Billionaire Bunkers

Mar 07, 2024


Katt Williams On Mark Zuckerberg's $270M Bunker In Hawaii - Conspiracy Theory?

Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg building an apocalypse-proof bunker in Hawaii?

What's Inside $18,000,000 Luxury Doomsday Bunker? 

An Inside Look At Doomsday Bunker Homes With A Price Tag Of $2 Million 

Luxury doomsday bunkers for the ultra-rich 

Billionaire Bunkers: How Super Rich Are Prepping For OFF-GRID Living


See inside the luxury bunkers where the superrich reportedly plan to save themselves from a future apocalypse 

  • Tech billionaires are building luxury doomsday bunkers, according to a tell-all book by Douglas Rushkoff.
    • Rushkoff, who often writes about the future of technology, 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.
  • Rushkoff 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 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," Rushkoff said in his book.
  • [Vivos (Companies Selling Bunkers)]
  • 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. The companies declined to provide details to Insider on specific clients or projects they've worked on, citing privacy concerns.
    • Vivos sells shelters that are essentially luxury underground apartments.
    • Vivos' shelters are built into converted Cold War facilities and missile silos around the world.
    • The sites operate as complexes, where the company says 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 is set to provide individual families with over 2,500 square feet of living space.
      • The company advertises the location as the world's largest private shelter.
    • Vivos says it will have numerous amenities and operate like its own village with a bar, chapel, pools, and more.
    • Residents will also get their own private luxury accommodations, the company says.
    • Vivos says that 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 movie theater, 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.
    • Vivos also offers more modest accommodations at a site in South Dakota.
      • Vivos told Insider 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%,' 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 and Russia's attack on Ukraine.
    • Online, Vivos application prices start at $35,000 per person with "significant discounts" available for individuals with key survival skills.
  • Rising S prices start at $40,000. But, its luxury series starts at about $3.78 million, and the company's most expensive shelter costs about $14 million, the company told Insider.
    • Unlike Vivos, Rising S builds its shelters individually into customers' existing properties.
    • The company said it often customizes its shelters for luxury clients, and has built anything from operating rooms to horse stables, shooting ranges, basketball courts, and crypto mining rooms into its shelters.
  • Despite the appeal of the luxury facilities, Rushkoff said he doubted the sites would be able to survive a true apocalypse.
    • Ultimately, Rushkoff said the idea behind billionaires seeking an escape hatch indicates a larger trend. He pointed to Elon Musk looking to colonize Mars.
    • "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 unlivable for everyone else."



The super-rich ‘preppers’ planning to save themselves from the apocalypse

  • Tech billionaires are buying up luxurious bunkers and hiring military security to survive a societal collapse they helped create, but like everything they do, it has unintended consequences 
  •  That’s how I found myself accepting an invitation to address a group mysteriously described as “ultra-wealthy stakeholders”, out in the middle of the desert.
    • A limo was waiting for me at the airport. As the sun began to dip over the horizon, I realised I had been in the car for three hours. What sort of wealthy hedge-fund types would drive this far from the airport for a conference? Then I saw it. On a parallel path next to the highway, as if racing against us, a small jet was coming in for a landing on a private airfield. Of course.
  •  They sat around the table and introduced themselves: five super-wealthy guys – yes, all men – from the upper echelon of the tech investing and hedge-fund world. At least two of them were billionaires. After a bit of small talk, I realised they had no interest in the speech I had prepared about the future of technology. They had come to ask questions.
    • They started out innocuously and predictably enough. Bitcoin or ethereum? Virtual reality or augmented reality? Who will get quantum computing first, China or Google? Eventually, they edged into their real topic of concern: New Zealand or Alaska? Which region would be less affected by the coming climate crisis? It only got worse from there. Which was the greater threat: global warming or biological warfare? How long should one plan to be able to survive with no outside help?
  • Finally, 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?” 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.
    • This single question occupied us for the rest of the hour. They knew armed guards would be required to protect their compounds from raiders as well as angry mobs. 
    • One had already secured a dozen Navy Seals to make their way to his compound if he gave them the right cue. But how would he pay the guards once even his crypto was worthless? What would stop the guards from eventually choosing their own leader?
  • The billionaires considered using special combination locks on the food supply that only they knew. Or making guards wear disciplinary collars of some kind in return for their survival. Or maybe building robots to serve as guards and workers – if that technology could be developed “in time”.
    • I tried to reason with them. I made pro-social arguments for partnership and solidarity as the best approaches to our collective, long-term challenges. The way to get your guards to exhibit loyalty in the future was to treat them like friends right now, I explained. Don’t just invest in ammo and electric fences, invest in people and relationships. They rolled their eyes at what must have sounded to them like hippy philosophy.
  • This was probably the wealthiest, most powerful group I had ever encountered. Yet here they were, asking a Marxist media theorist for advice on where and how to configure their doomsday bunkers. That’s when it hit me: at least as far as these gentlemen were concerned, this was a talk about the future of technology.
    • Taking their cue from Tesla founder Elon Musk colonising Mars, Palantir’s Peter Thiel reversing the ageing process, or artificial intelligence developers Sam Altman and Ray Kurzweil uploading their minds into supercomputers, they were preparing for a digital future that had less to do with making the world a better place than it did with transcending the human condition altogether.
    • Their extreme wealth and privilege served only to make them obsessed with insulating themselves from the very real and present danger of climate change, rising sea levels, mass migrations, global pandemics, nativist panic and resource depletion. 
      • For them, the future of technology is about only one thing: escape from the rest of us.
  • These people once showered the world with madly optimistic business plans for how technology might benefit human society. Now they’ve reduced technological progress to a video game that one of them wins by finding the escape hatch. 
    • Will it be Jeff Bezos migrating to space, Thiel to his New Zealand compound, or Mark Zuckerberg to his virtual metaverse? And these catastrophising billionaires are the presumptive winners of the digital economy – the supposed champions of the survival-of-the-fittest business landscape that’s fuelling most of this speculation to begin with.
  • [Conclusion]
  • What I came to realise was that these men are actually the losers. The billionaires who called me out to the desert to evaluate their bunker strategies are not the victors of the economic game so much as the victims of its perversely limited rules. 
    • More than anything, they have succumbed to a mindset where “winning” means earning enough money to insulate themselves from the damage they are creating by earning money in that way. It’s as if they want to build a car that goes fast enough to escape from its own exhaust.
    • Yet this Silicon Valley escapism – let’s call it The Mindset – encourages its adherents to believe that the winners can somehow leave the rest of us behind.
  • 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
    • Nor have they ever before had the technologies through which to programme their sensibilities into the very fabric of our society. The landscape is alive with algorithms and intelligences actively encouraging these selfish and isolationist outlooks. Those sociopathic enough to embrace them are rewarded with cash and control over the rest of us. It’s a self-reinforcing feedback loop. This is new.
  • Amplified by digital technologies and the unprecedented wealth disparity they afford, The Mindset allows for the easy externalisation of harm to others, and inspires a corresponding longing for transcendence and separation from the people and places that have been abused.
  • Instead of just lording over us for ever, however, the billionaires at the top of these virtual pyramids actively seek the endgame. 
    •  In fact, like the plot of a Marvel blockbuster, the very structure of The Mindset requires an endgame.
    • Everything must resolve to a one or a zero, a winner or loser, the saved or the damned. Actual, imminent catastrophes from the climate emergency to mass migrations support the mythology, offering these would-be superheroes the opportunity to play out the finale in their own lifetimes. For The Mindset also includes a faith-based Silicon Valley certainty that they can develop a technology that will somehow break the laws of physics, economics and morality to offer them something even better than a way of saving the world: a means of escape from the apocalypse of their own making.
  • Almost immediately, I began receiving inquiries from businesses catering to the billionaire prepper, all hoping I would make some introductions on their behalf to the five men I had written about. I heard from a real estate agent who specialises in disaster-proof listings, a company taking reservations for its third underground dwellings project, and a security firm offering various forms of “risk management”.
  • But the message that got my attention came from a former president of the American chamber of commerce in Latvia. JC Cole had witnessed the fall of the Soviet empire, as well as what it took to rebuild a working society almost from scratch. He had also served as landlord for the American and European Union embassies, and learned a whole lot about security systems and evacuation plans. 
    • You certainly stirred up a bees’ nest,” he began his first email to me. “It’s quite accurate – the wealthy hiding in their bunkers will have a problem with their security teams… I believe you are correct with your advice to ‘treat those people really well, right now’, but also the concept may be expanded and I believe there is a better system that would give much better results.”
  • He felt certain that the “event” – a grey swan, or predictable catastrophe triggered by our enemies, Mother Nature, or just by accident –was inevitable.
    • He had done a Swot analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats – and concluded that preparing for calamity required us to take the very same measures as trying to prevent one. “By coincidence,” he explained, “I am setting up a series of safe haven farms in the NYC area. These are designed to best handle an ‘event’ and also benefit society as semi-organic farms. Both within three hours’ drive from the city – close enough to get there when it happens.”
  • Here was a prepper with security clearance, field experience and food sustainability expertise. He believed the best way to cope with the impending disaster was to change the way we treat one another, the economy, and the planet right now – while also developing a network of secret, totally self-sufficient residential farm communities for millionaires, guarded by Navy Seals armed to the teeth.
    • JC is currently developing two farms as part of his safe haven project. Farm one, outside Princeton, is his show model and “works well as long as the thin blue line is working”. The second one, somewhere in the Poconos, has to remain a secret.
  • “The fewer people who know the locations, the better,” he explained, along with a link to the Twilight Zone episode in which panicked neighbours break into a family’s bomb shelter during a nuclear scare. “The primary value of safe haven is operational security, nicknamed OpSec by the military. If/when the supply chain breaks, the people will have no food delivered. Covid-19 gave us the wake-up call as people started fighting over toilet paper. When it comes to a shortage of food it will be vicious. That is why those intelligent enough to invest have to be stealthy.”
  • On the way back to the main building, JC showed me the “layered security” protocols he had learned designing embassy properties: a fence, “no trespassing” signs, guard dogs, surveillance cameras … all meant to discourage violent confrontation. He paused for a minute as he stared down the drive. “Honestly, I am less concerned about gangs with guns than the woman at the end of the driveway holding a baby and asking for food.” He paused, and sighed, “I don’t want to be in that moral dilemma.”
    • That’s why JC’s real passion wasn’t just to build a few isolated, militarised retreat facilities for millionaires, but to prototype locally owned sustainable farms that can be modelled by others and ultimately help restore regional food security in America
    • The “just-in-time” delivery system preferred by agricultural conglomerates renders most of the nation vulnerable to a crisis as minor as a power outage or transportation shutdown. Meanwhile, the centralisation of the agricultural industry has left most farms utterly dependent on the same long supply chains as urban consumers. “Most egg farmers can’t even raise chickens,” JC explained as he showed me his henhouses. “They buy chicks. I’ve got roosters.”
  • JC is no hippy environmentalist but his business model is based in the same communitarian spirit I tried to convey to the billionaires: the way to keep the hungry hordes from storming the gates is by getting them food security now.
    • So for $3m, investors not only get a maximum security compound in which to ride out the coming plague, solar storm, or electric grid collapse. They also get a stake in a potentially profitable network of local farm franchises that could reduce the probability of a catastrophic event in the first place. His business would do its best to ensure there are as few hungry children at the gate as possible when the time comes to lock down.
  • Most billionaire preppers don’t want to have to learn to get along with a community of farmers or, worse, spend their winnings funding a national food resilience programme. The mindset that requires safe havens is less concerned with preventing moral dilemmas than simply keeping them out of sight.
    • Many of those seriously seeking a safe haven simply hire one of several prepper construction companies to bury a prefab steel-lined bunker somewhere on one of their existing properties.
  • Rising S Company in Texas builds and installs bunkers and tornado shelters for as little as $40,000 for an 8ft by 12ft emergency hideout all the way up to the $8.3m luxury series “Aristocrat”, complete with pool and bowling lane. The enterprise originally catered to families seeking temporary storm shelters, before it went into the long-term apocalypse business. 
    • The company logo, complete with three crucifixes, suggests their services are geared more toward Christian evangelist preppers in red-state America than billionaire tech bros playing out sci-fi scenarios.
  • [Vivos]
  • There’s something much more whimsical about the facilities in which most of the billionaires – or, more accurately, aspiring billionaires – actually invest.
  • A company called Vivos is selling luxury underground apartments in converted cold war munitions storage facilities, missile silos, and other fortified locations around the world. Like miniature Club Med resorts, they offer private suites for individuals or families, and larger common areas with pools, games, movies and dining. 
    • Ultra-elite shelters such as the Oppidum in the Czech Republic claim to cater to the billionaire class, and pay more attention to the long-term psychological health of residents. They provide imitation of natural light, such as a pool with a simulated sunlit garden area, a wine vault, and other amenities to make the wealthy feel at home.
  • [Wouldn’t Work]
  • On closer analysis, however, 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. 
    • For example, an indoor, sealed hydroponic garden is vulnerable to contamination. Vertical farms with moisture sensors and computer-controlled irrigation systems look great in business plans and on the rooftops of Bay Area startups; when a palette of topsoil or a row of crops goes wrong, it can simply be pulled and replaced. The hermetically sealed apocalypse “grow room” doesn’t allow for such do-overs.
  • ust the known unknowns are enough to dash any reasonable hope of survival. But this doesn’t seem to stop wealthy preppers from trying.
    • The New York Times reported that real estate agents specialising in private islands were overwhelmed with inquiries during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Prospective clients were even asking about whether there was enough land to do some agriculture in addition to installing a helicopter landing pad. But while a private island may be a good place to wait out a temporary plague, turning it into a self-sufficient, defensible ocean fortress is harder than it sounds. 
    • Small islands are utterly dependent on air and sea deliveries for basic staples. Solar panels and water filtration equipment need to be replaced and serviced at regular intervals. The billionaires who reside in such locales are more, not less, dependent on complex supply chains than those of us embedded in industrial civilisation.
    • Surely the billionaires who brought me out for advice on their exit strategies were aware of these limitations. Could it have all been some sort of game? Five men sitting around a poker table, each wagering his escape plan was best?
  • But if they were in it just for fun, they wouldn’t have called for me. They would have flown out the author of a zombie apocalypse comic book. If they wanted to test their bunker plans, they’d have hired a security expert from Blackwater or the Pentagon. They seemed to want something more. Their language went far beyond questions of disaster preparedness and verged on politics and philosophy: words such as individuality, sovereignty, governance and autonomy.
    • That’s because it wasn’t their actual bunker strategies I had been brought out to evaluate so much as the philosophy and mathematics they were using to justify their commitment to escape. They were working out what I’ve come to call the insulation equation: could they earn enough money to insulate themselves from the reality they were creating by earning money in this way? Was there any valid justification for striving to be so successful that they could simply leave the rest of us behind –apocalypse or not?
  • Or was this really their intention all along? Maybe the apocalypse is less something they’re trying to escape than an excuse to realise The Mindset’s true goal: to rise above mere mortals and execute the ultimate exit strategy.


Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s Top-Secret Hawaii Compound

  • [Hook]
  • Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is building a sprawling, $100 million compound in Hawaii—complete with plans for a huge underground bunker. A WIRED investigation reveals the true scale of the project—and its impact on the local community.
  • OFF THE TWO-LANE highway that winds along the northeast side of the Hawaiian island of Kauai, on a quiet stretch of ranchland between the tourist hubs of Kapaa and Hanalei, an enormous, secret construction project is underway.
    • A 6-foot wall blocks the view from a nearby road fronting the project, where cars slow to try to catch a glimpse of what’s behind it. Security guards stand watch at an entrance gate and patrol the surrounding beaches on ATVs. Pickup trucks roll in and out, hauling building materials and transporting hundreds of workers.
  • Nobody working on this project is allowed to talk about what they’re building.
    • Almost anyone who passes compound security—from carpenters to electricians to painters to security guards—is bound by a strict nondisclosure agreement, according to several workers involved in the project.
    •  And, they say, these agreements aren’t a formality. Multiple workers claim they saw or heard about colleagues removed from the project for posting about it on social media. Different construction crews within the site are assigned to separate projects and workers are forbidden from speaking with other crews about their work, sources say.
  • “It’s fight club. We don’t talk about fight club,” says David, one former contract employee. WIRED has agreed to withhold his real name because he was not authorized to speak to the press. “Anything posted from here, they get wind of it right away.”
    • Another former site worker, who we will call John, says he was told that another member of his construction company was fired for allegedly sharing a picture of the project on Snapchat.
    • He’s heard similar stories from other crews. John says the “very strict” enforcement of NDAs has made workers on-site unwilling to “take the chance to get caught even taking a picture.”
  • The project is so huge that a not-insignificant share of the island is bound by the NDA. 
    • But everyone here knows who is behind it. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, who bought the land in a series of deals beginning in August 2014.
  • Interviews with several people associated with the project, along with public records and court documents seen by WIRED, suggest that since then, the planning and construction of the roughly 1,400-acre compound has been shrouded in secrecy.
    • The property, known as Koolau Ranch, will, according to planning documents, include a 5,000-square-foot underground shelter, have its own energy and food supplies, and, when coupled with land purchase prices, will cost in excess of $270 million.
    • According to evidence reviewed by WIRED, the project has relied on legal maneuvering and political networking, and at times, sources believe, it has shown disregard for the local public. All the while, Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan continue to build one of the most expensive properties in the world.
  • THE OLDEST AND smallest of the four main Hawaiian Islands, Kauai is a tight-knit community of about 73,000 people.
    • Its residents are the descendants of Native Hawaiians, along with Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and Puerto Rican migrants who came to work the sugarcane plantations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some of the more recent arrivals come from the US mainland and other Pacific islands. When plantation owners moved their operations overseas in search of cheaper labor, the island’s sugarcane economy was replaced by tourism.
    • Workers on the Zuckerberg site are part of a growing construction industry focused on luxury home builds for mainlanders looking to move to paradise.
  • Though tourist-centric development has transformed much of the island in recent decades, Kauai maintains a small-town feel. Older residents still remember a time when there was only one traffic light—the second was installed in 1973. Wild chickens and feral cats are everywhere. Locals surf and fish off the beaches, or hunt pigs in the mountains. People know their neighbors.
    • With NDAs forbidding workers from discussing the project, the secluded North Shore compound has gained a mythic status on Kauai. One local architect unaffiliated with the Zuckerberg project jokes that it reminds him of medieval rulers who, according to legend, killed the architects of their most ambitious projects so the secrets of their designs would die with them.
  • Tall tales about the compound and its owner run rampant on the local rumor mill—known colloquially as the “coconut wireless.”
    • One person heard that Zuckerberg was building a vast underground city.
    • Many people speculate that the site will become some sort of postapocalyptic bunker in case of civilization collapse. What’s being built doesn’t live up to the coconut wireless chatter, but it’s close. Detailed planning documents obtained by WIRED through a series of public record requests show the makings of an opulent techno-Xanadu, complete with underground shelter and what appears to be a blast-resistant door.
  • According to plans viewed by WIRED and a source familiar with the development, the partially completed compound consists of more than a dozen buildings with at least 30 bedrooms and 30 bathrooms in total. 
    • It is centered around two mansions with a total floor area comparable to a professional football field (57,000 square feet), which contain multiple elevators, offices, conference rooms, and an industrial-sized kitchen.
  • In a nearby wooded area, a web of 11 disk-shaped treehouses are planned, which will be connected by intricate rope bridges, allowing visitors to cross from one building to the next while staying among the treetops.
    • A building on the other side of the main mansions will include a full-size gym, pools, sauna, hot tub, cold plunge, and tennis court. The property is dotted with other guest houses and operations buildings. The scale of the project suggests that it will be more than a personal vacation home — Zuckerberg has already hosted two corporate events at the compound.
    • The plans show that the two central mansions will be joined by a tunnel that branches off into a 5,000-square-foot underground shelter, featuring living space, a mechanical room, and an escape hatch that can be accessed via a ladder.
  •  “There’s cameras everywhere,” David says—and the documents back this up. More than 20 cameras are included on plans for one smaller ranch operations building alone. Many of the compound’s doors are planned to be keypad-operated or soundproofed. Others, like those in the library, are described as “blind doors,” made to imitate the design of the surrounding walls. The door in the underground shelter will be constructed out of metal and filled in with concrete—a style common in bunkers and bomb shelters.
  • According to sources and planning documents reviewed by WIRED, the compound will be self-sufficient, with its own water tank, 55 feet in diameter and 18 feet tall—along with a pump system.
    • . A variety of food is already produced across its 1,400 acres through ranching and agriculture. Brandi Hoffine Barr, spokesperson for Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, declined to comment on the size or bunker-like qualities of the project.
  • The cost rivals that of the largest private, personal construction projects in human history. Building permits put the price tag for the main construction at around $100 million, in addition to $170 million in land purchases, but this is likely an underestimate. Building costs on the remote island are still higher than pre-pandemic levels.
    • That price for a private residence is unparalleled in the local construction industry—as is the level of secrecy and security. “The only other time you see that is when you’re doing secure military installations,” says one local construction industry official affiliated with the site. “For a private project to have an NDA attached to it is very rare.”
  • With such scale and complexity come workplace accidents. 
    •  In February, for instance, a crane traveling down a steep, narrow road on the property fell off an edge—careening down a hill with the operator inside. The driver, a 53-year-old Kauai local, suffered serious injuries and was transported to the hospital in stable condition. He has since returned to the site, Hoffine Barr tells WIRED.
  • In August 2019, 70-year-old security guard Rodney Medeiros, who was under an NDA that, from what his family understood, prevented him from discussing specific details about his job, ended a 12-hour shift standing watch at a beach by the property
    • These documents, later filed on behalf of Medeiros’ children, claim that rainy conditions made it impossible for an ATV to pick him up, as was standard practice. Medeiros began making his way up a steep trail to reach the compound’s exit, and midway up the path he suffered a heart attack. He was transported to a hospital, where he died hours later.
  • The secrecy of the compound was evident in the wake of Medeiros’ death. A recorded conversation between three of his children and a compound security manager, Hank Barriga, a week after his death, hints at what their legal team has implied in their wrongful death suit against one of Zuckerberg’s LLCs.
    • The filing alleges that there is an effort behind the scenes of the Zuckerberg project to control the flow of information.
  • HOPE KALLAI LIVES on a 5-acre plot of land next to the Zuckerberg compound on Kauai. 
    • n 2016, two years after Zuckerberg purchased his first piece of land on the island, Kallai watched as a 6-foot wall was erected around portions of the property, ensuring privacy within the ranch, but denying her and other neighbors an ocean view as they walked or biked alongside the land. Recently, as construction has begun in earnest, the neighborhood has been transformed by cars and trucks circulating in and out. Loud noises, which Kallai says sound like gunshots, frequently ring out from the construction site.
    • The project brings a different character to the area, according to Jeff Lindner, another neighbor. “There used to not be any cars,” he says. Now, there is a lot of traffic. “They’re not there to enjoy the island,” he says of the influx of workers, many of whom he believes aren’t local to Kauai. “They’re there to get somewhere, and you’re in their way.”
  • IT’S BEEN HAPPENING, and not just on Kauai. As the amount and total net worth of billionaires continues to grow in the US, many have used their wealth to purchase island seclusion and security.
    • This year, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos spent $147 million buying two mansions on Indian Creek Island in Florida, which is also home to the likes of Tom Brady, Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner. The smaller Hawaiian island of Lanai, off the coast of Maui, is now almost completely owned by Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison.
  • New Zealand, considered by some to be the ideal place to wait out an apocalyptic event, is now riddled with bunkers for the tech elite. 
    • Recently reinstalled OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has an arrangement with Peter Thiel, first revealed to The New Yorker, where the pair will take a jet to one of Thiel’s New Zealand properties in the case of an apocalyptic event. 
    •  In his book Survival of the Richest, media theorist Douglass Rushkoff describes meeting with a group of billionaire preppers who bombarded him with questions about how best to configure their bunkers to survive the end times.
  • In his book, Rushkoff criticizes what he calls “the mindset”—a belief that “with enough money and technology, wealthy men can live as gods and transcend the calamities that befall everyone else.” In doing so, he writes, they apply the same exit strategy of Silicon Valley startups to civilization itself.
    • “If anybody has enough money to insulate himself from the damage created for society, it would be Zuck,” says Rushkoff. “That’s sort of what it is. He’s destroyed the government and society, and now he can go to Hawaii and build a fort.”


Why is Mark Zuckerberg building a private apocalypse bunker in Hawaii? 

  • [Hook]
  • The rich can’t buy their way out of death, but they can certainly postpone it for a while.
    • All of the pure food and expensive healthcare and personal trainers that money can buy do indeed keep the wealthy breathing longer, on average, than the rest of us. Yet it is not death itself that is the great equalizer; it is the fear of death. 
    • That is the thing that the highest piles of money cannot safeguard against.
  • The futility of all of those meticulous attempts to maximize lifespan is revealed by death’s approach. 
    • Much of the behavior of the world’s wealthiest people can be understood as a pitiful attempt to stave off something that is unstoppable, like a person throwing their hands up to stop an oncoming freight train. For all of us languishing in the masses of regular-folkdom, this is our consolation: we cannot match the world’s greatest fortunes, but we can take solace in the knowledge that they are being wasted on mankind’s oldest folly.
  • In 2015, the Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, one of the richest men on Earth, announced that he would be giving away the bulk of his wealth during his lifetime. One of the main goals of his charity, he wrote in a treacly public letter to his daughter, was “promoting equality”.
    • “Today we are robbed of the potential so many have to offer,” he declared. “The only way to achieve our full potential is to channel the talents, ideas and contributions of every person in the world.”
  • Now, in homage to this admirable ideal, Zuckerberg is offering the underprivileged residents of the Hawaiian island of Kauai the chance to live up to their full potential, to wit, “building a lavish ultraluxury compound where Mark Zuckerberg can hole up and survive the apocalypse while the hordes of normal people perish”.
  • As the journalist Guthrie Scrimgeour details in a staggering investigative story for Wired magazine, Zuckerberg has spent almost a decade buying up land on the island for the construction – now well under way – of a sprawling, 1,400-acre compound of mansions, treehouses and tunnels. 
    • The crown jewel of the $270m project is a 5,000-sq-ft underground shelter with “its own energy and food supplies” and “what appears to be a blast-resistant door”.
  • Odd, is it not, that a man whose primary concern is global equality would need a subterranean apocalypse shelter designed to seal him off from all of the (equal) people outside who would be, presumably, burning or starving or being eaten by the zombies?
    • Wouldn’t Zuckerberg’s powerful passion for enhancing the future of all mankind compel him to fling open the armored doors to his compound and welcome in all of his fellow Hawaiian islanders, for whom he has the deepest concern and respect? Or, even simpler, compelled him to have spent the hundreds of millions of dollars that he spent on this tightly secured elitist fantasyland on something a bit more public-minded? I’m sure that his soaring, scenic parcel of land would make an excellent public park.
  • [Conclusion]
  • A millimeter below every billionaire’s charitable spirit lies an endless well of self-preservation.
    • This sort of desperate planning for the End Times gives the lie to everything that Zuckerberg and his moneyed peers say about the rising tide that lifts all boats. When the tides rise high enough, your rickety boats will sink, while they will float away on their yachts. Every charitable check can be seen as a tranquilizer dart, designed to pacify the public just enough that they won’t start wondering why the nice plutocrat who came to their island and bought all the land built such a big wall around it all.
  • The most fervent quasi-religious hope of every billionaire is that he can have it all; that he can both bask in opulent wealth and be a good person, beloved by one and all. Unfortunately for the rich, this hope will always be revealed as an impossible dream.
    • Moral philosophers have long pointed out that the mere act of giving away some money does not absolve you from the responsibility of doing something ethical with all the rest of your money. To feed one hungry child and then let a thousand more starve as you build your mansion is not an act that balances the scales of right and wrong.
  • In a resource-constrained world, there is no escaping the moral imperative for the wealthy to use their stupendous resources to help the needy as much as possible. There is no buying your way out of that situation. The “indulgences” that the Catholic church used to sell to escape the effects of sin were, we all now recognize, a scam. The charitable foundations of modern billionaires can be understood the same way.
  • Of all the problems that the existence of billionaires creates, the biggest is simply the fact that having that much money gives individuals too much power. 
    • ure, you, the average person, might get drunk and dream about buying up an entire town’s worth of land to build your exclusive treehouse survivalist kingdom, but you don’t have the means to actually do it. And that is a good thing. When society allows people to get 10-figure net worths, all of the most idiotic fever dreams of the human mind begin springing into reality.
  • That is not progress. Capitalism’s tendency to grant godlike powers to the sort of people that are sociopathic and tasteless enough to accumulate billions of dollars is one of its most embarrassing flaws.
    • But, like Ozymandias, Mark Zuckerberg may one day learn the hard way that all of his planning to elevate himself above the risks of the mortal world has been for naught. If the apocalypse does come, hurling us all into a state of nature, the first thing that is going to lose all of its value is money.
  • The security guards that you hired to protect you are going to think more about protecting themselves. The construction workers who built your compound will know where all the food is hidden. The mighty billionaire boss will inevitably find that no pile of gold is high enough to keep away fate.
  • Should have been a socialist, Mark. If the worst happens, then at least you would have had some comrades who you wouldn’t need to pay to watch your back.


Mark Zuckerberg Is Reportedly Building an Underground Bunker in Hawaii 

  • [Hook]
  • Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, co-founder and co-CEO of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, plan to build a 5,000-square-foot underground shelter on their Hawaii ranch with its own energy and food supplies, according to a Wired investigation published earlier this month.
    • The plan is that the shelter’s door will be made of metal and filled in with concrete—common in bunkers and bomb shelters, the news outlet reported in its extensive article citing planning documents and interviews.
  • The bunker-like construction is just one part of the sprawling 1,400-acre compound, named Ko’olau Ranch, on the island of Kauai.
    • Planning documents obtained by Wired show the partially-completed compound is set to include more than a dozen buildings with at least 30 bedrooms and 30 bathrooms, including two stand-alone mansions. There are also plans for 11 treehouses, as well as a fitness center, guest houses and operations buildings.
  • It was not clear from reports of planning documents what the intent of the underground shelter is. In response to questions from TIME about the project and the purpose of the bunker, Brandi Hoffine Barr, a spokesperson for Zuckerberg and Chan, noted that Kauai County encourages homeowners to build shelters. The county started offering residents a tax break for building hurricane-resistant safe rooms two decades ago.
  • Silicon Valley’s elite have been buying up property and trying to build bunkers for years, The Guardian has reported. 
  • Whatever the purpose, the cost to build the new Zuckerberg-Chan compound is expensive––along with the land, it is pegged at upwards of $270 million, Wired reported. Construction and other workers on the property were reportedly made to sign strict non-disclosure agreements, according to the news outlet. In an emailed response to TIME, Hoffine Barr did not address a question about NDAs.


Why are more and more billionaires building luxury bunkers?  

  • [Hook]
  • Recently, the US edition of Wired published an investigation into the new residence of Mark Zuckerberg on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, valued at over $200 million.
    • The residence, still under construction, spans an area of over 5,000 square meters and consists of two villas, various buildings, and a large structure that will house a gym, a pool, and a tennis court, among other amenities.
    • According to Wired, which spoke with a spokesperson for Meta's CEO, there is also a proper bunker, connected to the main residence through an underground tunnel.
    • The shelter will feature soundproof walls, internal elevators, reinforced doors, water reserves, and more. In addition, there are autonomous systems for electricity generation, as well as an extensive network of surveillance cameras.
      • . The investigation reveals that very few people authorized to speak about the project, as almost all workers involved were asked to sign confidentiality agreements: "It's like 'Fight Club': we can't talk about it," reported a source who worked on the project to Wired. 
      • At least one employee is said to have been fired for sharing a photo of the ongoing work on Snapchat. 
      • There have also been numerous discussions about the environmental impact of the residence – even the island's residents have expressed their dissent regarding Zuckerberg's operation.
  • [The luxury bunker biz]
  • Zuckerberg is not the only billionaire to have a bunker built. 
    • Max Levchin, one of the founders of PayPal, stated that about half of those who became wealthy through the new economy have invested in a generic "emergency plan" – to protect themselves in case of wars or revolutions. 
    • The same applies to personalities such as Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, James Cameron, or William Foley, a finance guru. 
  • The construction of underground security shelters is no longer exclusive to heads of state, as was the case in the 20th century. 
    • US entrepreneur Harry Hall, for example, had previously invested in the business of building bunkers for billionaires: his company Survival Condo offers luxury apartments connected to nuclear-war-proof shelters. 
  • The rooms resemble those of luxury hotels: they have wooden finishes, designer furniture, pools, hot tubs, among other things. Screens on the walls allow occupants to see what is happening outside the bunker. Special air filtration systems prevent contamination. Wind turbines and solar panels ensure the supply of electricity, while a space dedicated to plant cultivation and fish farming is intended to provide almost unlimited food. 
    • The bunker is said to have a complete autonomy of five years. The buyer of one of these apartments, worth $1.5 million, told the New York Times that they feel in the most dangerous era in history and wanted to make this investment to protect themselves from nuclear wars or societal collapse. Even Post Malone had invested $3 million in 2019 in building a bunker for his residence in Utah.
  • [no section title]
  • The New Yorker has tried to better understand the potential buyers of these luxury bunkers and, more generally, to understand who the Americans are spending millions of dollars to save themselves from the apocalypse.
    • Being prepared for the potential collapse of society is not considered excessive in the United States. 
  • There is even a term to describe those who stockpile weapons and food in anticipation of this scenario: "prepper", meaning "those who are prepared." 
    •  In recent years, associations or groups of individuals training for a possible apocalypse have multiplied. Until recently, they were not multimillionaires, but rather camping enthusiasts and gun fanatics.
  • However, customers in the luxury bunker market do not belong to this category. They represent a new generation of "preppers" who no longer come from rural America and do not sympathize with extreme right-wing conspiracy theorists. Their real fear, finally, lies not so much in nuclear war or the collapse of society but in a revolt against their economic privileges.


The Super Rich's Secret Doomsday Bunkers

00:09 : 📌Clip: Guy explaining what the elite bunkers are and how they kinda symbolize the billionaire mindset 

00:44 : 📌Explaining the Doug Tresshaw talk with the billionaires and his book 

00:53 : 📌Clip: Doug talking about his experience waiting to give his talk and how it went down 

01:31 : 📌Clip: "Alaska or New Zealand?" Meaning where should they put their bunkers for 'the event'

01:41 : 📌Why New Zealand is an apocalypse escape destination for America's elite and who has bought property there (Peter Thiel)

02:05 : 📌Clip: Doug talking about the questions he was asked by the billionaires about how to handle their plans for the apocalypse 

02:38 : 📌Clip: "The govn's plans to save itself now compete with the plans of the 1%"

02:45 : 📌The Doomsday industry that caters to the mega rich (Billionaire bunker biz)

03:37 : 📌Clip: Explaining how the billionaire's understand that they're 'running out of room' for how they operate their businesses and eventually everything will break down

04:16 : 📌Clip: One of the biggest concerns for these billionaires is protecting themselves from the unruly masses

04:23 : 📌Clip: "The question we spent the majority of our time on was 'how do I maintain control of my security after my money is worthless?"

05:00 : 📌Clip: "Once they start talking in those terms its really easy to puncture a hole in their plan"

05:31 : 📌Clip: "Any monarch that is depending on their military to protect their power ends up in a military coup"

05:59 : 📌Clip: "The most powerful people in the world, they see themselves as incapable of creating a future in which everything is going to be okay"

06:54 : 📌Clip: "They're destroying the whole thing because they can't see a way out"

07:18 : 📌Clip: "Instead of coming out of their mental bunkers and thinking how can I operate in a less destructive way, instead they're just thinking what's my safety plan?


World's top billionaires preparing underground luxury bunkers

00:06 : 📌Clip: News footage talking about the Zuckerberg buker in Hawai 

00:33 : 📌Clip: Touching on how crazy people went during the COVID lockdowns and wondering how long people could last actually underground even in a luxury bunker

00:42 : 📌Clip: "When you have a lot of money, you don't have to be practical" 📌Clip: "What do they know they we don't know? or is it just the natural human nature to try and protect yourself?"

01:00 : 📌Clip: Suggesting that that billionaires are using their million-dollar bunkers as a status symbol these days 

01:24 : 📌Clip: "When you're a billionaire with that much money, you either go up to space or you go down underground"


Inside the Doomsday Bunker for the Super Rich 

00:12 : 📌Clip: Ovwrview of a converted missile silo and describing how it was designed to withstand a 10-ton nuclear warhead

03:29 : 📌Clip: The survival condo and describing what it is 

03:48 : 📌Clip: Exterior of the survival condo 

04:17 : 📌Clip: Guy describing the doors of the bunker and how strong they are 

04:28 : 📌Clip: Interior of the doomsday bunker

05:03 : 📌Clip: Outlining the multiple floors of the bunker and how its designed to survive forever pretty much 

05:38 : 📌Clip: Inside the apartments and showing the fake screen window 

06:49 : 📌Clip: Pool inside the bunker

07:17 : 📌Clip: Rock climbing wall, indoor shooting range, and other random amenities at the complex 

09:03 : 📌Clip: Food being grown at the underground bunkers and showing all the stockpiled foods 

09:35 : 📌Clip: High tech equipment meant to keep the residents alive during the event 

11:23 : 📌Clip: The limit of these luxury bunkers is still only 3 to 5 years 

What do they know? World's billionaires are building bunkers and assembling fortresses outside their mansions 

  • About a third of US citizens admit to prepping, surveys show, but few have the resources today's billionaire bunker-builders have to devote to their own shelters.
    • The world's wealthiest have increasingly spent hundreds of millions on securing underground compounds, private islands and (for the merely rich) 'survival condos.'
  • Late last year it emerged Mark Zuckerberg was building a $100 million hidden fortress buried beneath his Hawaiian island ranch, complete with its own energy and food supplies and blast-resistant doors.
    • Billionaire wellness entrepreneur Frank VanderSloot — Idaho's richest man — recently bought a 2,000-acre ranch south of Zuck's compound for a cool $51 million.
    • And OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman once let slip that he and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel have an 'arrangement' in case the world is ending: If things hit the fan, Altman said in 2016, the pair would lay low at one of Thiel's properties in New Zealand.
  • But where, exactly, are they going to stay? In 2022, a local community council on New Zealand's South Island blocked Thiel's plans to carve his majestic fortified lair into the landscape beside historically protected Lake Wanaka
    • Independent commissioners who visited the proposed site on behalf of the council reported back that Thiel's bunker design would 'substantially detract from the quality and naturalness of the outstanding natural landscape.'
    • 'All members were shocked at the frequency at which substantial parts of the proposal would be in plain and direct view,' they wrote of Thiel's proposal, which would have been nestled close to New Zealand's no less historic Mount Alpha.
      • New Zealand's scenic beauty and island remoteness has made it a popular choice for Silicon Valley elites seeking a natural fortress for the apocalypse — a growing fear given escalating regional wars and the rising heat of climate change.
  • Last year, the nonprofit coalition of physicists and other researchers behind Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists set their Doomsday Clock 90 seconds to midnight: the closest humanity has been to doom in the clock's 76 year history.
    • 'Russia's war on Ukraine has raised profound questions about how states interact, eroding norms of international conduct,' their 2023 Doomsday Clock statement explained.
    • 'And worst of all, Russia's thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons remind the world that escalation of the conflict—by accident, intention, or miscalculation—is a terrible risk.'
  • One of Thiel's PayPal co-founders, Reid Hoffman, told The New Yorker that among the world's wealthiest New Zealand is quietly understood to be the place to hunker down in the event of calamity.
    • 'Saying you're ''buying a house in New Zealand'' is kind of a ''wink, wink, say no more,''' Hoffman said.
  • Rod Drury, the chief executive of the Thiel-backed New Zealand accounting software company Xero, the said American billionaires 'treat New Zealand as a bit of a bolt-hole'.
    • Like Thiel, billionaire Google co-founder Larry Page holds residency in New Zealand after being granted it last year. Entrepreneur Mihai Dinulescu famously left behind a cryptocurrency startup at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and fled to New Zealand with his wife.
  • There are reportedly already bunkers in Hamilton, Hanmer Springs and Wanaka.
  • Technology writer Douglas Rushkoff recently described a secret meeting in the middle of an American desert in which five 'super-wealthy guys' grilled him on how they could better prepare their doomsday bunkers with questions like 'How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?'
    • A host of companies have emerged ready to meet that demand, including Rising S, which says it has built 14 bunkers in New Zealand; the firm Survival Condo, which converts abandoned US missile silos into survivalist underground high-rises; and the Czech based Oppidum, which offers 'ultra-luxury' bunkers for billionaires anywhere in the world.
  • More and more uber-wealthy people have been buying islands — or at least big chunks of them — in recent years. 
    • Richard Branson and Johnny Depp top listicles about privately owned islands, along with wealthy families like the DuPonts and Disneys.
    • Some are even paying top dollar to become citizens in different countries. So-called 'golden visas' effectively allow wealthy people to gain residence — and even citizenship — in foreign countries in exchange for cold, hard cash. 

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