The Silicon Valley Billionaires Who Are Preparing For The End Of The World
It’s the end of the world as you know it, so what are you going to do?
In the event of a global pandemic, or a catastrophic, continent-destroying earthquake, or the seemingly inevitable nuclear WW3, are you going to balk, panic and die, or are you going to be among the survivors? Are you going to be one of the ones who thrives in the face of disaster, or will you be among the first to bite the dust?
Most likely, it’s the latter. The vast majority of us are wholly unprepared for the end of the world (and far from tough enough to navigate an apocalypse) and we’d consequently get ourselves killed quite quickly.
We wouldn’t know where to go, or how to keep ourselves safe. We wouldn’t be able to protect ourselves; neither from the natural elements that contrive to sabotage us, nor our desperate, violent (and if popular culture is to be believed, cannibalistic) fellow man.
To put it frankly, we’d die, but then we’re largely okay with that.
The chance of the world ending in our lifetime is slim to none, so in our minds there seems little point in worrying about it, and even less point in preparing for it.
Survivalists, however, would strongly disagree. Believing that the end of the world is a tangible possibility, they’ve put time, resource and humongous effort into making themselves ready. They know how to survive in the wilderness, they have bomb-proof shelters stocked with non-perishables, and they could snap into action at the drop of a hat.
There’s whole communities of “preppers” – as they’re commonly known – and in the wake of Trump’s election, they’re becoming increasingly popular. As the prospect of nuclear war, civil war or environmental disaster starts to feel more than just the stuff of science fiction, a lot of people are actually starting to think about what they might do when faced with such devastation. And some are even making preparations.
Among the billionaires of Silicon Valley, for example, survivalism is booming. On the extreme end of the scale, people have helicopters fuelled and ready to whisk them away to their fully-stocked bunkers. They have solar panels and generators, complex air-filtration systems and stockpiled ammunition.
Others have made smaller investments; they’ve spent money on the likes of motorcycles (so they can easily bypass lines of evacuating cars), expensive laser eye surgery (because there are no glasses in the post-apocalypse) and weapons. Because what use is storing food and bottled water, if someone can waltz into your shelter and take it away.
While it might seem surprising that Silicon Valley billionaires (who we can at least imagine are a clever bunch) dedicate their time and resources to this bombastic, seemingly pointless enterprise, actually it makes perfect sense.
The New Yorker points out that “technology rewards the ability to imagine wildly different futures”, and while “what if you could order a taxi with your phone” is probably more profitable than “what if society denigrated into a violent and feudal wasteland”, imagining the latter – and preparing for the eventuality – might one day save your life.
Sure, it’s a big might. But then Silicon Valley billionaires aren’t exactly short of resources. We should always hope for the best but prepare for the worst, and when you have a staggering amount of money at your disposal, preparing for the worst is a drop in the ocean.
Come the fall of the USA, for example, you’d be pretty damn annoyed at yourself if you hadn’t invested 0.0001% of your immense wealth into a second passport, some bitcoin and a charming little chalet in France.
Let us know what you think in the comments!
H/T New Yorker
Images via AMC / Netflix / Dimension Films