Inside the luxury doomsday bunkers of the world’s richest: for billionaires, apocalypse prepping means US$14 million shelters with stables, bars, pools, cryptocurrency mining rooms and more …
Tech billionaires are prepping for doomsday and buying luxury bunkers, according to a new tell-all book. In Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires, Douglas Rushkoff details his experience chatting with five of the richest men in the world about how to prepare for an apocalypse.
Rushkoff, who often writes about the future of technology and is known for his association with early cyberpunk culture, said he was invited to a remote resort to talk with five of the world’s wealthiest men about the future of the planet. (Rushkoff did not specify who spoke to him at the resort, but said at least two of the men were billionaires.)
At the event, the City University of New York professor said he was repeatedly asked about the best ways to survive climate change or societal collapse, as the executives detailed their plans to build underground bunkers and avoid what they called “The Event”.
“The CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system, and asked, ‘How do I maintain authority over my security force after ‘The Event?’” Rushkoff wrote.
“The Event. That was their euphemism for the environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, solar storm, unstoppable virus or malicious computer hack that takes everything down.”
In a post for The Guardian, Rushkoff highlighted some of the survival companies the ultra-wealthy are employing to build their escape, including Vivos and Rising S Company, which offer luxury shelters with amenities like pools and stables.
Vivos and Rising S Company have declined to provide details on specific clients or projects they’ve worked on, citing privacy concerns.
Vivos sells shelters that are essentially luxury underground flats.
The shelters are built into converted Cold War facilities and missile silos around the world.
The sites operate as complexes, where individuals can gather in common areas, as well as maintain their own private space.
One of Vivos’ most luxurious sites – Europa One – is located in Germany and provides individual families with over 2,500 sq ft of living space.
It will have numerous amenities and operates almost as its own village, with a bar, chapel, pools and more.
Residents will also get their own private luxury accommodation.
The site is designed to cater to the mental health of residents and attempts to simulate natural light in the underground shelter.
The location will also have a cinema, garden and wine vault.
The site includes guard buildings lining the premises for security – an issue Rushkoff said was a major cause for concern for the billionaires he spoke with.
Despite the appeal of the luxury facilities, Rushkoff said he doubted the sites would be able to survive a true apocalypse.
“The probability of a fortified bunker actually protecting its occupants from the reality of, well, reality, is very slim. For one, the closed ecosystems of underground facilities are preposterously brittle,” Rushkoff wrote in The Guardian. “Just the known unknowns are enough to dash any reasonable hope of survival.”
Vivos also offers more modest accommodation at a site in South Dakota.
According to Vivos, its shelters are designed to allow residents to operate for a minimum of one year without having to return to the outside world. It said its customers are not “‘the elite 1 per cent”, but rather well-educated, average people with a keen awareness of the current global events.
The company has said it saw a surge of interest in its shelters at the onset of the pandemic as well as Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
Online, Vivos application prices start at US$35,000 per person with “significant discounts” available for individuals with key survival skills.
Rising S prices start at US$40,000. But its luxury series starts at about US$3.78 million and the company’s most expensive shelter costs about US$14 million.
Unlike Vivos, Rising S builds its shelters individually into customers’ existing properties.
The company said it often customises its shelters for luxury clients, and has built everything from operating rooms to stables, shooting ranges, basketball courts and cryptocurrency mining rooms into its shelters.
“It’s as if they want to build a car that goes fast enough to escape from its own exhaust,” he wrote in The Guardian. “Never before have our society’s most powerful players assumed that the primary impact of their own conquests would be to render the world itself unliveable for everyone else.”
- Tech billionaires are building luxury doomsday bunkers, according to a tell-all book by Douglas Rushkoff, who talked with five of the richest men in the world – could one of them be Elon Musk?
- Shelters built by companies like Vivos and Rising S range from US$35,000 to US$14 million – but can they actually help residents survive environmental collapse or a nuclear winter?