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A Boom Time for the Bunker Business and Doomsday Capitalists (nytimes.com)
37 points by mariojv 4 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 21 comments

These are some cool bunkers, but it reminds me of an article from a few years back, maybe from HN? An expat had a nice house in some Central American country back in the 70s or 80s when there was a coup with a lot of rioting and looting of the more well-off. Some people start freaking out, grabbing golf clubs and such, but the owner is able to get in touch with his army friend who just sends a jeep with a 50 cal and a couple soldiers to park near his house. He wasn't looted.

It seems like these sort of connections will matter more in a doomsday situation than how deep your bunker is. How do these people living in various states plan on even getting to their bunkers in Kansas if the "shit hits the fan", as they say? I think a fair benchmark is Mexico today, where it isn't safe to drive between many cities at night, and on some roads during the day. Not like, "you might hit a deer", but "you might hit a cartel roadblock and be robbed, raped, or murdered". And everybody already knows approximately where the bunkers are. These people had better plan on getting their timing exactly right, or they'd be in for the same.

Articles about individuals' backup plans for catastrophic collapse of civilization do tend to crop up every now and then; this isn't the first one I've seen.

I think one of the key fallacies that goes on in these circles is that people don't really think through what a catastrophic collapse of civilization looks like. A 2000-mile drive is quite a long trek to take, and attempting it in a post-apocalyptic scenario requires a lot of planning (for example, what are you planning to do for gas, food, rest?). A diesel generator is a lousy power supply in the apocalypse, because diesel is a resource that is going to run out quickly and need to be procured.

For these luxury bunkers, I suspect some of the demand is because they look like assets that might be easier to hide from nosy people like the taxman.

Also, you could presumably hack into some rich folks news and the CCTV and sensors for their bunker, tell them that nukes are flying, then when they go down to the bunker, tell them that outside is all nasty radioactive fire and they can't come out for twenty years at least, then you can move into the empty mansion upstairs and start raiding the fridge.

It’s always kinda bugged me that some tech companies and their CEOs talk such a huge game about changing the world for the better and then turn around and build these huge bunkers. Optimistic words without optimistic action rings tremendously hollow.

Every time I go hiking/camping away from civilization I take an emergency satellite beacon with me even though I am optimistic about coming home without issue.

You're taking a piece of technology that allows you to communicate with civilization while in a remote area. These bunkers are designed to protect and isolate their inhabitants from the outside world altogether. Your example doesn't seem analogous at all to the point I'm trying to make.

The idea that wealthy and powerful can just jettison themselves from the society they led in the event that things go downhill says a lot about what they actually think about our society.

that's sloppy thinking.

I'd much rather they built bunkers, them not doing so is just a sign that they're pursuing pipe dreams instead of reality. It's not a lack of commitment to the ideal they're pursuing, it's a recognition that the ideal is rarely achieved fully.

Such a person who can strive for the ideal but plan for the reality of the situation is exactly who I'd want pursuing the ideal on behalf of all of us because they're likely to be both wise and persistent.

Successful people who have means and aren't building bunkers are pursuing pipe dreams merely because they aren't building bunkers? So any CEO who chooses not to build a bunker is pursuing nothing but pipe dreams? Talk about sloppy thinking.

> It's not a lack of commitment to the ideal they're pursuing, it's a recognition that the ideal is rarely achieved fully.

But what is actually the ideal here? My initial point was that tech companies talk about making the world a better place, but the jury is still out on whether that's reality for many of them.

Bear in mind that civilizations like the Roman Empire fell largely because the wealthy became too corrupt and inept to govern. In our current environment, what are the largest factors that could precipitate a collapse of our society? Famine due to climate change and massive financial collapse are two of the more likely scenarios, for example.

These bunker builders could do a lot more to prevent these scenarios from happening with the amount of social and financial capital they have. (i.e. hammering home the persistent dangers of climate change, stabilizing income inequality so we don't completely fall into serfdom again, etc.)

But no, they're content making their millions, doing nothing to move society in a positive direction, and building their bunkers because "the poor people chose to be poor", or whatever it is they tell themselves these days.

Hope for the best and prepare for the worst?

I reckon the Bezos bunker would be worth seeing. I believe he has a 10,000 year clock in there.


This is exactly why Elizabeth Warren's wealth tax is a great idea.

I think her aims are loftier than taking survivalist "enthusiasts" down a peg or two. Businesses like this have existed before, they just don't make much money. The owner interviewed here claims he broke even, which isn't all that surprising since the market for a $1 million + bunker in South Dakota is going to be limited.

You do realize that all this bunker construction, prepper consultation and long-term foodstuffs is keeping a lot of people gainfully employed. You basically want to put them out of business.

The thing is, those jobs do not provide serious long term benefits for humanity. Large infrastructure projects, like the ones that major governments can green light (for example, space travel, quality parks services, education etc) do. It also helps even the playing field so that poorer people are less likely to be disenfranchised. A noble goal in itself but it also probably helps reduce the likelihood of an end-of-world scenario.

Keeping hundreds of people working on insurance projects for the super-rich is not the best allocation of funds, and we have the power to change that allocation.

If you believe that the wealthy should only spend their money in a way that provides for "serious long term benefits for humanity" I ask you to enter your income into this website and then come back and tell me if you still feel that way.


Just did, and I do. But I'm not going to start doing it until someone forces me to, because I'm fallible.

Edit: but for what it's worth, I do spend all my free money on trying to create wealth and jobs for people who don't have it.

Thanks for the honesty. When you realize that it isn't the 1% vs the 99% but more like the .1% vs the 1% it all starts to look a little silly doesn't it? Wealthiest people ever to live on earth complaining that other people have more than they do.

It's a valid thing to complain about - same as we complain about the world's great polluters despite being way up there ourselves. The means and opportunity to say "hey, this isn't fair" is something not everyone has, and I think, since we can, we should.

What a sad existence, to spend all your time and large amounts of your money dwelling on far-flung fears of catastrophe instead of living your life, which is finite no matter what you do.

I'm amused by this. Even by only looking at the lead photo, i have to wonder what do they hope to achieve with those COTS cameras? I mean, this is America where guns and rifles of all sorts are widely available. Are they decoys to draw the fire away from the other, more camouflaged ones? Do they work in infrared even when some red flares are thrown into their FOV? Or blinded by laser pointer?

Then somewhat into the article: ...'connected the former missile site to the grid' What for? Got an apocalypse level SLA with Exelon? Did they bury the lines? And the next substation? Is it guarded? Will it be if SHTF? What does a little bit of thermite do on top of a transformator? Or a mast? An angle grinder? Maybe even a saw?

Why not bring some welders and (maybe hotwired) heavy construction equipment to the bunker cracking party? And some dynamite just for kicks?

Smoke bombs and cyanide capsules from M44 traps?

Do they really think they will be the only ones being prepared, organized and stocked, able to wait it out until the unwashed masses dwindled away?

Did they prepare for 40ft snow or volcanic ashes? What about other, novel extreme weather like ARkStorms?

Remember Offut AFB in March? That wasn't even extreme. Just shit that happened.

Reminds me of my town of birth which had a nuclear bunker in the parking garage of the opera house. Next to a large river. What could go wrong?

Anyways, my take on this is take it like in 2012 (2009)

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1Kbym7WYzs

instead of mutating into the bomb worshippers of [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beneath_the_Planet_of_the_Apes

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cl14xh4GSrc

Because [4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8fkrPP_0qA

PUSSIES! (just kidding) ;-)

I’m not going to lie, the pictures look pretty good.

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