly common.
Those with billions to burn are at the forefront of preparing for ‘the end’ – or whatever else you might want to call it, and although it’s a rather depressing concept, they’re certainly one step ahead of the masses when it comes to protecting themselves, their loved ones and their wealth.
So, what exactly is a ‘bug-out’ kit? Well, these special bags are designed to help the owner weather all kinds of difficult circumstances. The standard first-aid and provision kit is, of course, the most popular inclusion, but more specialised packs of electronic goods that offer a more sophisticated means of protecting oneself are enjoying a surge in popularity, too.
ExpressVPN recommends that a tech survival kit contains items in several categories, namely, power, tools, phones, and data. The objective of this type of kit is twofold; first, it provides a means of securing important documents such as copies of passports, driving licenses, birth certificates, and insurance information, and secondly, it is also essential to have on hand should an unexpected natural disaster occur, with a satellite phone, portable WiFi hotspot, and a power bank all included to help stranded householders seek rescue.
Billionaires have taken this idea one step further. They’re not so much interested in survival kits as entire complexes dedicated to their needs in whatever world the post-apocalypse leaves behind. A journalist from The Guardian met with a group of these super-rich preppers in September 2022 and created an article that highlighted the concerns millionaires and billionaires have about the future, as well as the solutions they are putting in place now to protect against them, and suffice it to say, it makes for a very interesting read.
Inevitably, some of the measures being implemented come down to self-protection and staying alive in a way that only the rich can. One of the anonymous preppers interviewed had hired US special forces to accompany him into the next world, while others pondered robots as loyal guardians. That last scenario might seem ridiculous, but billionaires, thanks to their endless bank balances, have instigated many huge technological leaps – such as the development of driverless cars – over recent years, simply by throwing money at scientists and tech buffs.
This all-out style of disaster preparation is exactly what we saw billionaires do in the movie 2012, directed by Roland Emmerich, albeit in the form of giant seagoing vessels. Fiction seems to have this part of the post-apocalypse nailed, with an especially dystopian version of super-rich salvation appearing in the Fallout video game series. In it, hundreds of bunkers are constructed to save humanity, and the survivors are then used in bizarre social experiments, including one in which a single vault is populated by 54 clones called Gary
Mercifully, it’s more likely that there will be a slow decline in the world’s environmental conditions rather than a single event that destroys everything at once so we may never need anything more than a survival kit to preserve ourselves. Having said that, the collapse of certain aspects of society isn’t exactly a new thing. Governments and countries fall apart all the time, with the end of the Soviet Union standing as a perfect example.
So, let’s say you have the money to purchase a bunker to protect yourself and your family from raiders. What should you do? It’s possible to buy everything from a drive-in shelter and safe cellar to a true nuclear bunker online, but prices are quite difficult to come by due to their custom nature. However, a cost of around £20,000 appears to be the entry point for these underground havens.
A vast, working example of the previous is located in Indiana, USA. The Vivos Underground Shelter isn’t too different from a hotel in its design, containing a gym, kennels, a garden, and a theatre, among more mundane survival essentials. It also has geothermal heating. Vivos is another example of how expensive the apocalypse might be, at about £30,000 per person, although people with in-demand skills are eligible for discounts.
As far as luxury purchases go, it doesn’t seem to get much more extravagant – unusual – than a fallout shelter. This kind of preparation does seem to require a particularly pessimistic mindset, though, as it’s by definition a ward against the wholesale destruction of humanity. In any case, it’s interesting to see how billionaires are responding to a perceived existential threat.
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