For a long time survivalists and preppers have been perceived only to exist within the reclusive corners of society — you may find one living alone on private land wearing a tin-foil hat and camouflage, or ruthlessly hoarding resources in a hired storage space. This perception is not only slightly insulting, but also completely inaccurate; preppers are now more common than even those within the community may realise, with even the wealthy now investing time and money into preparation measures.
As an average citizen, with a regular income and a less than extraordinary lifestyle, we can often feel lost as to how we should prepare ourselves for change. The last year alone has seen major constitutional changes in Britain and with further volatility expected in the USA, there is no guidance as to how the shift in trade and movement of people will affect us in the long-term. So where we do we look to for advice?
Presumably those who are better positioned to see the impact of these changes, those working in government and technology, have the data at their disposal to make an educated prediction of how things will pan out. This is nothing new, society has often looked towards the wealthy to predict the future, with advancements in healthy food, reliable technology, and even skincare products all trickling down from society's richest. There is sound logic in this, and we continue to observe the habits of privileged people to make positive alterations to our own lifestyles. But what happens when we see the wealthy start investing great amounts of money into preparation measures?
An eye opener
For those who have already dedicated time and expense to prepping, this will bring a feeling of vindication. For others, however, it will be an eye opener. When we see the filthy rich starting to take prepping seriously, it makes us wonder whether the likelihood of either natural or political cataclysm has increased. After all, if those in the know are prepping for the future, then we should probably take notice.
We only have to look at one of the richest tech-savvy men in the world, Mark Zuckerberg, to see that prepping is by no means a waste of time. Zuckerberg, the world's fifth-richest man, recently purchased a huge piece of land in Kauai, Hawaii. The 700-acre plot is remote enough to be detached from society, but fruitful enough for farming and self-sufficiency. The billionaire has somewhat ironically already commissioned a wall to be built around the whole estate, segregating his land from the surrounding properties. Clearly a secluded retreat is high on the Facebook founder's priority list, and with Hawaii being the only US State separated from the mainland, he can enjoy all the constitutional rights of the USA without being vulnerable to an attack.
For the wealthy, it's a no brainer
Recently The New Yorker published an interview with Steve Huffman, co-founder of social news website Reddit, who admitted to having laser eye surgery in anticipation of global meltdown. His logic was that in a post-apocalyptic world, glasses and contact lenses will be incredibly difficult to find, and almost impossible to produce independently. Having laser eye surgery was an investment to prevent this problem from impacting his survival chances.
Huffman isn't the only one. Yishan Wong, who was C.E.O of Reddit from 2012 to 2014 also underwent laser eye surgery for the same reason, and explains his investment into doomsday preparation as almost an insurance policy that justifies itself on the basis of statistics and probability. He explains: “Most people just assume improbable events don’t happen, but technical people tend to view risk very mathematically.”
“The tech preppers do not necessarily think a collapse is likely. They consider it a remote event, but one with a very severe downside. So, given how much money they have, spending a fraction of their net worth to hedge against this is a logical thing to do.”
Silicon Valley is now full of preppers
As Yishan Wong explains, it takes only a fraction of a large wealth to begin investing in preparation measures, whether this is securing private land in a remote area, or hoarding valuable non-perishable items in a secure location. Reid Hoffman, co-founder of recruitment and career-based social network LinkedIn, estimates that over 50 per cent of Silicon Valley billionaires have invested in some form of 'apocalypse insurance'. While many of those billionaires may explain their investment as a simple holiday home or summer getaway location, that does not account for eight-feet walls surrounding the property, their own power generator, and adequate land for farming.
Prepping has become something of a trend amongst the wealthy, with social billionaires even trading tips amongst themselves and splitting the cost of buying resources in bulk. There is also a chance that some of them have teamed up to better their survival plan, as a group of people is by far a better prospect in a post-apocalyptic world than being isolated. Living on a compound with others makes it much easier to be self-sufficient, where duties such as farming, hunting, and cooking can be divided up.
What does it mean?
For those who have already been prepping, it brings a bit of comfort and relief knowing that those high above the poverty line are looking to cater for the same things that we are. The simple fact that rich people are prepping isn't a conclusive indication that the downfall of society is imminent, but it lets us know that the signs are clear enough for those in the know to at least entertain the idea that it could happen. This in itself is quite eye opening, and a reason to continue prepping.