This is advice worth millions of dollars and yet highly generalized and evidenced all around us. For timeless reasons, some of the most wealthy and some of the most paranoid or astute (not mutually exclusive terms) are investing in property partly underground.
In traveling in the US, Iceland, and British Isles the last few weeks I have been watching for trends but also historical wisdom, and something that stands out is that partly underground homes resurface throughout history such as with Cappadocia homes and cities dating back 3,500 years, and we’re seeing the emergence of this again with emergency underground bunkers for millionaires. The reasons for going underground were anything from not having the technology, knowledge, or resources to build structures, to hiding in a time of war, to more speculative reasons such as hiding from aliens or in preparation for the end of the world above ground.
For those that don’t have millions of dollars, who want to live above ground, or want the
ability to move in a hurry and not lose too much, at the British Museum a few weeks ago, I was reminded of earlier forms of habitation where the thatch cottage was not a quaint novelty but rather a home that could be produced locally and without a ton of sophistication. I think that the ideal for survival, comfort, and cost effectiveness in the next century may be a combination of these two strategies once one is able to invest in property.
We do not know for sure what the future holds and so it is never a good idea to invest extreme capital outlays in planning for things that may never come, but it if you do have extra money to work with or have other means of spreading your resources to cover a variety of future scenarios, there are some important things to consider when it comes to both underground homes and forms of habitation that you can build yourself:
- there may be tax advantages to building underground or with a roundhouse/thatch house, or one that does not have a conventional foundation
- with a roundhouse or thatch house you can often source the materials locally and build yourself for nominal costs. One must be wary of and adhere to local building codes though, of course
- in the event of severe climate change, both housing structures have better heating and cooling stability features that would also be assets in an energy crisis
- as central control of nations worldwide collapses and the rule of law may come into question, with an underground home you can sometimes escape detection. With a thatch or roundhouse home you can have less invested in property and have the ability to more easily cut your losses and flee in the remote possibility this becomes a necessity
- the roundhouse/thatch home option may eliminate the need to secure external financing to get a home
- in more peaceful times and assuming that an abstract finance-oriented economy continues, you have a novelty property that could be used as rental income like with Airbnb
It is my belief that for a variety of reasons we have been in a time of financial instability and we have actually passed peak energy, but a combination of subsidies and other costuming are designed to keep the post-war order in place. Two books from the innovative and prescient New Society Publishers, Dark Age America by John Michael Greer and Shrinking the Technosphere by Dmitry Orlov, while I agree with neither in their entirety, have opened my eyes to the possibility that even a world of wind farms and solar panels still may be out of reach given the levels of resource extraction necessary to transfer to these forms of energy harvesting. I continue to maintain that the most dynamic formula for success is to access the funds still available from globalization while purchasing slowly and affordably but decisively into land resources on a small scale to ensure you have a non-urban power base to shelter in during disruptions of energy and food availability. We need only to look at historical modalities of living to see what has held up and what kinds of emergency structures come about in unstable times and settings. By all means we must also enjoy the variety and convenience that dynamic and successful distribution channels in globalization offer us now and we must with joy connect with friends and share these resources both material and informational in this age.