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The Case for Nationalizing Elon Musk

The Case for Nationalizing Elon Musk

Kate Aronoff

On Tuesday, Elon Musk launched some stuff into space. The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket was shot into the Solar System, tailed by a Tesla Roadster blasting David Bowie songs, reportedly the fastest car ever to be released into orbit. Each Falcon launch is only expected to cost around $90 million—a bargain in the world of extraterrestrial exploration.


This article makes a good point. Anybody who preaching setting up a colony on Mars should be watched closely. I don’t know if Musk has actually looked into how difficult that would be or he is simply spouting a wild fantasy from reading too many science fiction books. Yes, everything we do should be put into the context of the problem of climate change. The likelihood of not going beyond 4C seems to grower smaller each week. The UN goal of staying below 2C does not seem to be anchored in reality and the goal of staying below 1.5C seems to something to relegate to day dreams. We have a crisis. Make that an emergency. We are now going past 1C and very bad things are going to happen.


I have to say, the very idea of extra-planetary colonies being used for “humankind” is laughable.
Unless it were to occur in some alternate universe, in which humankind was already united and wealthy elitism didn’t exist…
There is no way that anyone but the wealthiest, most oppressive scum on the planet will ever be allowed to live off of it. The ENTIRE system that surrounds every aspect of space travel (or even breathing on Earth) is rigged in favor of the ultra-predatory capitalists. Until capitalism, wealth, and power over others has been left far behind in our past, humans will not escape the physical reality left behind as a result of those abstract concepts being acted upon.


If we’re stupid enough to let capitalists off this rock to begin the colonization scheme they’re desperate to implement given that they know they’ve already destroyed this one, then we deserve everything bad coming to us.

privatizing space? Are we seriously that stupid? That’s rhetorical. I sadly already know the answer.


Great post. While Musk certainly is a bright man- why not support clean energy and sustainability for everyone on the planet? The USA has the highest rate of depression and other mental illnesses of any developed country. I think we have better things to do than watch a spaceship orbit around Mars. The hey day of NASA with people lined up at Cape Canaveral has long since past.


Great point! The USA stopped kicking A in space when the shuttle program folded.

Yeah , we already know the answer, and the MSM will continue flaunting this as an act of heroism.

This is the right article at the right time! Thank you!

If Musk is working off our dime than compel him to work strictly on solving global warming and not some bullshit “colony” on Mars- Maybe he could design rockets that run off of methane and carbon dioxide and send A pack of them out to circle the globe and suck all of the shit out of our atmosphere? See, I too can have visions and fantasies…The battery packs, underground rail and electric cars will only do so much…

Musk is deluded by his money, power, and intelligence in thinking it is realistic and important for humans to set up colonies on Mars. I love astronomy and learning about the stars, planets, and so forth but too many astronomy fans just go too far with their passion for space exploration. They forget the importance of preserving the only known liveable planet in the universe. The Earth is in severe environmental crisis and needs to be the focus of humanity for the foreseeable future.


Yeah. This article seems to miss two glaring facts:

  1. The U.S has had a publically funded space agency for decades. Now all of a sudden there is a hugely successful private space company outdoing NAsA and we must “nationalize” it?

  2. Companies Musk founded are doing a better job of promoting badly needed technologies than any government agency. Electric cars. Self driving cars. Solar power. Puerto Rico.

These companies actually seem to be a pretty compelling argument against state control.


I don’t have a problem with private space companies. NASA doesn’t want to be shuttling people and equipment to the international space station, it wants to explore space. NASA seems to doing a good job exploring the other planets of the solar system and their moons. It is out of manned missions and that is a good thing.

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I didn’t know he was using our money. If that’s the case, than turn that info over to NASA, and work with them, or fund you’re own play time.

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Dinnnnneeeeeyyyy Laaaaaannnnnnd

The electric prod of Elon Musk demonstrates the moral motivations of Disney Land - which has ALWAYS been manipulated as a fulcrum to twist the reality of those who suffer most from extractive predation. Keep an eye out for images of Gandhi…

Please wake up and smell the Capitalism. If humanity does make it Mars or anywhere else through private capitalist corporations people like you and I will be riding in the cargo hold as PROPERTY!

Just because an “organiser and freelance journalist” makes an unsupported unreferenced statement on the internet, doesn’t mean that statement is true.


So you argument appears to be: that because CO2 levels are dangerously high, Elon Musk should not be permitted to plan a Mars mission?

Just so you get a bit of perspective here as to the cost of “space”.
NASA budget $18.4 billion.

For comparison the US annual spending on:
Pets - $310 billion
Soft Drinks - $65 billion
Professional Sport - $25 billion
Lawn Care - $40 billion
…and of course “defence” - $597 billion

So if you want to divert money into greenhouse mitigation why not go after the lawncare industry instead. They have twice the budget. Or, (gasp) people could give up their pooches for the planet and free up 16 times as much money.

You could also remember that earth observation satellite data is essential in monitoring the situation.


Indeed. Many statements in this article are false. Evidently the author did very little research. For one thing, the Falcon Heavy was developed from SpaceX’s own research funds, not from a government grant. It was developed for about 1/20 of the amount considered necessary by the Augustine Commission, and in half the time they estimated was needed, based on NASA figures. NASA, Boeing, and Lockheed haven’t come close to this level of performance. Furthermore, those “Tesla profits” she wants to nationalize don’t exist. It’s a money losing company so far. And the idea that Musk seeks to set up a colony of billionaires is also crazy. Other than for Musk himself, I’d expect Mars would be far too austere for any billionaires. Any colonies he sets up are likely to be crowdfunded (remember Bernie Sanders?) efforts involving ordinary people, not a dystopian Hollywood fantasy like “Elysium”, which is way beyond the capabilities of anybody to build. He may shoot two rich people around the Moon for the income, but they won’t stay, and wouldn’t want to without a Hilton.

We finally get that rare capitalist who actually wants to do something with his fortune about problems like global warming, and he’s attacked as a greedy capitalist. Unbelievable! Incidentally, Laura Ingraham over at Fox also hates Musk, which says something about the level and the roots of the criticism he’s getting.

And no, I’m not a newbie on CommonDreams. I’ve been here since 2008, at least. I just don’t post or visit much since Bernie Sanders lost the nomination …


I don’t have anything against NASA, either. I just don’t buy the argument being made in this article that succesful companies need to be nationalized because they leverage scientific research (humanity’s inheritance) to create powerful new technologies.

To the extent that wealth inequality is a problem, it’s not clear that nationalizing all major enterprises is a desirable solution.

The argument is bogus. Public money is spent on scientific research. That’s great, this is a large part of our shared cultural legacy. Companies then take that research and develop it to create new technologies that further civilizational development (medicines, computers, space travel, renewable energy, etc etc) . Seems good. Oh but wait, those companies are making a PROFIT, so it must be EVIL because its PRIVATE.

Such is the extent of the economic logic of the left, I guess. I suppose the alternative would be either to stop publically funding research, or to disallow private (non-state) entities from profiting. Which is to say that all economic activity ought to be state controlled.

But… wait… the government is bad (another axiom) and the U.S government is the worst (axiom)… So I guess what we really need is a revolution to install a new proletarian dictatorship to reorganize the power structure and manage all economic activity. What could go wrong?

The point of publicly funded research isn’t to create public profit. It’s to expand the realm of human knowledge. Why shouldn’t people and companies be able to leverage that knowledge to create successful businesses? Who is being harmed by that?