Co-founder and head of Reddit Steve Chapman had surgery vision correction in November 2015. According to him, he didnt do it for convenience, but to increase your chances of survival in case of emergency. “If the world ends, or we will have other problems, contact lens or glasses will become a hindrance. Without them I would be doomed,” he said in an interview with the author of The New Yorker Evan Osnos.
Huffman concerned not the nature of the event — this can be a natural disaster, pandemic or a nuclear conflict — and the consequences. The temporary collapse of the government and state structures. “I have a couple of motorcycles, a lot of weapons and ammunition and food supplies. This will help me to sit at home for some time,” he said.
Lately the image of a man who is interested in survival in challenging and extreme conditions, have changed. If it was a crank in the foil hats, now these are the heads of it companies and managing partners of hedge funds from new York and Silicon valley. When the presidential race in the United States has exposed many of societys problems, former product Manager at Facebook Antonio Martinez acquired part of the island in a remote area in the North-West of the country. He has installed generators, solar panels and created Arsenal.
“When the society dissolved basis, it becomes chaos,” he says. When Martinez spoke about his project friends from San Francisco, they began to describe their cooking in the event of mass riots. “I think that people who stand at the levers of governance understands that now we are sliding on a very thin cultural ice,” he continues.
In closed communities Facebook rich “survivalist” share tips on how to choose a gas mask, or bunker, or a place that will be least affected by climate change. “One of the members of such a community, head of the investment firm, told me that hes always ready with seasoned helicopter and an underground bunker with air filtration system. His entourage believes that he goes too far, but many have weapons, motorcycles and gold — just in case,” writes Osnos. According to managing Director, Mayfield Fund Tim Chang, many financiers from Silicon valley discuss the plans for a “rainy day” during shared dinners.
“It turns out that many people buy bitcoins and other crypto currencies, trying to obtain a second citizenship if it is required for the acquisition of real estate. I always have ready bags of clothes to my wife and daughter can immediately fly to the shelter, if there is a civil war or an earthquake in California,” he says. Steve Chapman believes that social order is based on a very fragile consensus. “I think that to a certain extent we all accept many things on faith — that the government works, what our currency has value, that it is possible to peaceful way of transferring power.
All of this exists only because we believe in it. The system has a certain margin of safety, but what are its limits?”, he says. Creating community Reddit, Hoffman saw how technology is changing the relationship of people to the best and worst. For example, social media amplify the fear that arises in society.
“Thanks to the Internet people have become closer. But in groups panic spreads faster,” he said. According to Hoffman, he felt anxiety well before there was a global financial crisis of 2008. “People began to whisper about the low rates on mortgage loans, student loans.
They said. “Everything is too good to be true, wheres the catch”. They may perceive reality differently, but people very well catch the mood in society.”. If we are talking about the collapse that will happen due to the fact that people are in fact disappointed, that the first cracks in the Foundation of the society in social media. “How did it happen, faith in the impending Apocalypse spread in Silicon valley — the place where people are confident in their ability to change the world for the better?”, — asks the author of The New Yorker.
“Technological progress relies on the ability to imagine a different future. So born and utopia, and dystopia,” says the head of the venture capital firm from San Francisco Roy Bahat. An example of the utopia of the peoples faith in the program of development of cryonics that they can freeze your body and be resurrected in the future, when scientists will defeat death or cure an incurable disease. Reverse side — faith in the Apocalypse.
Over the past few years, the theme of survival in extreme conditions were raised on American television. In 2012, the National Geographic channel began airing the program “doomsday preppers”, where ordinary people talk about their preparations for emergency situations. “By the end of the first season of the show became the highest rating in the history of TV channel.
A study by National Geographic revealed that 40% of Americans believe that it is better to spend money on the procurement of supplies and building bomb shelters than to invest in retirement plan,” writes Evan Osnos. At “the survivalist” can often see topics like “How to survive a popular uprising — a guide for young moms” and “How to cook pine, to survive”. At a time when Hoffman drew attention to the first signs of the coming crisis, the co-founder of Twitch Justin Kan noticed that his environment is also growing panic.
“Some friends were convinced that the demise of mankind is inevitable, so you need to create supplies. I tried, but I only lasted for a few bags of rice and five cans of canned tomatoes. If then indeed something happened, wed already be dead”. According to one of the first employees of Facebook and former head of Reddit Yishan Wong, it-entrepreneurs do not necessarily believe that the end of the world or a global catastrophe is inevitable.
“They have a mathematical mind and they want to be safe in case if this really happens. They have the money and resources. It is logical that they do,” he says. To hide the preparations for the Apocalypse, many wealthy Americans have resorted to their secret language.
LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman told how he found out about the second meaning of the word “New Zealand”. “When I mentioned I was going to visit this country, one friend asked. “Oh, you decided to play it safe?””. It turned out that many people buy real estate there in case of different disasters”.
When you say. “Im looking for a house in New Zealand,” some people immediately nod understandingly. “Say no more. By the way, I have one friend, hes selling abandoned missile silo. They say it can be converted into a bomb shelter and live there”.
Now the phrase “New Zealand” is something like a Masonic greeting. According to Hoffman, more than half billionaires from Silicon valley acquired the property in the United States and outside the country in case of emergencies. “For them it is something like a blanket under which to hide from danger. Many fear that the future of artificial intelligence, a lot of people will lose their jobs, will get angry and will go to storm Silicon valley,” he says.
According to PayPal founder max Levchin, many founders and managers of large it companies dont have enough spirit to assume responsibility for the possible social consequences from the spread of their technology, they think about how to escape. “If at a party, I hear the following conversations, ask people this question. “If youre afraid that the crowd will take you up on the fork, how much money have you donated to your local homeless shelter?”.
The only thing that really need to be afraid of — its wealth inequality. Now is the time to invest in the solution of social problems, not to escape from society,” says Levchin. In new Yorks financial community is also concerned about social unrest. “Some believe that the case goes to the revolution in Russia in 1917,” says investor and philanthropist Robert Dugger.
According to him, there are two ways to deal with this fear. The most effective at solving problems. “Thats why many donate to charity. But these same people think of plans of escape in case of emergency”.
Dugger says one gala dinner, which was held shortly after the September 11 attacks and “the collapse of the dotcom”. Then a group of millionaires and billionaires discussed what they would do if the country will begin a social unrest. “Most said I would take my family, get on a plane and fly abroad or on a ranch at the other end of the country”.
But there was one skeptic. He asked. “And the family of the pilot you too will take away with you. Family gardeners, cooks. If you start a revolution, how many people you have to evacuate?”.
The dispute continued, but in the end all agreed that they will not be able to escape. According to economist and head of the Institute for new economic thinking, Robert Johnson, the behavior of elites may be a symptom of a deep crisis. In 2015, speaking at a meeting of the world economic forum in Davos, he noted that the contradictions that result from wealth inequality has worsened so much that the richest people in the world began to think about their own safety.
In his opinion rich people should encourage fair and open policy. For example, to agree to a radical increase in inheritance tax. “In the United States 25 managers of hedge funds earn more than all together childminders. I dont think they like this situation,” he says.
In December 2016, the National Bureau of economic research published the results of a study conducted by economists Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Sasom and Gabriel Sukmana. “They found that from 1970-ies half of the U.S. adult population does not feel the effects of the growth of the economy. 117 million people earn as much as they earned in 1980, while the income of the 1% richest people in the country has tripled. The difference in income in the US can be compared with the difference of income in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” writes the author of The New Yorker Evan Osnos.
“Why do people of wealth and power which others envy, so afraid. What can be said about our system. What the smartest people who have concentrated the most resources, through which they earn money, now most are ready to jump with a parachute from a crashing aircraft,” — said Johnson. In November 2016, the author of The New Yorker went to Kansas, where the head of the company Project Survival Condo Larry Hall has converted an abandoned missile silo into luxury bomb shelter.
“At the entrance I was greeted camouflage a security guard with a gun. He led me inside the complex. In 60-e years in the mine were based missile with a nuclear warhead, but then the building was decommissioned,” says Osnos.
In 2008, Hall bought it for $300K and spent another $20 million for the conversion object. 15 underground floors there are 12 apartments, swimming pool, doctors office, store, laboratory for growing vegetables, climbing wall, Armory, classroom, cinema and the gym. “The mine built against the red menace. Today she will help to repel new challenges. Even if a mob gets up close and personal, they will scare away the guards and snipers,” he says.
The project idea came to him 10 years ago, when he learned that the Federal government has revived the program of evacuation of senior officials in the event of a disaster of national scale, which was phased out after the end of the Cold war. “I thought. “Wait a minute, it seems they know something about what you do not know all the others”,” says Hall.
“In the case of threats, the government were going to evacuate some officers in fortified locations, but over the years the equipment of the bunkers obsolete and Bush was ordered to modernize and teachings. They are still,” writes the author of The New Yorker. The complex Hall is able to withstand a direct hit of a nuclear bomb and has a capacity of 75 people who can live up to five years at the expense of internal reserves. “The cost of apartments starts from $1.5 million for a half floor.
The whole floor is worth $3 million. All the rooms are already sold out,” writes Osnos. The price includes evacuation in case of emergency. If a person lives within a radius of 400 kilometres for him and his family will be sent an armed escort in armored trucks.
“The remaining residents can land private planes at the airport of Salina, located 30 miles from bunker, where they will also be waiting for protection,” says Hall. “Inside the apartment is like a ski Chalet, but without the Windows,” writes Evan Osnos. To save space, he used design solutions that are used on cruise ships.
He also added more light (to avoid depression), came up with a schedule and set of video panels that mimic the Windows. “One of our client lives in new York. She wanted her apartment had a view of Central Park — day and night, with a choice of time of year. And audio — sounds of the city and car horns,” says Hall.
The apartment complex was purchased by the owner of a construction company from Florida Tyler Allen. According to him, 10 years ago friends laughed at his panic mood, but after US there were riots, they began to take it seriously. In the case of threats to the President and his family evacuated to a shelter at camp David. No one looks at them askance, but if you have the money and ability to do as you begin to consider by a madman in a tinfoil hat.
Now Hall is building another underground complex of premium class, which will be able to accommodate three times more people. In parallel, his company is working to create private bins for customers from Idaho and Texas, and also advises two it companies who want to build secure data centers and shelter for key employees. Also, he attracted investments for the purchase of four decommissioned mines. According to the author The New Yorker, for the first week after the victory of Donald trump in the presidential election of the United States, more than 13 million Americans have applied to immigration New Zealand for citizenship.
“17 times more than usual. The New Zeland Herald called this phenomenon “the Apocalypse trump”,” — he said. In the first 10 months of 2016, US citizens acquired in New Zealand plots with a total area of 36.2 thousand square kilometres. “Thats four times more than it was purchased for the same period in 2015,” writes Osnos.
“I think people think that if the world will be some kind of global catastrophe, New Zealand is the best place to evacuate. It is the first country in the world that can take care of himself. Here is everything you need — energy, water, food. Yes, the standard of living will fall, but life will not end,” says the American, and the Chairman of the Board of Directors Novoseletsky broadcaster MediaWorks Jack Matthews.
The difference between New Zealand and the United States is that there are people who continue to talk with each other, even if something does not agree. This is a very small country, there is no anonymity. In fact, people have to be friendly.
In early December 2016 author The New Yorker went to New Zealand. “The population of the whole country less than half of new York city, one person here has seven sheep. However, New Zealand is in the top 10 countries in terms of democracy development, environment and security. The country took first place in the recent World Bank rating on the ease of doing business”, — writes Osnos.
After his arrival, he met with a real estate agent Graham wall, who specializiruetsya on finding luxury real estate. One of his clients is a billionaire and venture capitalist Peter Thiel. “I am surprised that Americans are choosing New Zealand in particular because of its remoteness. On the contrary here we are talking about the “tyranny of distance”, and it turns out that for some it is a plus,” he says.
According to the author The New Yorker, when he arrived in New Zealand, you expect to see a lot of houses with underground bunkers. “I dont think you have a refuge — still you are a thousand kilometers from the White house. Americans have other queries — they need helipads”. However, many local residents are unhappy with the influx of Americans.
The members of the Movement against foreign control of Aotearoa” is the name of the country in the Maori language, want to ban the sale of land to foreigners. Often they visit the forums “survivalist”, leaving comments like. “The Yankees, mind you. Aotearoa — this is not your resort where you can wait out the Apocalypse, writes Osnos.
According to one Manager of an American hedge Fund, who wished to remain anonymous, in the next decade the United States to face political unrest, racial tensions, rapid population ageing and social polarization. “Already, the United States was divided into several zones — this is new York, California and the rest of the country. If Washington canceled a program of social protection and public health services for the elderly, will hurt the economy. What will the country to print more money the dollar has depreciated.
It will not happen next year, but within the next 50 years,” he said during a meeting with the author of The New Yorker.