It was Mao Zedong that proclaimed, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” And, so do massive fortunes and grinding poverty. Case in point, Elon Musk, and his stable of companies built on the backs of taxpayers.
Let’s take a look at SpaceX. My contention is that absent the oppressive powers of State governments, it is unclear whether this company would even exist, let alone Elon Musk succeed in frittering away precious human and natural resources on a scale rarely seen.
With a trip to Mars planned for the first half of 2019, perhaps we should consider the impact of far-flung, State-sponsored, taxpayer-backed, boondoggles like SpaceX?
SpaceX = Poverty
The truth is, when capital, human, property, plant and equipment, is allocated via a political process, and not a market process, the only possible outcome is less of what most individuals and families want and need. The only possible outcome of redirecting resources from the production of food, clothing, housing, transportation, advances in medicine, and other goods and services that cater to practical needs, to taxpayer-funded or guaranteed trips to Mars, is that more people will live in poverty. Children are being put at risk and, indeed, dying on a daily basis when food and other basic needs are more expensive because Elon Musk, his lobbyists, and the politicians and government officials they purchase, are directing resources away from, and increasing the cost of, the most essential items.
A world dictated by political forces, taxpayer subsidization, cost-plus contracts, guarantees, and bail-outs, places otherwise money-losing operations and fanciful whims on par with legitimate money-making opportunities subject to natural market forces. Put simply, without the political option, the cost of sending someone to Mars, or even vastly scaled-down space excursions, would become cost prohibitive and would ensure capital is directed to where it is truly needed, and is profitable for the participants directly involved, and society at large. Under the Musk model, he, other insiders, cronies, politicians and bureaucrats, profit at the expense of everybody else.
The Jobs Canard
But, but, Elon is creating thousands of jobs!
When Elon Musk’s politicians direct police forces to point guns at people, threaten them with their cages, or otherwise use the productive capacity of the populace to fund or guarantee projects or loans, it is true that Musk, and his politicians, create jobs that would not otherwise exist. SpaceX, and Tesla for that matter, would employ a fraction of the individuals they do now, if these companies existed at all. Again, this much is true. What is never pointed out, is that in the absence of being tax-donkey pawns in the physical manifestation of Musk’s imagination, the taxpayer’s own resources would be directed toward goods and services they, themselves, demand, not what Elon wants. When Elon uses political means to advance his ideas, he changes the total composition of employment, or the jobs that would or could currently exist. He never, ever, creates additional employment, or jobs, beyond what is otherwise possible.
It should be noted that SpaceX does compete in the commercial spacecraft industry with other companies, all of whom also rely heavily on the exploitation of taxpayers for revenues and profits, in providing market-based solutions to private and publicly-held companies. While these efforts should be lauded, sending manachins and Teslas into orbit is an incredible waste of f@#%ing resources, is done at a cost to everyone in society, and should be roundly condemened.