Some of America's richest citizens are buying into a fast-growing movement of well-heeled doomsday survivalists or "preppers" investing billions of dollars to prepare secretly for the global apocalypse. The increasing number of billionaires who are participating in the doomsday "prepper" movement by acquiring elaborate and expensive getaways in isolated and remote spots of the world is causing concern among observers, with many asking whether America's elite know something the rest of us don't.
The public obtained valuable insight into the fast-growing movement, consisting of billionaire Silicon Valley and Wall Street preppers who have been secretly buying up vast tracts of land in New Zealand, following an incident involving Peter Thiel, the billionaire founder of Paypal, Vanity Fair reported.
Petehr Thiel, who gained notoriety in the mostly liberal Silicon Valley as a libertarian and Donald Trump supporter, recently paid $10 million for a 477-acre estate in New Zealand's isolated Southern Alps.The acquisition sparked a public outcry, according to CNN. Some New Zealanders alleged an invasion of the country by American Silicon Valley and financial sector billionaires. Amid the outcry, the New Zealand government released a document that revealed that Thiel was granted citizenship under "exceptional circumstances" that side-stepped the normal process for granting citizenship to foreigners.
Thiel later reportedly enthused about his "great pride" about being a citizen of New Zealand, saying that he has "found no other country that aligns more with my view of the future," according to the Daily Mail.
One of his Silicon Valley colleagues, the venture capitalist Sam Altman, is believed to have inadvertently revealed the reason why American billionaires have been rushing to acquire property in Zealand when he said that he and Thiel would flee to New Zealand at the first sign of trouble in the U.S. or a global disaster.Altman's comment focused public attention on the extraordinary lengths to which some of the world's richest people have gone recently to ensure that they and their families survive a global catastrophe. The super-rich have been buying property in parts of the world considered relatively "safe," and they have been building fortified underground structures stocked with huge supplies and equipped with all conceivable necessities of life, including power generators, arms and ammunition.
Several enterprising individuals have founded companies to exploit the demand for apocalypse bunkers by the growing community of wealthy preppers. For instance, The Survival Condo Project has created a luxury underground apartment complex from a nuclear missile silo in Kansas.
Super-rich Americans known to have acquired property in New Zealand in the hope of a safe haven if the apocalypse happens include the billionaire hedge-fund investor Julian Robertson and the Hollywood film director James Cameron.
According to the Daily Mail, in the first ten months of 2016, foreigners, mostly Americans and Australians, purchased nearly 1,400 square miles of land in New Zealand, representing more than a fourfold increase over the previous year.Another favorite "safe spot" for billionaire preppers is Chile, which has a good climate and low taxes.
Others members of the billionaire doomsday prepper movement include Larry Ellison, who is reportedly preparing an escape bunker on his private island in Hawaii. Martin Liao, a former Yahoo executive, has reportedly trained in archery to defend his family if society breaks down.
Antonio Garcia Martinez, a former Facebook manager, owns wooded land on a small island off the U.S. north Pacific coast.
Mark Zuckerberg recently bought a 750-acre estate in Hawaii.The billionaires form a secret network of individuals who share ideas, suggestions and tips on how to survive the apocalypse in private Facebook groups. They also meet to discuss post-apocalypse survival strategies at exclusive parties and dinners.
There was a dramatic surge in the number of Americans who registered to acquire property in New Zealand following the election of Donald Trump as president. Local agents said that most of the estimated 13,000 Americans seeking to purchase property in New Zealand did not intend to live in the country but they acquired property because they believed the country could provide refuge if there is political or social upheaval in the U.S. following the general election.
The special attraction to New Zealand is that its a First World country located strategically thousands of miles away from the world's geopolitical hotspots. New Zealand is far from the ravages of ISIS in the middle east, the growing social, political and economic tensions in Europe and North America, and the threat of confrontation between China and the U.S.
Besides nuclear war or financial and political crisis that could lead to social upheaval and collapse, preppers have a long list of other possible catastrophes they hope to avoid by building fortresses in "safe spots."
There could be a supervolcano eruption, a catastrophic asteroid impact, or a massive earthquake that sparks an apocalyptic tsunami. There could be a global viral pandemic, a little ice age or maybe even an alien invasion of Earth.
[Featured Image by Oceania Jam/Shutterstock]