Unlike the uber-rich, not everyone's amused by the billionaire space race that Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and Elon Musk are currently engrossed in.
Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and Elon Musk are currently engrossed in a billionaire space race that aims to usher in a new era of private commercial space travel. This unofficial race kicked off Sunday when the nearly 71-year-old Branson and five crewmates traveled to the edge of space aboard a Virgin Galactic vehicle, beating Bezos—the richest person on the planet—by nine days. Unlike the uber-rich, however, not everyone's amused by this "tragically wasteful ego contest" as writer Jacob Silverman puts it.
"If all goes well... Branson will return to Earth having cemented his claim to... what exactly?" Silverman asked in a piece for The New Republic. "Spending money he's earned off the labor of low-wage workers and shuffled between offshore tax havens, he will be the winner in an extravagant pageant that's designed less to inaugurate a new era of spaceflight than to drum up business for his other companies. Branson, like his would-be spacefaring competitors, isn't an innovator; he's a salesman." Many on Twitter shared similar sentiments, criticizing the billionaires for being extremely out of touch with reality.
Here are 25 of the most honest reactions from netizens:
Branson wants to bring space to the average person.— ✨☮💙 Kim Ruxton 💙☮✨ (@KimRuxton) July 11, 2021
How about food?
let's do that one first.
Ok how about this:— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) March 22, 2020
No more billionaires. None.
After you reach $999 million, every red cent goes to schools and health care.
You get a trophy that says, “I won capitalism” and we name a dog park after you.
I cannot put into words how much I don't care about billionaires going into space when people are rationing their insulin but ok— Megatha (@meghanttucker) July 11, 2021
If you have billions of dollars and use it to go to outer space instead of saving the planet (which is literally on fire) then you are a horrible person.— God (@thegoodgodabove) July 11, 2021
I’m more impressed by the girl who won the spelling bee than the billionaire who went to space.— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) July 11, 2021
No one needs billionaires to colonize outer space. We need them to pay their fair share of taxes so people can thrive here on Earth.— Robert Reich (@RBReich) July 12, 2021
I don't want to tell billionaires how they should or shouldn't use their money.— Katie Mack (@AstroKatie) July 12, 2021
I want society to be structured in such a way that single individuals never become so wealthy as to have the power to singlehandedly alter the course of society on a whim.
(every single unhoused person)— Read Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (@JoshuaPotash) July 12, 2021
like it's the system that's the problem (capitalism) more than these individuals. But their behavior shows very clearly how capitalism rewards sociopathy and endless greed.
Just a couple guys being dudes who could literally end world hunger but play space games instead pic.twitter.com/MKArlbwumg— real chet hanx 🚩🌞🌴🎆🏖 (@DylanTweetin) July 11, 2021
PEOPLE: May we have a living wage, please?— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) July 11, 2021
BILLIONAIRE: You want me to inspire you by going to SPACE?
PEOPLE: Um, no, just enough money to buy normal things and live somewhere kind of ok, please.
BILLIONAIRES: Space it is!
Taxing billionaires 95% represents more hope for many more people.— Judge Dave Anthony PsyD, PHD, MD, Esquire. (@daveanthony) July 13, 2021
Next you’re going to tell me that Elon Musk is building a transit tunnel with dramatically lower throughput than NYC’s 100+ year old subway system.— Dan Riffle (@DanRiffle) July 11, 2021
No one’s attacking space. We’re attacking the fact that billionaires are exploiting workers, avoiding taxes, & getting Govt handouts while 80% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck & 60M Americans are food insecure.— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@QasimRashid) July 13, 2021
You aren’t the victim here bud. https://t.co/mqGP0u340t
In the pandemic the world added a record 118 million people who are chronically hungry and global billionaires added a record $4 trillion to their wealth.— Dan Price (@DanPriceSeattle) July 12, 2021
The cost to end world hunger ($330 billion) is what billionaires made in one month and instead they're going to space.
I couldn’t give two shits that a billionaire has made it to space. If you want my respect then tackle homelessness or make water clean for everyone. Instead of “He who dies with the most toys wins” how about “He who uses their wealth to help the most people wins”. https://t.co/e3HexFoINT— Richard N. Ojeda, II (@Ojeda4America) July 12, 2021
The billionaire class is going to space decades after government did it first, using surplus resources that should have gone to finance that government but didn’t, and then using that dubious achievement as proof that they are more efficient than government.— Anand Giridharadas @ The.Ink (@AnandWrites) July 12, 2021
So cool that billionaires are going to space, can we fully fund childhood cancer research now?— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) July 11, 2021
Do I really need to tell you that capitalism is out of control when billionaires are having their own private space race while a heat wave wiped out millions of coastal wildlife and an entire Canadian town?— Robert Reich (@RBReich) July 12, 2021
Man, I wish these billionaires felt this competitive about how many people they could help. "Branson determined to beat Bezos by increasing worker benefits 15%. Bezos counters with 25%!"— (((Susan))) (@GoldaLeahBatZvi) July 2, 2021
But no... space races.
Billionaires jetting into space for fossil-fuelled joyrides while the planet literally burns is really not a good look.— Jason Hickel (@jasonhickel) July 12, 2021
The billionaires love recreation— Limericking (@Limericking) July 12, 2021
And now go to space on vacation.
Their rocketships fly
50-plus miles high
And show how we fail at taxation.
BREAKING: Billionaire blows billions on his ego while millions of people starve, are unhoused, and have no healthcare. Second billionaire plans to blow billions on same thing in two weeks.— Aaron Smith (@aaronc_smith) July 11, 2021
We should charge any billionaire returning to Earth a reasonable $50 billion landing fee.— The Time is Now (@YDCHPH) July 11, 2021