Elon Musk is one of my heroes. He has innovated so many industries that are close to my heart. As a former robotics engineer, and someone who has been a space and alternative energy enthusiast all of my adult life, with many start-ups behind me, and job related experience as well in all of these industries, Elon is one of my personal heroes (though that word is probably too strong). However, just like political leaders Elon and I do not agree on everything. I admire him as an engineer, as an entrepreneur and as someone who has proven the merits of capitalism and how capitalism can be used for the good of the world.
However there is one thing that Elon and I do not see eye to eye on. The concept of a “universal income” for everyone. Elon has made the notion that as artificial intelligence and robotics improve and automate our world more and more, that more people will be displaced from jobs, and therefore the only way to sustain society is to give everyone a basic income.
I have studied many arguments from many scholars, business leaders, and politicians on the pros and cons of this.
I see valid points on both sides. I even have a former acquaintance on social media who suggests that everyone should be given a free robot to do chores and work for them, so that people can pursue hobbies rather than work.
I see the compassion, empathy, and even a bit of logic in offering this. However I don’t see the reality of it, yet. Not to say that I can’t change my mind on this, it is possible that I will find this to be a plausible situation for human kind.
The thing that bothers me most, is that people like Elon, and others who have accomplished great things, only through the means of a capitalist system, would likely not be doing as great of things if capitalism did not exist.
Comparing the private space program to the government funded space programs, or alternative energy, or artificial intelligence both publicly funded and privately funded. It is my opinion that the private market does a much better job. People some times point out that the government had an intricate hand in development the internet, but my research shows me that the internet was well on its way, via private universities, and pretty much all of the technology that was used to link up the internet was developed in the private sector not the public sector.
I believe that all of the other human accomplishments would have happened with or without government as well.
Here is my major protest however. I am currently in the UK and will be traveling through a bit of Europe and I read in the paper every day how single payer insurance is failing and other aspects of publicly funded programs are failing. I will post some recent newspaper clippings below. It is also obvious that the USA who is very generous with handouts is so far in the whole, that we are beyond bankruptcy at a current 20 TRILLION dollar national debt (if you listen to Ron Paul, he explains why the national debt is MUCH greater than 20 trillion also), but even at just 20 trillion, no other nation has sustained such a debt. Greece is in another financial crisis and their debt to population ratio is MUCH less than the USA, and they are about to leave the EU over it.
If all of these public services are failing so tragically, how does Elon Musk or anyone else propose to solve the public sector and help it to become sustainable?
You can click on the photos of newspaper clippings from recent days and get a larger view.
I heard Joe Rogan talking about the approximate number that people should receive, and he was estimating it would need to be around $35,000.
Then you multiply that by 318 million, which is 11,130,000,000,000 (eleven trillion).
Our annual GDP is only 16.77 trillion
So 11.13 trillion for a basic income
Then $1,127 billion (1.127 trillion), including $646 billion for Medicaid, and $481 billion in other welfare.
That gives us only about 4 trillion left for running the country and defense, not to mention interest on current debt.
I can’t imagine any possible way for this to work. As of now
This quote from Ron Paul is my opinion and in fact a great solution to this problem. Rather than employing government force, with employ voluntary donations.
Another possibility, for humankind is for colonization of new planets, specifically as of now, Mars.
Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species