Playboy has an article on the ongoing fascination apocaphiles have with global collapse / transformation in 2012 - APOCALYPSE 2012.
Displayed on Pace’s dining room table is a collection of weapons: an assault rifle, a shotgun, numerous handguns, hunting knives and enough ammo to start a small war. Alongside the arms are gas masks, antiradiation pills and about $10,000 worth of gold and silver. The gold and silver will come in handy when paper money becomes worthless, which it already has, according to Pace. It’s just that people don’t know it yet. Don’t call him a survivalist, though: “To me a survivalist is some white supremacist living up in the mountains somewhere. I’m not a survivalist. I’m a preparer.”
And there’s a lot to prepare for, according to Pace, who anticipates a world in the not too distant future where "you’ll need a wheelbarrow full of dollars to buy a loaf of bread, just like in Zimbabwe.” Catastrophic climate change will have swamped the coastal cities. (“You’ll want to be at least 300 feet above sea level.”) Law and order will have broken down. (“You’ll want to stay away from the population centers to avoid the mobs.”) And food will be scarce. (“If we have a major crop failure, millions of people will starve.”) But what Pace fears most is a terrorist nuke that could destroy America’s electrical grid: “If they really wanted to disrupt America, an airburst nuke would provide an electromagnetic pulse 300 miles wide that would probably cascade the rest of the system. Without electricity we’ve really got a problem.”
Whatever happens, Pace intends to be ready. “In my opinion 2012 is the year of collapse,” he says. “The perfect storm approaching is a conglomeration of crescendos. The financial collapse, political corruption, natural disaster, terrorism and resource scarcity will culminate in wars and revolution.”
Pace is not alone. In the past few years a growing number of citizens across the globe—survivalists, conspiracy theorists, alternative religion seekers, former military officers, UFO buffs, hard-core Bible-thumpers, ordinary housewives who,post-Katrina, don’t trust the government to save their loved ones if a disaster occurs—have become fixated on December 21, 2012 as EOTWAWKI (“end of the world as we know it”). The Mayan long-count calendar supposedly predicts 2012 as the year in which a 5,000-year cycle of civilization will come to an abrupt halt. The Mayan civilization, a sophisticated culture of temples and cities that flourished in what is now Mexico, mysteriously collapsed around the ninth century. The Mayans have been a source of fascination for spiritual Western tourists since the Beats, particularly William Burroughs, who peppered his novels with references to Mayan timekeeping. The idea that Mayans predicted the world would end in 2012 has been around since at least the 1980s, when writer and 2012 guru José Argüelles popularized the concept with his book The Mayan Factor.
For any number of reasons the 2012 meme has caught on. The media, in documentaries such as Disinfo.com’s 2012: Science or Superstition and books such as Daniel Pinchbeck’s 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, have endlessly chronicled the movement and what to expect. Pinchbeck perhaps more than anyone else has become the great—and most controversial—advocate for a transformational 2012. Apocalypse fever is set to hit multiplexes with the November release of Roland Emmerich’s big-budget Hollywood dystopian disaster movie 2012, starring John Cusack and Amanda Peet.
A cottage industry of small companies that supply products to 2012ers is now thriving, offering everything from bullets to backup generators to full-size bunkers (such as a $36,000 six-person bargain-basement underground bomb shelter, complete with a nuclear, biological and chemical filtering system, which a Virginia Beach company called Hardened Structures offers to deliver and install anywhere in the U.S.). In May the Associated Press reported that suppliers of survivalist gear and military surplus stores nationwide had seen as much as a 50 percent rise in business in recent months. One survivalist told the AP that the website of his consulting business—which teaches newcomers emergency preparedness—had seen a threefold increase in traffic in the past 14 months. ...
The 2012 movement would be easy to dismiss as pseudo-mystical mumbo jumbo if it weren’t for the disturbing real-world trends that inform the less fanciful predictions of bad times ahead: catastrophic climate change, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, financial collapse, swine flu, peak oil, peak food. This is the everyday fodder of CNN and Newsweek, not science fiction or religious fantasy. Home prices have declined almost 33 percent since their peak in 2006, and the unemployment rate in America is the worst it has been since 1983. When you add the specter of nuclear-armed religious fanatics, who wouldn’t be a bit anxious about what’s coming down the cosmic sewer pipe?