Bill Gates had a lot to say about Elon Musk’s and Jeff Bezos’ goals of getting humanity to space. Bezos and Musk differ vastly on their goals. Elon Musk wants to preserve the light of consciousness while Bezos seems keen on just getting to space for the heck of it. That aside, Bill Gates doesn’t seem to approve. I have some thoughts on this that I will get into momentarily, but first some background for context.
In an interview with Bloomberg’s Emily Chang earlier this year, Gates admitted his regrets for not being on the long side of Tesla while pointing out that he helped buy Teslas for a lot of his relatives. Although he has positive thoughts, he still shorted Tesla — betting against its success in the stock markets.
When Business Insider’s James Corden asked Gates about Musk and Bezos’ interest in space, he said,
“I don’t know — I’ve become obsessed with things like Malaria and HIV and getting rid of those diseases, and I probably bore people at cocktail parties talking about disease.”
“Space? We have a lot to do here on Earth.”
It should be noted that Gates’ comment took place after SpaceX made history with Inspiration4, which was the world’s first all-civilian mission to orbit. Although Bezos and Richard Branson flew their private jets into space for mere moments, SpaceX is focused on making it possible for average people like us to go to space one day.
Tesla, which started out as an automaker, is the loudest voice for sustainability and is advocating awareness about climate change. Betting on its failure, to me, seems as if one really doesn’t care about the mission.
I agree with Bill Gates on the point we do have a lot of issues on Earth to solve. However, that doesn’t mean that Elon Musk, Bezos, and Branson are wrong for following their dreams, too. Why can’t we do both? Why can’t we solve problems here on Earth while also making humanity multi-planetary?
While many people may joke about the billionaire space race, I see it as innovation–especially when Elon Musk is involved. Elon has a gift for energizing any industry or space he touches and this is a good thing. And by energizing, I mean that he motivates those in that industry or space to think creatively. Tesla and the automotive industry is an excellent example of this. Sadly, Gates and many other critics of Elon shorted the stock during the hard times in an attempt to make profits on a company failing — which it didn’t, in the end. I don’t know how much Gates made or lost in total, but criticizing Elon Musk for his work with SpaceX on the points of “we have a lot on Earth to work on” while using shorting Tesla’s stock seems a bit hypocritical.
I think that the idea that Elon Musk doesn’t care about humanity or issues on earth is heavily scripted and marketed by the mainstream media industry, which amplifies far-left politicians who think Elon should give all of his wealth away. Observer noted that a report by ProPublica claimed that Elon Musk, who is worth $152 billion, paid less than $70,000 in federal income tax in 2014 and 2017. Elon wasn’t worth $152 billion in 2015 or 2017. They don’t tell you that part, and this is what I mean by heavily scripted. Another thing that the politicians who want Elon’s wealth to be taxed don’t mention is that his wealth is on paper. It’s not a cash value. He can’t just go to the bank and withdraw $152 billion. He would have to sell the stocks in his companies, which is where the bulk of the wealth comes from.
And, yes, it would hurt Tesla’s stance in the stock market. If Elon Musk sold all of his Tesla shares, Tesla could be harmed financially.
So, yes, I agree with Bill Gates on the fact that we do have work to do here on Earth. There are people starving, people living without electricity — hell, even America is a third-world country in some parts. We have a homelessness situation here that is compounded with drug addiction, PSTD, and trauma — yet our leaders do nothing but blame one another. “It’s the Dems’ fault. It’s Conservatives.” And while blaming one another and playing political games, people still have to survive.
So, when you have someone like Elon Musk using his wealth to build his dreams and inspire others, he is painted as a villain. I’ll leave you with some wise words he said in the Netflix documentary about Inspiration4.
“I think we should spend the vast majority of our resources solving problems on Earth. Like, 99% plus of our economy should be dedicated to solving problems on Earth.”
“But I think maybe something like 1%, or less than 1%, could be applied to extending life beyond Earth.”