Elon Musk of SpaceX on CBS's 60 Minutes

By Phil Plait | March 20, 2012 1:19 pm

Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, was interviewed on "60 Minutes". It’s an interesting look inside the company and how Musk wants to build America’s go-to rocket:

I think SpaceX has what it takes to go the whole way. The reporter points out that the first three launches of the Falcon 1 didn’t achieve orbit, but if you look back to the beginning of the Space Era, failures were a lot more catastrophic. A lot has been learned since then.

I’ve made this point many, many times. NASA’s job is to innovate, to explore, and to pave the way. Once that pathway is clear, let smaller, more flexible companies like SpaceX then build the rockets and other hardware needed to maintain that path. It doesn’t have to be SpaceX — there are other companies looking to build rockets capable of getting into orbit — I just think they are best-positioned for this. And in this case, I think competition isn’t such a bad thing. It’ll lead to better rockets, less expensive access to space, and — and this is something I honestly believe, backed by copious evidence — a better future for everyone.

[UPDATE: Oh, fer Pete’s sake, I forgot to add that the next flight of the Falcon 9 carrying the Dragon capsule to the International Space Station is now scheduled for April 30 at 12:22 p.m. EDT. I’ll have more on that soon.]


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NASA’s budget: JWST saved, but not much good news
Virgin Galactic spaceport dedicated
SpaceX reveals plans for heavy lift rocket

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Piece of mind, Space

Comments (43)

  1. frankenstein monster

    I’ve made this point many, many times. NASA’s job is to innovate, to explore, and to pave the way. Once that pathway is clear, let smaller, more flexible companies like SpaceX then build the rockets and other hardware needed to maintain that path.

    Isn’t that the 6 of clubs from the Denialist’s Deck of Cards * ? The sad thing is, that not even the otherwise skeptical BA is able to resist this ‘two legs good four legs bad / private good government bad’ propaganda mantra.
    .
    * don’t want the message to get stuck in the moderation queue, so no link. but you should still google it if you want.

  2. Crudely Wrott

    I’ve long been convinced that the first profitable steps into space cannot be accomplished by governments; they don’t understand profit. Companies like Musk’s will be the ones that will demonstrate how to go to space and come back with something to show for it other than bragging rights.

    The impulse to go, to explore and see new places, to find new resources and to tease out natures secrets is a deeply human, and often deeply personal, human desire. Committees just don’t understand this, naturally. So, it is left to the dreamers, people who hand a dream as a child and carried it with them into adulthood. We are fortunate that some of those people got wealthy enough to start turning dreams into reality.

    The depth of this yearning becomes clear late in the video when Musk deals with the doubts and criticisms of Armstrong and Aldrin. He nearly tears up at the thought of those who took the first steps are leery of those who intend to follow. I hope that both Neil and Buzz live long enough to see their misgivings put to rest.

  3. frankenstein monster

    Committees just don’t understand this, naturally.

    yeah. like private companies don’t have committees at all

  4. Woody Tanaka

    “Once that pathway is clear, let smaller, more flexible companies like SpaceX then build the rockets and other hardware needed to maintain that path”

    This reads to me like: Once massive amounts of public money has been spent doing the intial reseach and development, let moneyed interests rush in to glean all of the profits from it, with me, the taxpayer, bearing the costs. Oh, and from here on out, we get to pay them, too, for the use of the fruit of our investment, while they get their mansions and private planes.

  5. The natural order of things would be for Musk to do the heavy lifting with his wallet, followed by Russian oligarchs (e.g., Berezovsky, Gusinsky, Milner, Abramovich, Usmanov, Mamut, Khodorkovsky, Friedman, Smolensky) buying in at the crucial financial hole moment. As NASA stumbles about like a freshly made steer, it will be vodka, caviar, and a minion on the moon.

    Google has ~$44 billion in the bank. Diversify? Incorporate off-planet to redefine tax-haven? Heinlein’s “rice bowls?”

  6. Russell

    I don’t blame Musk for “rushing in to glean all the profits” after sinking his own 100 million dollars into his own company. Sure the taxayer has paid for all this space technology before, and we will continue to pay for it private or government provided.

    I think it’s great the private sector is getting into space. It’s natural after all for us to do that. Let Russia/China keep to the government model and slog along behind the American entrepreneur.

  7. frankenstein monster

    Let Russia/China keep to the government model and slog along behind the American entrepreneur.

    lolwut ? right now, who is sloughing along behind ? Oh wait, you are not even sloughing along. you are completely grounded ;)

  8. Nic

    Go Elon!

    I have high hopes.

  9. Bill Hunt

    I think people are forgetting here that the reason NASA hasn’t gone anywhere in the last 40 years is that NASA budgets are subject to the changing whims of see-saw politics and petty political agendas. Congress can’t even agree on short term plans, much less the kind of long term plans required to produce effective results in manned spaceflight. As long as that’s the case, we’re going nowhere. And even if Congress could agree, they’re still unlikely to increase NASA’s budget much. So sure, we can build a massive heavy-lift rocket… but we’ll have no money to actually go anywhere with it and little political will to keep going there even if we actually get there. The sooner manned spaceflight can be unhooked from such silliness the better. Letting private companies get into the game gives us more flexibilty and innovation, and simply put more choices for getting into space.

  10. Gary Ansorge

    Private companies could have “got into the game” in the 1960s except for one little problem,,,our government didn’t want anyone but the government having access to missile technology. Now that everyone can build the things, everybody can get into the act,,,unless you want to go with a nuclear thruster,,,

    Gary 7

    PS Thar be contrails in the sky tonight,,,if you’re on the east coast,,,Keep your ears peeled for the panicked screams of the uninformed,,,

    http://www.space.com/14902-nasa-rocket-launches-east-coast-skywatching.html

  11. Brian Too

    Musk’s reaction to the public statements of some of his space heros is telling.

  12. Satan Claws

    The first real test for the survivability of such a program will be the first fatality. How the company will react to such PR nightmare will determine whether it’ll persist. It’ll also influence the public perception towards other (private) competitors that will follow. If fatalities happen late enough that many flights are made, then they might make it; if the first Concorde crash had happened early on, then people would have shyed away from it.

    I’m sorry to be such a gloomy pessimist, but look at all forms of transportation; at some point, something fails badly enough that people get hurt or killed. Failures happen anyway, you have redundancy to reduce its impact; but you’re just statistically pushing the catastrophe further away. Whether people give up on it will depend on many things, including the negative aspects. Personally, I *REALLY* want to see them succeed. This company’s failure would be others’ as well, I think, in that it’d fuel a negative impression towards space exploration (“too dangerous”, etc.). I just don’t know how they (or other companies that will follow) will deal with critisicm and the inevitable catastrophe here and there. Or maybe my pessimism (caution?) is biased by remembering some failures of other space launches while forgetting the numerous other successes?

  13. Any way you slice it a rocket launch is just so much hot air….

  14. Captain Noble

    Ever since high school when I first started really looking at the space program, I’ve felt that real progress would probably have to come from the private sector. The government is too caught up in special interests and unable to clearly articulate why we should have a robust space program.

  15. Gary Ansorge

    12. Satan Claws

    Yes, people are gonna die in space. People died in the exploration of earth but that didn’t stop us…it just made us think a little harder.

    Perhaps one of the dumbest air disasters was the Hindenburg. It set back lighter than air craft lifted by hydrogen a very long time(indefinitely, as of now). A bummer because H2 lifts 1.4 times as much load as helium, while helium costs substantially more than H2 and helium is a non-renewable resource(at least until we start transmuting it from H2 in fusion reactors).

    An H2 filled dirigible could potentially float at an altitude of 100,000 feet and be used as a rocket launch system(with mag levs). At that altitude, the rocket could leave the dirigible at orbital velocity w/o burning up(or requiring heavy thermal tiles). It’s just a really cool idea,,,

    Gary 7

  16. Grand Lunar

    I would hope that Falcon is one of several rockets, not the sole “go-to rocket” to use.

    For example, the Atlas V and Delta IV are sorely underused. We can do so much more with them. And they both have a productive history.

    It would be interesting to see the Falcon rockets match against them.
    Not just performance-wise, but more so in reliability.

  17. Woody Tanaka

    “I think it’s great the private sector is getting into space. It’s natural after all for us to do that. Let Russia/China keep to the government model and slog along behind the American entrepreneur.”

    Which of the three — Russia, China, USA — has to pay cash in order to get a person into LEO??

  18. Woody Tanaka

    “I don’t blame Musk for ‘rushing in to glean all the profits’ after sinking his own 100 million dollars into his own company. Sure the taxayer has paid for all this space technology before, and we will continue to pay for it private or government provided. ”

    And if there are profits to be made, then have the US government charter a company and glean them to payback the taxpayers, rather than letting a bunch of profiteers in on it.

  19. Alan

    I think people are missing a BIG point when it comes to privatizing space flight. While it may be just fine for well established ventures such as putting satelittes in orbit or low orbit manned flight, but it sucks for anything that won’t produce a quick buck. If this privatization meant moving NASA resources away from the “run-of-the-mill” stuff but toward things like colonizing the Moon or landing on Mars I’d be all for it. But, in this climate of wanting to cut costs so that we don’t “waste” our time sending probes off just to take pictures of a “pile of rocks” (sentiments I’ve read in comments about various space missions) privatization can and is being used as an excuse to keep on cutting NASA missions overall.

    The likely end result is those “changing the world” sorts of missions we dream about such as going to Mars become ever less likely. We only have a certain window of time before global warming and resource deplition quite possibly make such large projects a practical economic impossibility, so much so if not done in the next 50 years it may be 500 (minus some amazing technological revolution that makes it all so easy you can’t say no — don’t hold your breath).

    I was only 2 when we first landed on the Moon so I have no memories of the event. For me, the real life-changing/world-changing event was going to be watching the first step on Mars. Now it is becoming clear that because of our increasing collective disinterest in space exploration combined with the power of big business to make sure if they can’t make lots of ongoing money off it then it doesn’t happen (thus government money goes to paying them for already established and dependable income streams such as satelitte launches rather than one time exploration missions ala the Apollo Program) I’m going to have to live until 150 to have a chance of watching man step on Mars.

    To put another way, we are giving up our (space) dreams so that politicians can make points and big business dependable money. I guess I should have been born twenty years earlier or two hundred later if I wanted to experience my (and our collective) “moment of history”.

  20. Adrian Coles

    You could see that hurt regarding the comments from both Armstrong and Cernan, but then although they maybe legends, and heroes (of mine too, even across the pond in the UK), have they ever visited. Clearly not. NASA may have been at the beck and call of the US government, but ultimately, they were innovators creating something for the first time, without any experience, and without a need to make a profit. They just needed results and were not too concerned about the cost of external supplier contracts. However, doing everythingt in house, knowing it can be done, bringing in help and expertise where needed, and looking at this from a point of view of making a profit, why wouldn’t Elno Musk and SpaceX succeed. I hope he does. He has a dream, and he’s following it. Good on him. I dare Armstrong and Cernan to go to Elon. To discuss why they think private industry should not be used. To look around and see what he’s acheived. And listen to what he has to say. I would be surprised if either of them were arrogant enough to not be swayed even a little.

  21. ceramicfundamentalist

    phil, i’d really appreciate a post describing what is the actual difference between public and private when it comes to spaceflight. aren’t boeing/lockheed-martin private companies? don’t they make profit from building rockets and spacecraft?

  22. Andreas H

    I think this blind trust in shallow economic slogans is rather disconcerting especially for a scientific/skeptic website.

    We all have read about the innovative, flexible and progressive ways that “naturally” occur in a free market. The only problem is we’ve never actually seen them. Frankly if we take a closer look at how the so called “private sector” evolved since neo-liberal economic policies went away with many of the more stringent regulations on the market we see that corporations suffered from a quite opposite effect.

    Instead of flexible companies became cumbersome and top-heavy. Salaries of “upper management” increased unproportionally while personnel fluctuation is lower than in any other area of the company. Instead of progressive, companies become set in their ways and try to optimize within their current environment instead of looking for alternative options. And most important of them all companies are not innovative, they are protective. Inventions and discoveries that might threaten their way of business are thought in court or with lobbyists to keep the “status quo” whenever possible.

    We often hear how capitalism and the free market lead to the massive growth and progress of the 20th and 21st century. Nothing could be further from the truth. To this day almost all the advances in technology and scientific discoveries can be traced back to the same source, government funded research. Either in peaceful times at universities and other institutions of knowledge or unfortunately a lot more often to military research during wartime.

    Letting the so called “free market” control our resources (both physical as well as knowledge) lead to most of the problems our planet faces in the 21st century. I have yet to meet a person that has some grasp of science or skepticism that would agree that today’s application and allocation of our resources constitutes the best possible way for the present or the future of our planet.

    So unless you think we are already doing the best we possibly can you have to ask yourself, what tools and incentives does free market capitalism have to improve their ways. A system grounded on the pillars of profit and growth, applied to an environment with limited space and resources can never work, it’s impossible. Just a few decades ago this was only a theoretical problem as we were not able to actually outproduce our planet. But exponential growth swiftly managed to put as in a position were we can no longer ignore the one insuperable flaw in our economic system.

    Instead of holding on to dreams and ideas that will never be we have to wake up and take action. Deporting responsibilities to the private sector because we seemingly don’t have the resources in our governmental infrastructure to support them any longer will not solve any issues. Resources are limited on a planetary scale moving projects to different “stake holders” doesn’t accomplish anything in the long run. The scientific and skeptic community needs to be at the front of raising awareness of the inadequacies of our economic system.

    If we want to expand into space we first need to conquer our antiquated ways of how we manage ourselves and our resources.

  23. K

    That would be great–IF ANYTHING HAPPENED. Space X has been around for years and we still got nuthin’. There’s all kinds of talk about groups sending things into space but look around. What’s the reality? We got nuthin’. What happened to those space hotels? What happened to all those flights rich people were going to pay for that would eventually make it cheaper for regular people? No one’s taking off to do anything. Mankind is grounded.

  24. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Thanks, I will take a gander!

    Isn’t that the 6 of clubs from the Denialist’s Deck of Cards * ?

    Not unless you believe Phil is trying “to erect barriers to debate and consideration of any type of [consumer] reform”. But it seems to me he is arguing _for_ (reforming) a market. And privatization could open up for more consumers besides NASA.

    Regardless of that, there is nothing wrong with the arguments as such: “Most of these arguments can be cogent in certain contexts.” So you have to do the legwork here, you can’t just point to a list and yell “(some) denialism!”

    There is also denialists on the other side. Look at Andreas H, which claims free markets is behind “most … problems”!

    That free markets have been historically successful for long periods or that Gapminder shows they and democracy (and social medicine) correlates to less problems, while too eager market control and dictatorships (and absence of social medicine) correlates to hardship, doesn’t matter to them.

  25. Peter Davey

    The 19th Century French historian, Alexis de Tocqueville, best known for his study of the new American republic, wrote, in that study, of his concern as to whether any country governed by what he referred to as “the popular will”, could maintain a necessary continuity in its affairs.

    Space exploration may be able to shed a new light on this question.

    Incidentally, some of the original American settlements were organised as “joint-stock companies”.

  26. Messier Tidy Upper

    @K. :

    “No one’s taking off to do anything. Mankind [sic] is grounded.

    Yet every night the International Space Station with its female and male astronauts and cosmonauts aboard flies over your head. ;-)

    Russia and China are still launching human spaceflights and the private companies are planning and working hard to get people flying above our blue sphere soon as well.

    So, no, Humanity isn’t quite grounded yet – although I sure desperately wish we were doing a lot more and going a lot further and it exasperates and disappoints me no end that we are not. :-(

    *****

    PS. I’ll confess to being pretty old-fashioned myself in some ways but when it comes to modern language ‘Humanity’ has long since replaced “Mankind” even in my vocabulary! ;-)

    PPS. Isn’t it odd that ‘Humanity’ is a synonymn for compassion and ‘~kind’ also conveys that meaning and yet this is not the first or immediately defining trait that springs to mind when contemplating our species nature although it is a part of it?

  27. Benjamin

    The CBS guy made Musk cry. He made him cry! (I cried too a little)

  28. frankenstein monster

    Not unless you believe Phil is trying “to erect barriers to debate and consideration of any type of [consumer] reform”.

    There is also denialists on the other side.

    That free markets have been historically successful for long periods or that Gapminder shows they and democracy (and social medicine) correlates to less problems, while too eager market control and dictatorships (and absence of social medicine) correlates to hardship, doesn’t matter to them.

    that is one piece of nit-picking, one piece of tu quoque fallacy, and one piece of deliberate conflation between democracy and deregulated markets, dictatorship and market regulations. and one piece of hypocrisy because you seem to apply exactly the opposite yardsticks when it comes to medicine.

    Try again, I am sure you can do better than that.

  29. Greg

    @22 Andreas H :

    “A system grounded on the pillars of profit and growth, applied to an environment with limited space and resources can never work, it’s impossible.”

    “If we want to expand into space we first need to conquer our antiquated ways of how we manage ourselves and our resources.”

    That is wrong, the market system is exactly based on limited resources. Resources can only be valuable if they are limited. An infinite resource is worthless. You can’t sell “air”, for example. But you could sell a “rocket” because there are so few of them, people are willing to pay.

    And the market system ensures that these scarce resources get allocated as efficiently as humanly possible, while respecting human rights and private property. Everyone tries to improve their own situation in the market system, and the way to do it is to help others or to trade with them, and that’s true for both sides of the exchange. Both are better off in the end. That’s profit. More profit = more efficient allocation of scarce resources. More with less = profit.

    And what you seem to be suggesting sounds more like communism and planned economy. That is usually built on a disrespect of private ownership and human rights, which is also an exact opposite of a free market.

  30. frankenstein monster

    And the market system ensures that these scarce resources get allocated as efficiently as humanly possible, while respecting human rights and private property.

    Provided someone changes the basic most natural laws so that the nasty real-world effects like market failures are all turned off. Then, and only then will be the market the most efficient resource allocator. But until then…

  31. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Elon Musk. Not just for SpaceX, but also for Tesla. He is a true revolutionary, and I wish there were more people like him!

  32. Gary Ansorge

    30. frankenstein monster

    “nasty real-world effects”,,,and as our nations founders knew quite well,,,human greed is also a resource. They tried to set in place a system of checks and balances that would allow anyone to be as greedy as they wanted, just as long as everyone else could profit from that greed. In other words, you can make billions, just pay enough in taxes to help those less greedy or driven than yourself.

    Hey, it works in all of the Scandinavian, socialist countries and Germany, even in Great Britain(though they seem hell bent on eliminating their social support programs),,,

    Gary 7

  33. Bill Hunt

    19. Alan

    “I think people are missing a BIG point when it comes to privatizing space flight. While it may be just fine for well established ventures such as putting satelittes in orbit or low orbit manned flight, but it sucks for anything that won’t produce a quick buck.”

    Space flight isn’t being privatized wholesale. We just need to get the government out of building the taxis so they can focus their money and efforts on science and on developing the technology to go a lot farther into space. Once we have companies building affordable, proven manned spacecraft at low cost, thanks to cutting edge technology, efficiency and innovation… ANYONE can buy them for whatever missions are desired. Government, private companies – what have you. This isn’t about ending the big grand missions, it’s about unhitching manned access to space from the folly of politics. And it’s not like NASA isn’t offering advice, technology and expertice to companies like SpaceX and others. Some of the smartest most experienced minds in the aerospace industry are working for them. SpaceX isn’t having to completely reinvent the wheel. They’re just trying to make it better and more affordable.

  34. Andreas H

    @29 Greg

    Come on, this is the typical: “ohh no, he isn’t defending the status quo, therefore he must be a communist!” response that kills pretty much every discussion about a more efficient, more ethical and sustainable economic system.

    And please, this paragraph seems like a mockery of the truth:
    “And the market system ensures that these scarce resources get allocated as efficiently as humanly possible, while respecting human rights and private property.”

    1. They don’t get allocated as efficiently as humanly possible. They get allocated as profitable as humanly possible. This is an immense difference. We have both the resources and the knowledge to create an abundant energy reality. With abundant energy would come abundance in other areas like fresh-water (thanks to salt-water conversion). The reason we are not moving in this direction is because there is no profit in abundance. The market system really ensures only 1 thing, that no artificial resource will ever be available in abundance.

    2. “While respecting human rights and private property.” Are you kidding me? Respecting human rights? I wonder what the sweatshop workers in Bangladesh think about your viewpoint on human rights. Ohh and our history on the African continent showed the respect for property that is prevalent in market capitalism.

    A more efficient, more ethical and sustainable economic system doesn’t mean communism. Finding an economic system that isn’t based on growth and profit but on innovation, creativity and actual demand would bring us a lot closer to a sustainable way of living.

    Make no mistake, market capitalism in our current form will not last forever. We will either overcome its shortcomings or destroy our planet, there is no other option!

  35. Look at that passion for spaceflight. Whether SpaceX fails or succeeds, I’d say Elon Musk is a damn hero for even trying. I’m betting on success though, the company has come a long way has had some spectacular victories. Simply inspiring.

    The experts testifying against him are indeed heroes, but I kind of feel a “shame on them” coming on. Why would one want to bash such a sincere attempt at innovation and forward progress. It looks like SpaceX is being as safe as they can. This isn’t accepting something lesser because NASA got budget cuts, it’s trying something new, and possibly even better. Even NASA wasn’t free of a few catastrophic oversights.

  36. Greg

    @34 Andreas H:

    The status quo is not a free market, but rather a statist mixed economy with elements of free market and slavery(taxes,regulation).

    Profit and efficiency are the same thing, profit can be understood as an increase in resources. Money is exchangeable to any kind of resource so it can be considered as an abstract resource.

    The obstacle to abundant energy is the oppressive statism, controlled by special interests. If you replace that with another (communist) bureaucracy you get the same thing as we have now, or worse.

    There is profit in abundance. Just consider that profit is an increase in resources and compare to our current situation.

    Bangladesh is located in a communist country. Africa, I guess only one side had guns… What has that to do with voluntary exchange (free market)?

    Humans already strive for maximum efficiency, more efficient resource use and increases in production, which manifests in the form of profits, and no one is forcing them to do it, people do it on their own will. Some people call that greed. Oh yeah, some people are willing to be misled and taken advantage of, and that provides a profit opportunity for some lower lifeforms who take advantage of it. At least both sides are doing that voluntarily.

    Innovation, creativity all that goes into creating a profit.

    Markets are an emergent behavior, they may disappear when we don’t need to trade anymore.

  37. Andreas H

    @36 Greg:

    I think you are vastly underestimating the the volatile mix of resources and drastic shift in incentives we created with our monetary system.

    On one side we have the natural and finite resources our planet provides. On the other side we have the infinitely growing resource that is money. The incentives of our economy directly encourage the use of our natural resources in trade for money at the highest possible ratio. Now you combine this with the huge differences in the cost of manual labor in a globalized world, largely due to the different wealth of various countries and you get the disaster that is today’s economy. This leads to two insuperable flaws in our economic system:

    1. An ever increasing shift in balance between natural and monetary resources. In theory this is balanced by the increase in value of more scarce resources. In practice this only holds true for the directly affected (very scarce) resources and is not a linear process. This leads directly to a loss in value for resources which are in plenty supply. Because of that effect we generate a distorted view of the value of our resources and the most profitable way no longer is the most efficient way to handle our resources. Just one of the many examples of what this leads to: Tomatoes that are grown in greenhouses in the Netherlands are loaded onto trucks and driven across Europe to be cleaned and packaged in some of the lower wage countries. After that they are loaded back onto the trucks driven again across Europe to end in the super markets of Germany, France and other countries.

    2. The complete failure to value our future. There is literally no value in the future. The incentives of our economy value the present and the present only. The economic cycle is too shortsighted to value truly sustainable business practices and more importantly has no way of punishing over-exploitation until it’s too late. The whole market system is reactionary and in a time were we are using more resources than our planet can sustain this is an unacceptable situation.

    These are the realities we face today. We are borrowing resources from future generations as I write this. We need to change our economic incentives if we want to have a future on this planet, there simply is no other way!

  38. Greg

    @ Andreas H

    Tomatoes grown in the Netherlands must be necessarily packaged in the Netherlands? Why is that necessary? It doesn’t seem to be necessary to the tomato manufacturer. And would you force them to do the packaging locally? How is that different from a planned economy?

    Failure to value the future? Investments are usually made with an intent to create profit in the future, not as a reaction.

    Over-exploitation? How much exploitation is enough? Who should decide that, the owners or the central planners?

    The purpose of production is to create more resources. The planet’s resources are being turned into… even more resources.

    @32 Gary Ansorge:

    “In other words, you can make billions, just pay enough in taxes to help those less greedy or driven than yourself.”

    So you want to help some people and at the same time violate the freedom of others.

    No wonder Elon Musk wants to go to mars, it’s to get away from such good intentioned people.

  39. Andreas H

    @ Greg

    You seem to be stuck in a worldview where there are evil men sitting around a table in a bunker deep underground “planning” the economy.

    For some reason we actually realized that giving the power of decision to an “owner” doesn’t necessarily lead to better decisions, in fact the opposite is mostly true. We have overcome Kings and Dictators in most parts of the world and surprisingly we apparently don’t want to go back. But somehow we seem to forget these principles as soon as money gets involved.

    The basic principles of the free market, supply and demand is a beautiful, simple and democratic idea that I would never trade for planned production. The problem is that we distorted the balance of our resources with a monetary system that evolved from a simple and efficient means of trade into an oversized but fundamental “super-resource” that provides no value but controls the economy.

    We also have to redefine our antique views of property and ownership. Again please don’t run to your 1980’s propaganda book, but as we advanced in technology the perspective on our planet changed drastically. It’s not about abolishing the concept of private property but rather about what can be privately owned and how are we organizing ourselves on our planet.

    It is easy to deduct how we came to today’s arrangement of splitting our planet into various “nation-states”. The historical structures from which today’s nation-states evolved stem from a time where there simply was no “planetary perspective”. But this arrangement has outlived its usefulness. We have the means of government and communication that allow for new structures and most importantly we simply require the resources of our whole planet as no single place offers all the things required for today’s lifestyle.

    Ohh and about your last paragraph. It is physically impossible to produce more natural resources out of resources. We change resources into new resources which may or may not be reused after they outlived there new purpose. The problem is simply that the resources our planet provides us with are very much finite!

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