Like a great many others, I find myself scandalised by the spectacle of three billionaires, Bezos, Branson and Musk, splurging megabucks on their race to send paying passengers into space.
And amazed that people who evidently have so much empty space between their ears have managed to amass so much money in the first place, let alone be so air-headed as to squander so much of it on such a fatuous ‘contest’.
After all, since Yuri Gargarin first made mankind’s first return trip into space way back in 1961, this feat has been repeated by so many cosmonauts and astronauts as to make the current would-be cashtronauts look like nothing but cashtronoughts.
Especially when you consider how many challenges there are right here on Planet Earth for these would-be billiondare-devils to spend their energies and fortunes on tackling.
Like, to name just a few, the Covid pandemic and countless other endemic diseases, catastrophic climate change, starvation and population-displacement by armed race- and religion-based conflicts.
Of course it’s all too predictable that I, as one of the world’s vast majority of nilionaires, to be hyper-critical, even if arguably hypocritically so, of the super-rich.
A great many billionaires, of whom Bezos’s ex-wife is just one example, have shown far more billioncare for mankind by their willingness to billionshare their wealth with worthy causes more generously than I do of my more meagre financial resources.
And then there’s the thought that, for all that we relative paupers might envy them their billions and make bilious remarks about how they spend them, at least Bezos, Branson, Musk and many others of the mega-rich have made their fortunes honestly, or at least legally.
Unlike, say, media barons like Rupert Murdoch who’ve made their money out of publishing and broadcasting bare-faced lies; or out the kingpins of crime cartels who’ve made massive killings out of the drugs, weapons and people-trafficking trades; or kleptocrats like the notorious 1MDBillionaire Najib Razak of Malaysia who’ve outright robbed the people they’re supposed to rule.
Those who get rich from such rackets seldom spend their ill-gotten billions even on such relatively harmless hobbies as space-racing, NASA-style, preferring instead to splurge them on such NAuSeAting self-indulgences as mansions, super-yachts, fancy watches, jewellery jet-setting and other such ego-trips.
But in our albeit justified enthusiasm for criticising careless, conscienceless and outright criminal billionaires, let’s mot forget or forgive our very own billionscary behaviour.
While we may not be filthy-rich individually, we certainly are collectively, as albeit small shareholders in our national economies.
And far too many of us ridiculously fail to realise, or worse, just plain don’t care, that in voting for and otherwise supporting our governments’ miss-spending billions and trillions of our collective wealth on everything from tax-breaks designed to make the rich richer at the expense of the rest of us to funding environment-raping projects for the financial benefit of individual and corporate cronies and doing corruption-riddled deals on ‘defence’ equipment and other such stuff we don’t need, we’re as reprehensible as they are.
I could go on and on listing such billionatrocities that we fail to prevent or actually outright vote for, like the mindless construction of massive toll-highways instead of improved public transport, and vanity sky-scrapers in place of more desperately-needed housing.
But instead let me content myself by concluding in short that, until we finally unite in holding our governments responsible for spending our collective resources and other riches wisely and well, we’re collectively every whit as guilty of waste ranging from the careless to the criminal as any individual billionair-head could possibly contrive to be.