Millions of people across the country and throughout the world believe that there will come a day when man will be forced to return to his primal state to survive. A significant amount of them, called preppers, spend years getting ready for such an event, whether that means building an underground bunker, building an arsenal of firearms or simply stocking up on food. But prepping isn’t an activity that is unique to lower and middle-class Americans; indeed, it turns out that even the wealthy may be bracing themselves for life off the grid.
In an interview with the New Yorker earlier this year, Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, estimated that more than half of Silicon Valley billionaires have begun the process of preparing for a catastrophic doomsday event. Additionally, an article for Business Insider suggested that the wealthy are purchasing large portions of land in states such as Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. These states have the ideal climate for farming and surviving off the land, making them the perfect locations to escape to in the event that society collapses.
Although none of the billionaires mentioned explicitly said that they were buying land in preparation for the end of the world, the article pointed out that many of them have motorcycles, weaponry, generators, and private planes “ready to depart at a moment’s notice.”
One of the nation’s wealthiest individuals also happens to be the nation’s biggest individual landowner. John Malone, who became rich because of his work in cable and communications, currently owns 2.2 million acres of land across six states, including Maine and New Hampshire. But Malone has yet to admit that the land grabs are in any way related to doomsday preparations; rather, the billionaire described the purchase of land as an investment, as well as an opportunity to fish and occasionally hunt.
The second biggest individual landowner in the United States is none other than Ted Turner, who currently owns 2 million acres across Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico and South Dakota.
Other notable billionaire landowners include Philip Anschutz with 434,000 acres in Wyoming, Jeff Bezos of Amazon with 400,000 acres in Texas, and Stan Kroenke, the owner of a massive sports and entertainment company, with 225,000 acres in Montana.
Without question, the super wealthy are best prepared for a doomsday event when it comes to having land to escape to. But simply having millions of acres of land doesn’t necessarily mean you have the skills and characteristics needed to live a successful life off the grid. The truth is, no amount of land ownership could teach someone how to hunt for food or to determine which plants are okay to eat and which ones are not. Land ownership doesn’t mean you possess the leadership skills needed to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, nor does it mean you know how to be self-sufficient and fix things that are broken, such as vehicles or generators. Having money may help you acquire land, but it can’t help you become a truly knowledgeable survivalist.
It would be unwise to look at the copious amounts of land being purchased by the wealthy and use that as proof that doomsday is right around the corner. There are other events that can be used as evidence that our society is slowly beginning to circle the drain, such as the growing division between black and white Americans and the normalization of riots on college campuses. Prepping is definitely a good idea, but it is important to keep in mind that simply acquiring land is just the beginning.