Marc Faber, aka Dr. Doom, is a man who correctly predicted the 1987 stock market crash as well as the recent economic crisis. He’s not always been right, but his record of accuracy is strong enough for his next prediction to have people literally running for the hills.
“The next war,” he says, “will be a dirty war. What are you going to do when your mobile phone gets shut down or the internet stops working or the city water supplies get poisoned?”
To prepare for this, he advises the wealthy to buy farmland and gold. Gold because it is an asset of real and fairly consistent value, unlike “money” which can be deleted from a computer or at least be subject to hyperinflation (which will occur within a decade, according to Faber). Purchasing farmland will be wise, he says, because most of the violence and carnage will happen in urban areas, so the more remote and self-sufficient you are, the better.
This nudge is in the direction of something called survivalism. Hints of it are touching mainstream awareness via people like Dr. Doom, but this is just a spike in a growing trend.
A growing number of people are preparing for the end of the world as we know it, ready to flee into the forest at a moment’s notice. Most of these survivalists have a somewhat Hobbesian view of humanity; when government is removed we will live in a world “red in tooth and claw”, and so in order to be prepared, you will need to protect yourself from other survivors trying to take what you have, as well as everything else. This view was once regarded as a preserve of a few “the end is nigh” types, but these days the brightest and wealthiest are beginning to feel like maybe those crazies aren’t so crazy, and are preparing for the poo-and-fan situation in their own ways.
Most start by making a BOB (Bug Out Bag), a rucksack filled with everything they need to survive alone for at least three days. Some progress to also making an INCH (I’m Not Coming Home) supply. Others bury caches of clothing and equipment in the remote areas they would plan to escape to in the event of a war, plague or zombie apolcalypse.
How far you can go with this partly depends on how much money you have. Some reports suggest the the Walton family, (the folks behind Wal-Mart) have their own private bunker, complete with helicopter and vast amounts of food, supplies and weaponry. Just in case.
People who previously dismissed the idea that we are balanced on a knife-edge are slowly being convinced by news reports of superbugs, economic meltdowns and hostile countries gaining nuclear capability. And let’s not forget the infamous year of 2012. Most people in the UK know it as the year of the London Olympic Games. But many people, thanks to the Mayan calendar, believe it to be the year of the aforementioned poo-fan collision. The internet is peppered with survivalist blogs and instructional videos describing everything from building a shelter to military defence methods. The book “Emergency” by Neil Strauss observes a cross section of those who choose to be prepared, from gun-collecting rednecks to island-owning billionaires.
Fortunately, humanity is good at adapting to change and has always managed to muddle along, despite having teetered on the brink of nuclear holocaust, global pandemic and economic meltdown at various times throughout history. Our track record will help us to remain positive, but you’ll be squarely accused of denial by those who recite the survivalist mantra, “It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when”.