Jess Zimmerman on hidden (space)agendas:
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is the latest tech billionaire to invest his money in spaceships: on Tuesday, he debuted his space travel company Blue Origin’s newest rocket.
Well, hurrah, right? Who doesn’t love spaceships?
Why does everyone who achieves economic dominance over the planet immediately turn around and try to get off it?
Hmm, maybe to get away from the perpetual whining of the social justice warriors?
Of course, uber-wealthy tech entrepreneurs aren’t just buying rockets for their personal amusement. They’re founding or investing in space travel – they want to get you off-planet, too. Well, not you-you, but someone like you with much, much, much more money.
And that’s where the vogue for billionaire space travel magnates gets a little weird –and maybe even sinister. It’s already very true that money expands your world; the person with the funds to have a car is less restricted in her movements than the person without one, and the person with a huge plane and the money to fly it is less restricted still.
I can’t see what’s ‘sinister’ about the concept that someone who’s richer than will enjoy a more lavish lifestyle, frankly. I thought it was rather the point of becoming rich.
Companies like Blue Origin are using money and resources to push outwards, to expand the worlds of their rich customers all the way into space. But those same customers – and some of the owners – are making their terrestrial money in the classic capitalist terrestrial way: by working around any obstacle to profit, including environmental regulations and conservation efforts. Almost all industry is environmentally disastrous, after all; truly prioritizing earth-friendliness would destroy most companies.
Gosh, it almost looks as if you’re gearing up to feverishly declare that they are planning to wreck the planet and then leave…
Which raises the question: are they just gearing up to wash their hands of the planet and leave the rest of us to clean up?
Oh. That is, indeed, what you were doing.
If the name of this cuckoo-bird sounds familiar, well, it should.