The Doom Industry

Tim Murphy covers "preppers":

Humans have been preparing for the worst for millennia, but modern Americans have turned it into an art form. At the dawn of the Atomic Age, suburbanites scrambled to build backyard shelters and the government stockpiled food in anticipation of the day after. The spiraling inflation of the 1970s brought with it a spike in gold sales and backwoods land purchases. During the Clinton years, camo-clad survivalists prepared for the black-helicopter invasion, and Y2K briefly made prepperism mainstream. But perhaps the best salesman for the notion that we're on the verge of financial, technological, and political collapse has been the current occupant of the Oval Office. [self-reliance guru James Talmage] Stevens says of the president, "He is the leading promoter of this without even knowing it."

Relatedly, Chadwick Matlin profiles Tim Ralston, "apocalypse salesman of the year":

The Crovel ($109.99) was conceived as a survival tool for the mashup age, a Swiss Army cudgel that could make Switzerland seem fearsome: half-crowbar, half-shovel, all testosterone. But as the device has gotten more profitable, it has also gotten more violent. There are now 11 other tools packed in there: axe and saw blades on opposite sides of the shovelhead, a hammer, “zombie spikes,” the usual. What began as a utility is now a weapon.