Encouraging billionaires to have a space race and idolising them for it and accepting their “we are all one family in this together” narrative is a really bad idea. It diverts the attention of extremely powerful people away from solving real world problems and towards a totally selfish distraction which creates a giant void of meaningful action.
Developing commercial space flights as a jolly experience rather than saving and protecting the Earth as a paradise is outrageous in its banal triviality. It’s a hobby project, an ambition, a personal goal. I have nothing against people becoming wealthy, but with that wealth comes responsibility, an obligation even.
Quite literally, Richard Branson can choose any projects he likes. He could create and fund the equivalent of the NHS in a country that lacks free basic health care, transforming millions of lives and erasing suffering at monumental scale.
He could direct the energy of thousands of people and billions of pounds to ocean restoration. He could do anything. And he’s choosing to focus on playing at spaceships. It’s dire. It’s beyond tragic. Has he lost his social conscience? Has he forgotten what’s important?
When people become billionaires they could join together to heal the world. This would set the example to everyone on Earth that this is what wealth is for, massive humanitarian and environmental impacts. It defines the game, and it is a game, at that level. Millionaires competing to do good. Billionaires competing to transform countries with their philanthropy.
Amazon could literally buy the Amazon and protect it. The examples they set define ambition, demonstrate success, and inspire millions of others to emulate. They are leaders, and they are abusing that power. They’re demonstrating that massive wealth is a play thing, with no purpose and obligation beyond pursuing one’s own personal selfish motives and ambitions.
And when they do this, as they are doing, with a ‘space race’, they set the tone of selfishness for everyone else on Earth. Governments can ignore the climate crisis, because the rich and powerful ignore it. If Richard Branson doesn’t care, why should they? Why should anyone?
If Jeff Bezos would rather spend $5bn on space rockets than on saving the planet, why should anyone else make an effort? How can anyone else even care? Clearly those with huge power and influence are just going to ignore it, because it doesn’t directly impact them. What does that say of these people?
It says this: they value their amusement above your life, above the life of your children, and above the value of life itself. Their choices and actions are their words, spoken clearly for all to hear. They do not care.
Going into space is fun for them, whilst people starve, disease rampages, oceans die, and forests burn. Do not encourage those with the ability to make real change to amuse themselves with literal flights of fancy.
It’s 100 per cent the opposite of what the world needs, it’s catastrophic self interest in action. If it has any value it’s as a very literal and obvious anti-example. Don’t buy their positive impact ‘one family’ BS spin. It’s personal ambition, nothing more. And they value it higher than your actual life, than the oceans, than the rainforests, than life on Earth. They are not heroes, not role models, and not to be encouraged.
Bird Lovegod is an independent fintech consultant
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