The reality is the thing called prepping today is nothing more than what my depression era parents did, and their parents did, and their parents before them did. They did it through gardening, canning, drying fruits and vegetables, having a root cellar, and putting away food for a rainy day or just for everyday use over the winter months.
The reality is much of society today works and lives on the same type of supply that many industries do. Never have more supplies on hand for more than a few days because all it does is add to cost and mean you have to have a means to store it. The problem always coming in that when the supply chain breaks down, whether through natural disaster, civil unrest, or perhaps a truck driver's strike, that last minute supply system falls into chaos.
It is true that much of history is just a big circle replaying the same thing over and over and the prepper craze is a realization that in the end we have to count on ourselves in troubled times.