Life

Billionaires Are Building Luxury Bunkers to Escape Doomsday

New Zealand, in particular, is an “apocalypse escape destination for America’s elite."
doomsday bunker in new zealand
A doomsday bunker in New Zealandj

Silicon Valley’s wealthy elite are viewing doomsday as a serious threat, building bunkers in preparation for the potential destruction of all mankind.

In 2017, just after Trump’s inauguration, media theorist Douglas Rushkoff was invited to speak to tech executives at an exclusive resort about the digital future. However, when he showed up, his hosts had other plans. He recounted the story on VICE TV’s series ‘While the Rest of Us Die.’

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“I was waiting to go on when five men came into the green room and sat around this little table they had there and I found out there was no talk for me to go do,” he said. “These guys were the talk.”

The men launched into a series of questions about topics like Bitcoin vs. Ethereum, augmented reality vs. virtual reality, and—most alarming—Alaska or New Zealand.

“Meaning, where should they situate their bunkers for their event?” Rushkoff explained.

New Zealand is considered an “apocalypse escape destination for America’s elite,” he said. For example, the billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel arranged for a New Zealand passport in case he needed to escape.

“The rest of my hour with them was them asking me all of these really specific questions about how to water-test their plans for the apocalypse,” Rushkoff continued. 

Douglas Rushkoff Media Theorist in VICE TV bunker new zealand episode

Douglas Rushkoff

The men cited potential disasters caused by electromagnetic pulses, economic downturn, disease, or war that might “necessitate them leaving their Silicon Valley ranches and retreating to these fortified bunkers in the middle of nowhere.”

These “luxury bunkers” include features most of us could only ever dream of, like indoor pools and artificial sunlight, allowing them to remain sealed off from the world for years at a time, if necessary.

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“The billionaires understand that they’re playing a dangerous game,” Rushkoff said. “They are running out of room to externalize the damage of the way that their companies operate. Eventually, there’s going to be the social unrest that leads to your undoing.”

“The most powerful people in the world see themselves as utterly incapable of actually creating a future in which everything’s gonna be OK.” –Douglas Rushkoff

Like the gated communities of the past, their biggest concern was to find ways to protect themselves from the “unruly masses,” Rushkoff said. “The question we ended up spending the majority of time on was: ‘How do I maintain control of my security force after my money is worthless?’”

That is, if their money is no longer worth anything—if money no longer means power—how and why would a Navy Seal agree to guard a bunker for them? 

“Once they start talking in those terms, it’s really easy to start puncturing a hole in their plan,” Rushkoff said. “The most powerful people in the world see themselves as utterly incapable of actually creating a future in which everything’s gonna be OK.”

Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Shaquille O'Neal, and Tom Cruise, among others, are alleged to have built bunkers or safe rooms within their own homes.

This begs the question: If a disaster did, in fact, take us all out—and the only people survivors were the rich and famous—then what would happen?