Ross: Find out what the billionaires want
The comments in the New York Times were pretty tough on Richard Branson.
Most readers dismissed his brief space flight as a roller coaster for billionaires and pointed out that it was just a glorified version of nearly 200 flights the X-15 rocket plane took back in 1959.
One commenter said it was pathetic for the New York Times to, “Openly promote these egomaniacs and their … Viagra-fueled play dates.”
But I see why the billionaires are doing this. Part of it is to fulfill their childhood dreams, yes, but they also have to justify their existence.
Because billionairism is under attack.
Men like Branson and Jeff Bezos –- with bank accounts the size of small governments –- want to show us that they deserve that kind of responsibility, and that we should not be trying to tax away the wealth that makes this level of risk-taking possible.
They want to show that they can do big things for a fraction of what it would cost the government.
The other perennial argument against these escapades is that the money could be spent solving homelessness, or hunger – name your cause.
But I think if anyone suffers from the hundreds of rich people plunking down pre-orders for rocket rides, it’s probably going to be the builders of yachts and beachfront mansions.
This generation of billionaires wants adventure, not just luxury. They want rocket ships, hyperloops, self-driving cars, off-the-shelf replacement body organs.
So my advice, youngsters, is not to complain about this system, but to run with it. If you want to have the money to push the causes dear to your own heart, find out what the billionaires want and become the best in that field.
So one day you too can choose whether to spend that money on saving the world or four minutes of weightlessness.
Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.
- Tune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.