Tag: CEO Elon Musk

Privatizing Mass Transit Could Solve the Global Gas Crisis

By Indri Schaelicke | United States

With oil and gas supplies dwindling, it is more imperative than ever that we cut back fuel consumption. For years, experts have been encouraging the populace to find ways to scale back. Easy ways to achieve this include carpooling, keeping vehicles up to standards that maximize fuel efficiency, walking, biking, and using mass transit. Public transportation infrastructure has greatly improved since the dawn of the concept. However, like any publicly funded program, public transportation suffers from several major issues.

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Elon Musk Supports Government, Not Republicans

By James Sweet III | United States

The mainstream media were whipped into a feeding frenzy this week when they discovered that Elon Musk was a major donor for “Protect the House”, a National Republican Political Action Committee. Chelsea Handler, among other celebrities, lashed out against Musk on Twitter and article headlines went as far as proclaiming that “Elon Musk’s Donation Keeps Republicans in Control of Congress.

Progressives, Democrats, and other critics of the Republican Party were disappointed in Musk, but a look at his donation history would reveal that he has supported plenty of Democratic groups, Political Action Committees, campaigns, and politicians, as well as their Republican counterparts.  Musk, like any businessman, cares more about his businesses than politics, and merely pays who he has to in an attempt to keep his companies alive.

Musk’s political donation history mainly lists his occupation as CEO and Founder of SpaceX, but his position as CEO of Tesla Motors also appear in the list. The earliest records show a $2,000 donation to then-President George W. Bush in 2003. SpaceX, founded the year before, was a young company looking to for opportunities to expand. In the year following Musk’s donation, NASA began the Commercial Orbital Transport Services (COTS), and Space X became one of the first corporations to receive a contract with NASA for the project, earning the company a whopping 396 million dollars by the end of the project.

Musk continued to donate to many different politicians, parties, and organizations, most notably Hillary Clinton, Dianne Feinstein, Barack Obama, Cory Booker, Bill Nelson, and the Democratic Midterm Victory Fund. On the Republican aisle, he has donated to politicians and organizations like Dana Rohrabacher, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, and Kevin McCarthy. These politicians all support one of many things, whether it is protecting the environment, subsidies, or clean energy.

The Los Angeles Times reported in 2015 that Musk’s Tesla Motors, SpaceX, and SolarCity have benefited from a grand total of $4.9 billion in “government support”. This includes grants, tax breaks, factory construction, discounted loans and environmental credits, as well as tax credits and rebates to buyers of solar panels and electric cars. Tesla had a net loss of $709.6 million within the first quarter of the year, giving reason behind the need for subsidies.

Musk isn’t the only one that benefits from subsidies, and with the state of modern American politics being dominated by corporate interests, it shouldn’t be a shock that innovators and businessmen are supportive of financial aid from the government to support an idea that may not be popular. The lack of tolerance to republican celebrities in today’s society may be the reason that he received a harsh backlash to his donation, despite his history of supporting all kinds of candidates and organizations.

Musk is an innovator, and innovators are known to create things and to improve upon their previous creations. However, in a free-market system, an innovator’s products needs to appeal to the consumers in an attempt to gain a profit and excite investors to invest into the next idea. In 2018, only 20% of the American population is willing to buy electric cars as their next vehicle. For an ambitious innovator like Elon Musk, 20% is not enough to sustain a corporation. In a free-market system free of subsidies, Tesla Motors might sink by burning through money and remaining unappealing to the mainstream American consumer.

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Post-Scarcity is Utopian and Unattainable in Society

By Casey Ward | United States

In today’s world of identity politics, there are many views on how the world should be run. During this debate, however, scarcity is often ignored when calculating the opportunity cost of different policies.

Scarcity and Post-Scarcity in the Modern World

The best example of ignoring scarcity in our time is universal healthcare. Essentially, the supply of healthcare is less than the demand for it. While we all agree that everyone should have access to healthcare, the fact remains that we cannot provide such a system without violating someone else’s rights.

This means that the only way universal healthcare can actually work is if we lived in a post-scarcity society, which will likely never happen. Since the universe, as far as we know, is finite, we cannot have infinite resources.

Scarcity, Capitalism, and Communism

However, if we factor for scarcity, it becomes clear that communism vs capitalism is a fool’s choice. If you boil it down, the main desire of communism is that the workers collectively control the means of production. In a free market system, individuals privately own the means of production in search of a profit. Capitalism is naturally voluntary, and over time, lowers prices to all individuals. On the other hand, when universal healthcare forces the creation of price ceilings, the market is thrown out of equilibrium. This, as a result of scarcity, creates a shortage.

Take, for example, medishare or any other voluntary cooperative. It is jointly run by its members in order to reach a mutual goal. With a group incentive of paying off medical bills, each individual is able to thrive. Yet, they do so without giving up their rights.

On the other hand, coercive social programs offer no incentive for success. For instance, the state prohibits people on disability from having another income source. By providing a service, but requiring no contribution, government cannot cover the demand with enough supply. The same is true with all modern safety nets. Social security costs more than what is being put in, and thus, supply cannot cover demand.

Is Post-Scarcity Possible?

Anarchists often leave out this important factor of scarcity as well. This is why Elon Musk’s utopian post-scarcity anarchism will never work. Post-scarcity is not achievable since it neglects two very important and rather scarce items, time and energy. Both are vital to our life, but neither are infinite. 

We all seek a longer life and yet extending our life is painstakingly slow. The few results we do see are miniscule, compared to the age of the universe. Even if we did find the cure to our mortality, we would die. It would just come at the eventual day when the stars burn through their fuel, leaving us without energy.

“When I can build anything I want whenever I want it, there’s no real point in using force to maintain control over a surplus.” -Human Iterations

Post-scarcity solving the need for a surplus, (as Iain M. Banks describes in his series called “The Culture”) is Musk’s eventual utopian goal. However, this simply will never occur, even in an immortal world. If someone knows that the universe is dying, they would stockpile materials to prolong the inevitable a little longer.

At the end, that would nullify any post-scarcity attempts. Without a doubt, the two most important things to our survival are going to disappear. All ideologies must address scarcity, but how we do so could change the world. The choice comes down to the market. Do we allow nature to take its course and seek an equilibrium? Or, is it justifiable to allocate some resources to benefit a group of people at the expense of others? Only the former recognizes the equal rights of all.

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