Quote of the Day: Abundance

 

“America’s abundance was created not by public sacrifices to ‘the common good,’ but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes. They did not starve the people to pay for America’s industrialization. They gave the people better jobs, higher wages and cheaper goods with every new machine they invented, with every scientific discovery or technological advance—and thus the whole country was moving forward and profiting, not suffering, every step of the way.” – Ayn Rand

Reactions to the Billionaires’ Space Race underscore this quote’s relevance today. Bezos and Branson using their bucks to travel into space has triggered a lot of jealousy and envy. Their flights have been decried as a stunt. There are calls to tax or ban this type of space travel.

Ignored is that Branson, Bezos, and Musk used their own money to build a commercial space infrastructure that gave them access to space travel. They spent their own private fortunes to pursue their own personal interest to travel in space. In the process, they have created jobs in the commercial space sector and permitted cheaper access to space. Good jobs – ones that are productive. And in the process, they are creating abundance and new opportunities for all.

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  1. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    I remember Bezos from when he started a little one-man website selling used books on the internet. I think he called it Amazon.

    • #1
  2. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    “Ignored is that Branson, Bezos, and Musk used their own money to build a commercial space infrastructure gave them access to space travel”….there isn’t any such thing as ‘their own money’ (or ‘your own money’) in the ‘Progressive’ worldview.

     

     

    • #2
  3. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    I’m somehow on the mailing list for some left-wing ‘petition’ site called Demand Progress.  The current one is a demand that, since Bezos is spending his money on space travel “rather than using his wealth to fight the devastating impacts of climate change, end hunger and homelessness, or even just pay Amazon workers a living wage”, there should be a wealth tax to take on the unprecedented power of the billionaires and help solve more problems down on planet Earth.”

    Intellectual curiosity and a sense of wonder are totally alien to these people.

    Yet Bezos supports them—wonder if he will ever do any rethinking…

    • #3
  4. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    David Foster (View Comment):
    I’m somehow on the mailing list for some left-wing ‘petition’ site called Demand Progress.  The current one is a demand that, since Bezos is spending his money on space travel “rather than using his wealth to fight the devastating impacts of climate change, end hunger and homelessness, or even just pay Amazon workers a living wage”, there should be a wealth tax to take on the unprecedented power of the billionaires and help solve more problems down on planet Earth.”

    Screw ’em. That’s the only responsible response. To quote Thomas Sowell:

    Since this is an era when many people are concerned about ‘fairness’ and ‘social justice,’ what is your ‘fair share’ of what someone else has worked for?

    And my answer to that question is nothing.

    • #4
  5. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    I remember Bezos from when he started a little one-man website selling used books on the internet. I think he called it Amazon.

    About that time a co-worker suggested I apply for a job there. The “help wanted” ad looked interesting, but I decided against applying because I would have to move to Washington State. I still think I made the right decision.

    • #5
  6. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Yeah, but the Cool Britannia guy and the WaPo leftie are still people I don’t admire and never will. It’s still sort of amusement park ride stuff. Expensive amusement park ride. There may be real benefits in the future but they are decades away. It will be difficult and expensive to build infrastructure in space and much more needs to be done in robotics. 

     

    • #6
  7. Franz Drumlin Member
    Franz Drumlin
    @FranzDrumlin

    I have used this quote before in commenting on other posts but it is so apropos that I’m going to do it again:

     

               A society that refuses to strive for superfluities is likely to end up lacking in necessities.
           

                                                                                         –  Eric Hoffer

    • #7
  8. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Yeah, but the Cool Britannia guy and the WaPo leftie are still people I don’t admire and never will. It’s still sort of amusement park ride stuff. Expensive amusement park ride. There may be real benefits in the future but they are decades away. It will be difficult and expensive to build infrastructure in space and much more needs to be done in robotics.

    Does it matter whether we admire them or do not admire them? It’s what they accomplish that matters. There were folks claiming the Wrights and Glen Curtiss were doing amusement park ride stuff back 110 years ago. 

    The benefit is not what they are doing now, amusement park ride stuff. The benefit lies in that they are reducing the cost of access to space. It has dropped 97% in 25 years. It is expected to continue to drop, possibly another order of magnitude or two in the next 20 years. That makes a lot of things profitable that were not profitable 25 years ago and are not profitable today. It is difficult and expensive to build infrastructure in space today. If the price drops another 90-95% not so much. And the drop and expected further drops in price are largely due to billionaires wanting to travel in space.

    • #8
  9. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Yeah, but the Cool Britannia guy and the WaPo leftie are still people I don’t admire and never will. It’s still sort of amusement park ride stuff. Expensive amusement park ride. There may be real benefits in the future but they are decades away. It will be difficult and expensive to build infrastructure in space and much more needs to be done in robotics.

    Does it matter whether we admire them or do not admire them? It’s what they accomplish that matters. There were folks claiming the Wrights and Glen Curtiss were doing amusement park ride stuff back 110 years ago.

    The benefit is not what they are doing now, amusement park ride stuff. The benefit lies in that they are reducing the cost of access to space. It has dropped 97% in 25 years. It is expected to continue to drop, possibly another order of magnitude or two in the next 20 years. That makes a lot of things profitable that were not profitable 25 years ago and are not profitable today. It is difficult and expensive to build infrastructure in space today. If the price drops another 90-95% not so much. And the drop and expected further drops in price are largely due to billionaires wanting to travel in space.

    The Wright Bros built the plane they flew. It was novel.

    Bezos et al are doing things that are derivative. While he may have political views in common with Yuri Gagarin, Bezos isn’t Yuri Gagarin.

    Aviation advanced as a result of governments being in a race with each other, spending lots of money, and two world wars were part of that cost. It was private companies with government contracts that advanced aviation. General Electric advanced the financing of airplanes so it is more affordable to fly.

    The space race advanced because of a race between two different governments, spending lots of money and fortunately no world war. There is a new space race taking shape. Private companies have always been a part of the race in the United States and should continue to be. So having private companies involved in the space race isn’t new either.

    You mention costs and the cost coming down 97% over 25 years. That is a good thing. But keep it in perspective.  I’ve heard of Cool Brittania thinking seats would sell for $200-500,000 for a trip. If it comes down by 97%, that means the cost will still be $6-15,000. Not cheap for a joy ride. And the $28,000,000 for Bezos’ contraption would still be $840,000. In other words, it’s not like those $2 rides in an airplane at the county fair.

    You attribute the cost to billionaires wanting to fly in space. I would have thought privated companies wanting to launch satellites which has been going on for a long time would be no small part.

    • #9
  10. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Ayn Rand is still much under appreciated even after all she made so clear.  She was cranky and unattractive and had a thick Russian accent.  I wonder if she would have succeeded among the popular crowd had she been more attractive.  Nah.  They hated Melania Trump, too.

    She saw first hand how the communists worked their power and warned us of them.  She warned us to not accept their premises of socialism and other nonsense, but the right persisted, most notably through the Bush dynasty and their acolytes, to push a “kinder, gentler” socialism.  See the result.  The only way to defeat communism is through a full throated moral defense of laissez-faire  capitalism and property rights.

    • #10
  11. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Not much of an Ayn Rand fan, but she nails it in this quote. Thanks.

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    • #11
  12. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    David Foster (View Comment):

    “Ignored is that Branson, Bezos, and Musk used their own money to build a commercial space infrastructure gave them access to space travel”….there isn’t any such thing as ‘their own money’ (or ‘your own money’) in the ‘Progressive’ worldview.

    There’s another good example of this kind of situation in James Lileks’ first “regular” appearance on the “Flagship” Ricochet Podcast, from July 8, 2010.

    https://www.adrive.com/public/J5jzxs/Ricochet%20Podcast%2007-08-10%20Jabba%20the%20Fed.mp3

    • #12
  13. GlennAmurgis Coolidge
    GlennAmurgis
    @GlennAmurgis

    The same people complaining about Bezos et al have no problem with the Clintons/Obamas/Bidens …. using their political connections and name to make money.

     

    • #13
  14. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    GlennAmurgis (View Comment):
    The same people complaining about Bezos et al have no problem with the Clintons/Obamas/Bidens …. using their political connections and name to make money.

    The difference is Bezos is doing something useful with his money. The corruptocrat class are just accumulating it. Presumably behaving like Scrooge McDuck and piling your cash in a swimming pool is more acceptable than spending it on developing launch infrastructure.

    • #14
  15. Nanocelt TheContrarian Member
    Nanocelt TheContrarian
    @NanoceltTheContrarian

    Bezos is no John Galt. A hundred million dollars to Van Jones?  The Washington Post? I hear rumors that it was Bezos’ wife who was the brains behind his success. And he ran a deficit for years. He relied on the credit and largesse of others for a very long time. He benefitted greatly from the great good will of a capitalist society that he is now bent on destroying. Or maybe he is just paying off the Left to avoid their attacks on his industrial pursuits. It takes a lot of carbon emissions to rocket in to space. 

    Elon Musk using his own money?  What were all those Tesla subsidies about? Seems to me he is using a lot of our money that the government gave him so De Caprio et al. could get  discounts on  Teslas and  signal green virtue. While Musk burns rocket fuel like there is no tomorrow. 

    Branson seems  to me the most independently entreupeneurial of the three. But I could be wrong. 

    • #15
  16. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    To repeat a comment I made on the post by @stad concerning a proposal to tax personal space travel, the firsts of lots of things – indoor plumbing, the telephone, television, automobiles, airplanes, personal computers, mobile telephones, and on and on and on – looked initially as though they were nothing more than extravagant luxuries or playthings for rich people. Our current uses of most of these developments are quite different from what the developers initially intended. Letting people decide opens up far more imagination than does central planning.

    [Non-members of Ricochet may not be able to read Stad’s post. You’ll just have to sign up to become a member to see the cool stuff in the Member Feed. :) ]

     

    • #16
  17. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Nanocelt TheContrarian (View Comment):
    Elon Musk using his own money?  What were all those Tesla subsidies about? Seems to me he is using a lot of our money that the government gave him so De Caprio et al. could get  discounts on  Teslas and  signal green virtue. While Musk burns rocket fuel like there is no tomorrow. 

    He didn’t make the subsidies.  Why shouldn’t he conform to government incentives?  He still has to make a car that people want.  See the truck?  People wouldn’t buy a vehicle they don’t like, no matter what subsidies.  

    • #17