Inside the Billionaire Doomsday Business Plan
“Saying you’re ‘buying a house in New Zealand’ is kind of a wink, wink, say no more,” LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman explained to The New Yorker in 2017. “Once you’ve done the Masonic handshake, they’ll be, like, ‘Oh, you know, I have a broker who sells old ICBM silos, and they’re nuclear-hardened, and they kind of look like they would be interesting to live in.’” A little over three years later, the cartoonish notion of a New Zealand escape plan took on a more immediate significance, as the island nation’s reputation as a Covid-era haven soared among the global elite, Rafi Schwartz writes for The Week.
“None of these guys that I deal with say they’re preparing for the end of the world,” one luxury real estate agent told CNN. “They say things like, ‘In times of geopolitical pressure, New Zealand is a cool place to be because it’s farther away.’”
One underlying theme throughout the vast ecosystem of billionaire preppers is the degree to which they frequently overestimate their ability to survive a civilization-ending event, Schwartz writes.
“Fear of disaster is healthy if it spurs action to prevent it,” The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos concluded. “But élite survivalism is not a step toward prevention; it is an act of withdrawal.”
Original article by Rafi Schwartz, The Week, July 29, 2023.
Photo by Cassie Matias.