Oddly Enough, Luxury Bunkers Are A Thriving Market for the Wealthy

Did you know that doomsday bunkers are a thriving market? One of the most spooky aspects of being human is that human beings can undoubtedly adapt to the most abnormal circumstances. There exists the concept of the Overton window, which is how we evaluate how extreme our poliFcies and circumstances are on the spectrum of what we find acceptable.

Time has shown us that no matter how extreme things get (political or otherwise), if we’re exposed to circumstances for long enough, we will become accustomed. This begs the question of how much of what we consider normal is absolutely unacceptable.

Many of us have gotten strangely used to the state of emergency that is COVID. We have adjusted to the unethical and extreme institutions that exist today. We have adjusted to the declaration of Monkeypox as a global emergency as though it’s just another day.

Though health services have become overwhelmed, we have learned to just… keep on with our daily lives and the challenges that come with it as though this has become our norm.

This feeling of normalcy, even amidst the backdrop of a “hypothetical” apocalypse, is something that bunker companies are striving to create. Yes, you read that right. Luxury bunkers are for sale, have been for a while, and they want you to feel at home in them–assuming you have at least $1m.

It should come as no surprise that bunkers are re-emerging as a commonplace purchase for the super wealthy and bunker businesses around the world seem to be doing quite well.

To fulfill this demand, numerous companies around the world have emerged to provide for the needs of any billionaire celebrity who is cynical enough to invest–which is shockingly quite a few… but only for a hefty price. Are you weirded out yet? Don’t worry, psychology says that you’ll get used to it eventually.

Regardless of how extreme and chaotic the world’s circumstances become, bunker companies are capitalizing on the disparities of the world and celebrities are actually cashing in their coins.

Rumors of Kanye and Kim buying a nuclear bunker surfaced in 2018 when Clyde Scott , originally a builder of storm shelters, turned his business into a multimillion bunker shelter company for people afraid of Trump’s presidency. See this CNBC article for more.

In 2021 (post-break-up) Kanye West actually had Tadao Ando design a home in the style of a military bunker in Japan by the beach. Interesting style choice, Ye– thought this was most likely satisfying his penchant for style.

Speaking of style: according to CNN Style, Bill Gates is “rumored to have bunkers at all of his properties”. Among the celebrity and billionaire population, it seems that bunkers are high in demand and there are even bunker providers that are thriving off of this industry which became even more booming during the onset of COVID.

Rumors of Mark Zuckerberg’s bunker building also were floated in 2016 and in more recent news, CNN published an article in 2020 about how Queenstown, New Zealand has a secretly thriving bunker economy. Gary Lynch, general manager at bunker company, Rising S, was interviewed and expressed plans to continue selling shelters to New Zealand.

Even Peter Thiel was featured in an article by The Guardian for his alleged bunker building plans in New Zealand.

Rising S, the company that’s obliged to take up the cause, is certainly not the only business to capitalize on the doomsday interest of celebrities around the world. Many others have jumped to fill the increasing demand with their own blueprints and state-of-the-art facilities.

The Luxury Survival Condo Project in Kansas is building what arguably could be a city underground. 200 feet below Kansas and marketed to only the wealthiest of the wealthy is a survival bunker, complete with food supplies, condos, pools, groceries, and even rifle ranges. The flats range from $1-4.5 million.

German bunker business, Vivo markets itself as humanity’s “back-up plan” while also operating with an “invitation only” approach to whom has the privilege of moving into their bunkers. Yikes.

Many other celebrities have been rumored to be building (or at least buying) bunkers below ground. All the while, even more bunker companies have thrown their names into the hat to be shuffled and plucked for the cause.

This begs the question, if you have the capital to construct or purchase a doomsday bunker, why not invest in preventative measures to keep hypothetical doomsday from happening.

Who would’ve thought that both Hollywood and Silicon Valley could be so weirdly divided into the rich people who stock up on toilet paper to take with them underground, the rich who are blissfully unaware, and then those who dedicate their platforms to a cause beyond their own prerogative.

Sean Penn used his celebrity to make testing more accessible to the public at the onset of COVID. Angelina Jolie went as far as to pause her entire acting career to serve as the Special Envoy for UNHCR and the UN Refugee Agency as well as be a part of the response to domestic turmoil in Yemen.

Leonardo Di Caprio has been well-known for his climate change efforts since the age of 24, even earning the title of UN Messenger of Peace for Climate Change in 2014. Pharrell Williams founded the company, Bionic, to repurpose found plastic into yarn. Gina Rodriguez created Naja to empower South American garment workers.

The list goes on. We all are privy to how people with money can do quite a bit and use the dividends they bring in with what they do to have an even further reach… this is the story of social entrepreneurship and enterprise–the intersection of the business and non-profit sectors.

Still, we’re strangely living in the age of Elon Musk’s SpaceX Mars colonization project, Bin Salman’s construction of The Line, and the motley of billionaires burrowing 200 feet below the ground to hide in luxury movie theatres and swimming pools.

Curious, indeed.

While bunkers seem like they’ll likely grow in popularity among the rich, celebrity interest in them is quite chilling and speaks to the unsustainable and capitalist nature of consumerism, which is at the crux of many of our socio-political and humanitarian crises to-date.

What would the world be if more celebrities felt a greater incentive to put capital where it’s actually needed? Although the engineers, scientists, psychologists and architects enlisted in these bunker projects are working to help the wealthy adapt to the Overton window being in the “policies failed us so now there’s an apocalypse” part of the “spectrum” by making the world underground as “normal-feeling” as possible, accessibility to the working class does not seem to be factored in.

Life in the confines of a luxury bunker, while safe from whatever impending doom billionaires are forecasting, could never encapsulate what it is now. No matter how many facilities are installed, if there exists a doomsday in the future, the wealthy that poured billions of chips into hiding in them will forever be forced to live with the failed promise of what could’ve been had there been a greater incentive to allocate their money in the restoration and protection of the all the communities, amenities, and wildlife that makes our world so exciting, diverse, and beautiful.

Given what $1m can do, one must ask, is putting several million down on a house-sized vault really the type of investment that anyone should be considering?

Madrid-based traveler, visual and performing artist, and content writer.

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