People often associate the phrase ‘doomsday preppers’ with eccentric individuals like Kaczynski who live off-grid in the woods; however, preppers can come from any walk of life and come from every background.
Preppers prepare for manmade and natural disasters of various sorts ranging from nuclear bombing to zombie invasion by stockpiling supplies, training for survival skills and creating shelters underground.
1. 1.1 percent of the US population
Doomsday preppers — sometimes known as survivalists — spend billions stockpiling food, water, power systems, self-defense weapons and bunkers in anticipation of natural or financial disaster that may bring down society and disrupt transportation and communications systems.
Preppers spend $11 billion annually on emergency preparation, according to a survey by Finder. Preppers primarily invest in essential items like food and water. Potassium iodide tablets have also proven popular as protection from radiation poisoning in case of nuclear catastrophe.
While many stereotype preppers as hardline conservatives, data shows they tend to be more liberal than average. A breakdown by state shows they tend to live in blue states rather than red ones.
2. 1.7 percent of the UK population
Prepping is becoming an increasingly widespread trend in the UK, with people stockpiling food, weapons and other necessities in preparation for global pandemic or disaster scenarios. This differs from survivalist movements which focus on adapting to societal collapse.
Prepping has long been associated with conspiracy theories and doomsday scenarios. This has given rise to negative connotations around preppers as being paranoid and unaffordable.
Preppers rely on careful planning and streamlining their life-saving stockpiles in order to stay safe, fearing what may lie ahead but trusting that their preparations will help them survive. This paper asserts that subterranean politics of temporal resurrection is at the core of these prepping activities – this enables preppers to render incalculable fear calculable while making it legible from inside their bunkers.
3. 3.2 percent of the French population
Survivalists is an American television series and numerous articles have fueled interest in bunkers as people prepare for disaster and protect themselves against what might come their way – both are seen as factors. But prepping is more than simply getting prepared; it is about guarding oneself against what lies beyond.
These individuals tend to distrust institutions, frown upon consumer-focused technologies like smartphones and invest in traditional skills like gardening. Furthermore, these people can often be found lending a helping hand during common situations like electricity cuts or council water repairs.
But they do believe that social supply systems are so tenuous that violence will likely break out shortly after any disaster, leading many to keep their bunkers and supplies hidden from view.
4. 4.5 percent of the German population
Preppers typically stockpile electric generators and months or years worth of food in preparation for an impending social breakdown or environmental catastrophe; others prepare for war with North Korea; still others have more specialized concerns related to an apocalyptic religious faith.
Schneider, 37, doesn’t use prepper terminology but her obsessive preoccupation with supply lines and piles of books about crisis preparation mark her as one of their own. While Schneider doesn’t know exactly what form an apocalypse will take, she regularly reads news reports in order to monitor inflationary pressures or disruptions to supply chains that might signal its approaching.
She’s particularly concerned about the collapse of civil government, believing that without strong institutions life will become brutal and short. Preppers tend to view human nature with distrust.
5. 5.5 percent of the Japanese population
Some prepper are even buying $19,000 bomb shelters in order to protect themselves against what they fear might be an attack from the United States on Japan, though an increasing number of “elites,” including CEO’s of major US and global companies are prepping.
Most preppers keep their preparations secret to preserve anonymity and avoid judgment by those who might perceive their preparations as crazy. Furthermore, many feel that society’s supply chains are so fragile that violence may break out following any disaster and they hope being prepared can protect them from violence.
Thinking like this reflects Thomas Hobbes’ assumption hundreds of years ago: that in the absence of some overarching governing institution life will be cruel, brutish and short. And it can quickly spread, as demonstrated by shows like Doomsday Preppers.