Billionaire Preppers - Whoosh or Weird?

Any thoughts on this curious article about what wealthy Siliconas have in common with well regulated militiamen? :wink:

My immediate reaction is - holy crap, that sad. I really feel sorry for these guys. They may be super rich, but they’re pathetic.

If you’ve got that money, you can buy pretty much everything. Why not buy a bunker?

It you have that much money, you could buy Archie Bunker. Or someone similar, or at least living and willing to call people “Meathead”.

Seems like a bad idea. If I’m an angry starving mob, guess where I’m headed first?

Bradley Garrett’s Bunker: Building for the End Times (reviewed in “More on this story” section at the bottom of the linked article) is worth a read if you’re interested in the topic. He gets the inside scoop on the folks and their assorted schemes to weather the end times )and make some money off like-minded preppers while they’re at it).

You can’t build the sort of underground apocalypse proof bunker they want without a lot of labor and craftsmen. If the shit hits the fan there will be people who know where those bunkers are. Assuming it’s not an insta-kill for everyone (and the vast majority of plausible scenarios will not be that one) the knowledgeable can hook up with a howling mob or three and work together to make a can opener for those particular cans. They know that’s where the food and other good stuff is. They will, given enough time, get in. (Enough numbers helps, too).

If the Howling Mob finds air or water intakes for the bunker there is the potential for them to stop up the works. That will make life very uncomfortable to impossible inside the cans.

If you treat your servants hired security like slaves you’ll get a rebellion. The fact that the security will be armed only makes this more likely.

I also think these billionaire bros are not really prepared to take on the necessary janitorial duties required by a closed environment of that sort. Currently (and possibly their entire lives) they’re able to hire other people to take care of that sort of thing. If the shit does hit the fan they’ll be spending their time trying to keep the place running, not lounging by a pool reading the Great Classics or whatever it is they currently plan.

That’s assuming these bunkers are anywhere near viable. If we actually did have the technology for truly enclosed environments the astronauts on the ISS wouldn’t be drooling at the airlock for fresh fruit whenever a new ship arrives, and they’d be doing their laundry instead of bundling it up in to cargo capsules destined to burn up on re-entry. What we do actually have at this point requires inputs from outside - things like air and water - which have to be filtered/purified. That requires tech that needs to be maintained, sometimes repaired, and requires consumables. Sure, we could probably manage something truly sealed/self-sufficient for a year … but at the end of that year you have to come outside, you have to get new supplies. Meanwhile, the Howling Mob will have shut up, sat down, and settled in for a siege. And they’ll outnumber the billionaire bros.

At some point they have to come out of the bunkers and plant food for the long haul. What do they intend to do if the Howling Mobs have forged ahead without the and now own the land above, taken while the billionaire bros were in the land below?

These idiots are forgetting the underpinnings that makes their advanced tech possible, all the supply lines and the people involved. Their little underground haven has a limited lifespan at best and is doomed to long-term failure.

When I was a kid during the cold war, we had a neighbor, my guitar teacher’s family, who built a bomb shelter in their yard. It was fully stocked with food and water and could sustain eight people for many weeks. Since this was the only shelter in the neighborhood, everyone became friends with this neighbor in hopes of showing up on their doorstep when bombs started falling. At one point, that neighbor said only they and their relatives would be allowed in the shelter. That upset many people, but there was no way they could accommodate everyone even if they wanted to, and once the door was locked, nobody could get inside, no matter how hard they tried. I saw the shelter and noticed a pipe coming from the ground near it. I asked what it was for and was told it was the intake to their air filtration system. I said it would be trivial for someone to plug up that pipe with an old sock, and they would be deprived of fresh air. They looked at me as if nobody had ever thought of that before. AFAIK, it’s still there unless someone dug it for some reason.

If you believe that there is no such thing as society you will not survive for long when society collapses. Those billionaires may have a lot of money, but they are idiot savants as far as I am concerned: they know a lot about very little, and nothing about the big picture.
I read the article this morning and thought it was funny in a sad way. I also wondered how much of it was embellishment and how much was true. No way to know, I guess.

That reminded me of this book. TL : DR - most Congresspeople, etc. would refuse to participate, because they couldn’t bring their families with them.

One thing they seem to be forgetting is that except in the most extreme scenarios, government won’t collapse at once. A situation bad enough for the billionaires to start entering their bunkers will also be a situation bad enough for the government to start seizing said bunkers and their contents - and at that point, no bribes, campaign contributions, SEALS or locked doors will be able to stop them.

Billionaires need to be taught that they’re just people holding papers that say they own stuff. Their wealth is a legal fiction, in that it requires the presence of a strong legal system in order to exist. They need for civilization to continue to exist even more than we do - because otherwise, they’re be just like us.

Oh, yeah, I’ve often observed that most “preppers” aren’t really prepared for the apocalypse. If the Big One ever does actually fall, I’d put money on my 82-year-old mother before any of the folks with the bunkers: She can grow absolutely anything in any conditions, she cans what she grows herself, she knows how to raise livestock, and even of the things in her house she didn’t make herself, she can repair most of it. Plus, she’d have the good sense to hook up with family who live in rural areas, most of whom have similar levels of skill (though with enough variety in skills to cover for each others’ lacks), and who get along well enough that we’d all defend each other.

Forgive my skepticism, but how many billionaires actually have or are building End Times bunkers? The article mentions exactly zero. And it’s virtually impossible to keep such luxury shelters secret, even if you’re not dumb enough to publicize them.

When doomsday impends, there will be no need to raid heavily fortified super-bunkers of the ultra-rich. People can pick off the less well-defended prepper shelters of the middle to upper class.

The real money in all this is in selling shelters and supplies to dumbasses. Natural News runs tons of stories about the impending collapse of civilization, while coincidentally selling lots of prepper foods, supplements and gear.

Hence the “whoosh” in the thread title. Is the author really going to go out of his way to publicly belittle and humiliate powerful people? If they had access to anyone to ask questions, he is their go to guy? Something seems off about the article. Though it does imply two billionaires were involved.

What, you think they’re going to have him killed?

He’s a lecturer who who was asked to give a talk. He doesn’t make a living off of billionaires, and if no other billionaire ever hires him, he probably won’t go bankrupt. He didn’t name names, so there was nothing unprofessional about his behavior. I don’t see why he wouldn’t talk about it; I certainly would. It’s an interesting story.

There are definitely scenarios in which having a bunker or making advanced preparations could mean the difference between surviving some kind of apocalyptic event that ends industrial society and not, but this pull quote from the article suggests that these guys are dilettantes.

The answer of course is that you cannot possibly. What holds after society is personal relationships and loyalty. Kin, religion, long-term friendship and trust. And what moron builds an expensive building before even thinking through the threat model?

If you want to survive a cataclysmic collapse of society, you have to move somewhere remote, grow and hunt your own food, marry your kids off to the neighbors, learn to make your own tools, etc. Basically, you need to live like there’s not much industrial society already.

Certainly not. It is an interesting story. But I wonder if it is the whole story.

Wouldn’t it be better to learn engineering and mechanics so you could rebuild industrial society?

This is the part that leaped screaming out at me:

The billionaire tech-bros are so perpetually, agonizingly, on the cusp of rediscovering the importance of society and interdependence, but they always end up reinventing some perfectly good thing – “what if buses, but with apps” – or considering something awful and thinking they’ll be the first to fix it – “could slavery be fixed with a metrics-driven approach to equitable empathy?”

The difference between right-wing militias and billionaire techbros is that the right-wingers militia dudes at least have a theory of post-apocalyptic political economy. However deluded and immoral it may be, they may survive long enough to understand its flows. Not so much with the techbros who think they’ll maintain indefinite dominance and stability through their superior knowledge of encryption or whatever.

I’m reminded of the Los Zetal drug cartel in Mexico. The rich cartel bosses hired ex-Mexican-army guys to be their security, but these guys then realized they could overthrow the bosses and run the drug operation even better themselves, and make more money.

These super-rich people building their apocalyptic bunkers had better have really loyal guards whom they treat nicely, or else the guards have no reason not to overthrow them and seize the nice hoards of stuff.