Billionaire Space Race

Once upon a time, there were two billionaires who outsiders might say seem to be a bit bored. Both of them, probably unbeknownst to the other at the time, decide a trip to space sounds like a great idea. They probably thought alongside the lines of, “I’ve got the money, and the time, plus think of all the publicity I will get, de facto, my company will also get.”

So, they both announce their plans at, for all practical purposes, the same time.

The media picks up on it and calls it a race to space. Who will be the first American billionaire to make the trip. Will it be the head of Amazon? Or will it be the head of Virgin Atlantic (we learned today this guy won)? The head of Virgin says something to the effect of, it isn’t really a race, he never really thought about it as beating the head of Amazon in to space. We, of course, are supposed to believe him.

What I find a little obscene is the amount of money each of these two men are spending to go into space! If I remember correctly, it is at least $20 million dollars. Because they are so rich, $20 million doesn’t really register since that amounts to roughly 0.0033333% of one man’s net worth, the other amounts to roughly, 0.0001526% of the other man’s net worth. Neither will miss this pittance amount.

What I also find obscene is how the press is fawning over the two of these billionaires in their race to space! Story after story about these them and their quest to basically be the first American private citizen to enter space, or rather the first American private company to take passengers into space. They want to make space travel affordable, you know at $200-$250 thousand dollars a pop (we can all afford that, right?)

I’m not quite sure why the stories aren’t about how much good that $40 million could do for those of a lesser means. How many homeless shelters could be financed. How many low income houses it could build. How many families with food scarcity could be fed. How many wells could be dug. How many college tuitions could be paid. How many medical bills could be covered. How many, well, you get the picture.

Why are these two men being glorified for a trip into space that will last an extremely short time? Why are they not being made out to be pariahs in the use of these funds?

Then again, why aren’t all billionaires made out a pariahs in the greater scheme of things. I know there are a few billionaires who work to do good, such as Gates and Buffet. Unfortunately, they are far and few between.

If the 400 U.S. men and women who have a net worth of greater $2 billion dollars, used just $1 billion to help improve the plight of their fellow U.S. citizens, what a great difference they would make. lf the over 2,000 billionaires in the world gave $1 billion (which is $2,000,000,000,000, or $2 trillion—and that’s only $1 billion apiece; think of the possibilities if all the billionaires use just half of their net worth for good), to improve the plight of the world, what a much better place we would all live in—lower health costs, lower housing costs, just about all children could have quality day care services, schools would be in state-of-the-art learning centers, fewer people on public assistance, and so on.

I don’t understand billionaires overall. Well, to be fair, I don’t understand those billionaires who aren’t doing all they can to make the world a better place for everyone, as some are doing excellent work for all of our futures. For those that don’t, they will individually never be able to spend all of their worth. Their offspring will not be able to spend it all for generations to come. What is the point of hoarding the money? Is it only for bragging rights to say they are the richest person in the world?

If it is for bragging rights, then shame on the media for giving them the platform to brag with all the lists of who is worth what. Doubly shame on the billionaires for not using their extreme wealth to make the world a better place to be for not only the citizens of the world, but also for a planet, a world, in which their children, and their children’s children, and their children’s children’s children will have to live in.

Or are they, as a whole, so short-sighted and greedy, too full of themselves, to think that far ahead for their families?

What do you think?

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