Billionaire bunkers: How the world’s wealthiest are paying to flee actuality

Billionaire bunkers: How the world’s wealthiest are paying to flee actuality

When civilization collapses, J.C. Cole might be prepared. 

He’s based Protected Haven Farms, a most safety compound to journey out the subsequent pandemic or climate-change catastrophe. And those that can afford to hitch him will even have a shot at survival, he guarantees. However the price ticket isn’t low-cost.

A $3 million funding in his startup isn’t nearly getting admission. Members “additionally get a stake in a probably worthwhile community of native farm franchises that would cut back the chance of a catastrophic occasion within the first place,” writes Douglas Rushkoff in his new e-book, “Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires” (W.W. Norton).

Cole, 66, has two farms in improvement, one outdoors Princeton and the second someplace within the Poconos, which he envisions as “a community of secret, completely self-sufficient residential farm communities for millionaires, guarded by Navy SEALs armed to the enamel,” writes Rushkoff.

Google co-founder Larry Web page gained New Zealand residency in 2021. The nation has turn out to be an escape hotspot for these trying to plan forward within the occasion of catastrophe.

The developer, who says he’s not independently rich however “did effectively in actual property,” received’t share the precise places of both farm, at the very least to not outsiders, nor will he pose for pictures — as his issues about safety and the tip of the world rides excessive.

“Nearly all of People don’t have an insurance coverage coverage by their alternative,” Cole advised The Submit. “If/when the provision chain collapses, these individuals won’t have meals. A sure share of them will break the legislation and do no matter doable to get meals. Subsequently we wish to stay ‘not findable.’ ”

underground bunker
This underground bunker presents all of the facilities of a 5-star lodge, and is made by Oppidum, a provider of fortified underground residences.
Courtesy of Oppidum/Mega

Cole is much from alone. The world’s richest are more and more “insulating themselves from the very actual and current hazard of local weather change, rising sea ranges, mass migrations, world pandemics, nativist panic, and useful resource depletion,” writes Rushkoff.

And whereas many billionaires have claimed that their pursuits are in saving the world—generally they even get into pissing matches on social media about who’s extra benevolent — Rushkoff argues that the last word purpose of the super-rich is to guard themselves.

underground bunker
An Oppidum bunker designed by French architect Marc Prigent.
Courtesy of Oppidum/Mega

For the rich and privileged, writes Rushkoff, the way forward for expertise is about “just one factor: escape from the remainder of us.”

And so they’re escaping in type. Texas-based Rising S Firm sells luxurious bunkers that run as much as $9.6 million for the “Aristocrat” mannequin — which comes with a personal bowling alley, swimming pool, “bullet-resistant” doorways and a “motor cave exit,” so you possibly can sneak out for errands like Batman. 

Peter Thiel
Peter Thiel reportedly made a cope with entrepreneur Sam Altman to flee by way of non-public jet to Thiel’s New Zealand compound on the first signal of societal collapse.
Getty Photographs

California-based firm Vivos sells luxurious underground residences, transformed from Chilly Warfare missile silos and storage services into “miniature Membership Med resorts,” writes Rushkoff.

Extremely-elite shelters like The Oppidum within the Czech Republic—billed as “the biggest billionaire bunker on this planet”—embrace facilities like simulated pure daylight, a wine vault, and a spot to cover all of your stuff that’s “impregnable” to hostile outsiders. 

Oppidum hideaway in Czech Republic
The Oppidum hideaway within the Czech Republic has all of it, together with enormous garages the place residents can retailer their luxurious autos.
Courtesy of Oppidum/Mega

“You’ve labored laborious over a few years, taken dangers, seized alternatives, made your imaginative and prescient a actuality,” the firm’s web site tells its billionaire prospects. “Your reward is the means to accumulate and curate all the attractive, uncommon and valuable objects you need.”

Luxurious yachts giant sufficient to be a billionaire Noah’s Ark are seeing enormous surges in gross sales— 887 superyachts have been offered globally in 2021, a 77% improve from the earlier 12 months — and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, 58, even commissioned a smaller companion yacht for his essential superyacht, as a separate area to retailer his helicopter.

Jeff Bezos commissioned a smaller companion yacht to his essential tremendous yacht, as a spot to retailer his helicopter.
Picture Press/BACKGRID

New Zealand has turn out to be a main vacation spot for billionaires in search of doomsday refuge, from Google co-founder Larry Web page, 49, to Silicon Valley entrepreneur Sam Altman, 37, who let it slip in a 2016 interview that he and PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel had a mutual settlement to flee to Thiel’s New Zealand compound by way of non-public jet on the first signal of society’s collapse. (Thiel’s owned the property since 2011 however hadn’t made the information public.)

However the billionaire bunker, whether or not on land, sea or sometime (ostensibly) on one other planet fully, is at finest a brief repair, “much less a viable technique for apocalypse than a metaphor for this disconnected way of living,” writes Rushkoff. “Like a hiding toddler who thinks holding their fingers over their eyes can stop them from being seen,” the billionaires who depend on a protected haven from the surface “are in for a shock.”

This superyacht owned by Roman Abramovich is one way to escape an apocalypse.
This superyacht owned by Roman Abramovich is one option to journey out an apocalypse.
Getty Photographs

Thiel found this not too long ago when the 54-year-old entrepreneur — price an estimated $7.4 billion — realized that his plans to construct a 477-acre “doomsday” house overlooking Lake Wānaka in New Zealand was being blocked by environmental teams

Even the preexisting bunkers provide solely nominal safety, and the chance of one in all them “truly defending its occupants from the fact of, effectively, actuality, could be very slim,” writes Rushkoff. No matter menace they’re attempting to flee — poisonous clouds, plague and radiation — all of it has a means of “spreading and seeping by means of essentially the most well-thought-out barricades.”

The Oppidum in the Czech Republic claims to be the world’s largest bunker for billionaires, boasting simulated sunlight to ease the underground drudgery, “impregnable” storage space and a wine vault.
The Oppidum within the Czech Republic claims to be the world’s largest bunker for billionaires, boasting simulated daylight to ease the underground drudgery, “impregnable” cupboard space and a wine vault.
Courtesy of Oppidum/Mega

Most cancers-causing microplastics “are as plentiful within the polar ice as they’re within the typical European city,” Rushkoff continues. “There isn’t a escape.”

However survival is probably not their solely rationale for disappearing. The “seasteading” motion— a “Minecraft-meets-Waterworld future,” Rushkoff writes, during which the rich dwell in unbiased, free-floating cities — is not only about “aquapreneurs” escaping the dry-land apocalypse. It’s additionally about creating a brand new ultra-libertarian civilization free from taxes, anti-monopoly rules, and meddling politicians.

Vivos xPoint
Set on a former US Military base, Vivos xPoint consists of 575 non-public military-built bunkers — some geared up with pool tables.
Terra Vivos X level

Because the Seasteading Institute web site explains, “We’ve had the agricultural revolution, the business and industrial revolutions, however why not a governance revolution? Enter the ocean.”

If they will’t discover sanctuary for his or her our bodies, they will nonetheless outsmart the tip of the world by having their minds preserved. Silicon Valley tech billionaire Altman paid $10,000 to startup firm Nectome simply to be on the ready listing to have his mind uploaded to a pc.

‘[It’s about] just one factor: Escape from the remainder of us.’

“Survival of the Richest” creator Douglas Rushkoff, on post-apocalyptic planning

Who joins Altman (or has already joined him) stays to be seen. This previous July, Dogecoin creator Shibetoshi Nakamoto requested his followers on Twitter in the event that they’d ever “add your mind to the cloud,” and Elon Musk, 51, cryptically responded, “Already did it.

Earlier than coming to the USA, Cole spent 18 years in Jap Europe, serving as a former president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia in Northern Europe. He witnessed firsthand the collapse of the Soviet Union, and he insists we ought to be studying from the Soviets’ errors.

Vivos xPoint
The Vivos xPoint complicated seen from floor degree. The previous US Military base is the dimensions of a small metropolis.
Terra Vivos X level

“I’m deeply involved with what I see occurring in Europe, particularly with power and meals,” he mentioned. “That may simply occur right here.”

His greatest concern isn’t a violent confrontation with the armed mob on the opposite aspect of the fence. It’s “the girl on the finish of the driveway holding a child and asking for meals. I don’t wish to be in that ethical dilemma,” he advised Rushkoff.

Vivos xPoint
“xPoint: The time limit at which solely the ready will survive,” proclaims the Vivos xPoint firm web site, which advertises bunker showrooms like this one.
Terra Vivos
Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires by Douglas Rushkoff
“The mindset that requires protected havens is much less involved with stopping ethical dilemmas,” writes Rushkoff, “than merely retaining them out of sight.”

Cole hopes Protected Haven doesn’t simply present safety from these rich sufficient to afford it however turns into a prototype of how sustainable farms can be utilized to ensure everyone has sufficient meals to eat and safety from the weather. 

He received’t reveal precisely what number of rich buyers he has, however he does declare the farm’s group might be evenly cut up between the wealthy and people with talent units to “rebuild the nation,” together with docs, machinists, and safety.

However Cole’s final purpose, writes Rushkoff, is to make sure “there are as few hungry youngsters on the gate as doable” when the time involves lock down.

“The mindset that requires protected havens is much less involved with stopping ethical dilemmas,” writes Rushkoff, “than merely retaining them out of sight.”

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