It’s My Party

I’ve not been paying attention to Elon Musk’s space project as it’s not in my field of interest. However, other people talking about the recent explosion made me take notice. It seems Pam Ayres is something of an expert in the matter.

A friend of mine commented on this piece stating that this was her feeling too. I’ve heard this argument so many times through my life – that others should do something with their money. Not as they wish, but as those who don’t have it wish. It pisses me off. My reply was polite, because this is a friend.

Not my feelings at all. Elon Musk is a dreamer and a risk taker. People like him were doing this over a century ago with early manned flight. I’m pretty sure people were saying that money could be better spent, too. Every major advance has started with dreamers and risk takers putting their own money down and losing some of it along the way during the research and development phase, which is where Musk is now.

If our species ever gets to the stars, it will be because of people like Musk doing just that. The money itself isn’t gone – it was used to pay the people involved and they spent that money back into the economy. I know the modern left decries trickle-down economics, however it’s a reality and it works. Ultimately, the only person to decide whether it is doing good or not is him. Just as – on a much smaller scale – people who tell me that I am wasting money on motorcycles get told that as it’s my money, I am the one who gets to decide.

Musk is following his dream and good for him. At least, unlike NASA, he is using his own money, not taking it from the taxpayer, and he hasn’t killed anyone.

Money is a bit like matter, it is neither created nor destroyed, it circulates from one to another. Okay, I know that the analogy isn’t precise, but for general purposes it works. Musk spent this money and the people he paid are kept in work and the people they pay are kept in work. Elon Musk has done far more for the good of humanity than governments do, which, frankly, is nothing of any use. As for doing good, well, give your own money if that’s how you feel. To be fair to my friend, she does – to a local cat charity, so that money is well spent as far as the cats are concerned, at least.

Bottom line here – it’s his money and what he spends it on is no one else’s business. If he spent all of it on the starving in Africa, he would end up broke and the starving in Africa would still be starving.


  1. ’The money itself isn’t gone – it was used to pay the people involved and they spent that money back into the economy.’

    Exactly! To read some of the commentary you’d think those billions were used as fuel!

  2. For trickle down economics to work it needs individuals to be doing something productive. The type of people that those on the left want it to trickle down to tend not to. So, for those people it doesn’t work no.

  3. I bet that she feels exactly that every time she accepts an excessive appearance fee.
    We, the UK taxpayer give Billions (less the cut the Raab’s poor bullied Servile Service take.) out to developing countries that can afford a Space Programme, nuclear weapons, and very wealthy families. Then we send super secret wonder weapons costing Billions to Russia with the Ukraine acting as well paid middle man. Amusingly, also a comedian.
    Way back when some bright spark was inventing the wheel there would have been a wise old Pamaares claiming that the wood would have kept a family of 15 warm for a day.
    Every advance in engineering, medicine, exploration, farming etc. etc. has been done by people risking their own money.
    Now that it is all decided by lobbyists and payed for by the taxpayer we get Ajax (the wonder weapon), carriers and destroyers which don’t quite work, Scottish ferries-ditto, H2S the suicide magnet which will get you from somewhere near London to oop north, faster than it takes you to get to the station, and (drum roll) mRNA money spinner and population controller.

  4. I’m afraid money IS created. Under the fractional reserve system and quantitative easing, that is precisely what happens, money out of thin air. Which, incidentally, causes inflation.

    Always thought of Musk as a bit of a twat but if he pays his taxes I don’t care what he blows his cash on.

    • As I said, it’s not an exact analogy. QE is really a massive fraud of course. In reality ‘money’ is simply a means of exchange and it merely moves from one to another as those exchanges take place. Musk didn’t waste any money unless he did as Julia suggested and put it in the tank as fuel. What we have now is the latest iteration. If it didn’t exist in this form, we find something else to use – bartering or some other means of measuring it. Just not leaves…

      My feelings on Musk have always been neutral. I thoroughly approve of his destruction of Twitter, That has been some serious free entertainment.

      • Agree about Twatter.

        Disagree about the money thing. Previous iterations had intrinsic value. They were rare and difficult to obtain. Silk, diamonds, gold, silver and bronze, etc. These things retain an inherent value today, precisely because of the reasons previously given. Even a bottle of vodka has an intrinsic value. Money, as we know it today, is virtually worthless. Pieces of paper and base metals masquerading as bullion. No better than the insane tulip bulb debacle, which ended up bankrupting millionaires overnight.

        When it all goes tits up (it’s coming soon) it will be cheaper to wipe your bum with 20 pound notes than using them to buy bog roll.

        Not arguing, just sayin’ 🙂

    • At this point, we should be careful to distinguish between wealth and money. Wealth consists of resources and human effort, which can be used to produce useful, or at least saleable, goods and services. Money is essentially an accounting tool used to simplify transactions as compared with a barter system; it’s much easier to hand the till operator at the supermarket some money, rather than trying to set up some complicated arrangement of deals and favours for your week’s food. Quantitative easing is just another, rather crude, tax – it artificially increases the Government’s spending power at our expense.

      Of course, quite a lot of effort and resources went up in one big kaboom when that rocket failed. We can hope that Musk’s crew learned enough from whatever telemetry they got that it ends up being worth it to them – in other words, that they can build a reliable launch system and that the access to space it provides generates more value than the wealth expended to do so. Since I believe the human race does need to get beyond this one small rock into the wider universe, I’m actually quite optimistic on that.

      On the other hand, giving away wealth as social security benefits often enough results in it simply being consumed. If it keeps a generally productive member of society going until they get back on their feet, good; but one hears of too many cases of multigenerational unemployment and so forth. That, unfortunately, is the sort of “good” that the likes of Pam Ayres are generally referring to.

      • How much dependency is caused by foreign aid? If poorer countries had been forced to build themselves a functioning economy rather than relying on Western Countries’ hand outs they might not be poor now.

        • …and if my aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle. 😀

          Sub-Saharan Africa has failed to progress from tribes and chieftains mode of operation. The various colonies only substituted their own variants of democracy and that ceased when the colonists (mostly) left.

          Zimbabwe and South Africa are on the same route, gradually returning back to the tribalism of the big chief of pre-colonial days.

          The chances of a functional economy are less now than they were when we were in charge.

  5. Don’t forget that when NASA was just getting ready to land the first men on the moon, the usual race grifters were making the same bogus claims then “Billions for space and pennies for the hungry” being one poster held up by some rather well fed Section 8 Momma, who’d clearly never passed up an opportunity for another slice of pie.

    It wouldn’t matter the topic under discussion, the grift continues.

    “Gotta have mo’ money for dem programs”.

  6. The $3bn is an invented number.
    The whole ethos of SpaceX is hardware-rich development i.e. build a test, try it, learn, build another.

    The starship involved in this test (No.24) was already obsolete and headed for the scrapheap if not used for this early launch trial. Many built and used for trials of other parts of the flight profile. So the original build cost was a hundred times less than the ‘3 billion’, and as mentioned, already used and now almost scrap value.
    The booster was No.7, and the first every launch attempt. It’s a tube of thin stainless steel. Not hugely expensive.

    SpaceX is the ONLY company capable of rocket reuse (yes, others are playing catchup, but yet to orbit anything) and has launched hundreds of times with perfect success. The cost of orbiting a science payload is lower than ever before: something for the climate-obsessed to ponder.

    It’s NASA, spending the taxpayers dosh that builds $3bn-a-shot fireworks for entertainment value.

    And yes, my answer is to suggest the critic’s wealth is wrongly spent on the critic and should immediately be spent on a another round.

    • As I said, I’ve not been following it so was unaware of this level of detail. Not that it matters particularly as the principle here is that it is Musk’s wealth and he should do with it as he chooses.

      As far as the comments regarding money are concerned, I don’t think there is gulf between our positions on this. I used a fairly crude analogy to make the point that whatever he spent, it is swilling around in the economy doing good by being used to create wealth for others.

      Whether it was dollar bills or a series of ones and zeros in a computer again, doesn’t matter over much, it is doing good for someone, somewhere. It wasn’t blown up with the rocket.

  7. I’ve been thinking about the presumption of those people who think they have a right to lecture other people about how they spend their own money. I’m mentioned in passing here that I’ve just splurged on a new digital piano. I’m not really a good enough pianist to justify it, but it’s my money. Anyone who suggested that I could have done more good by giving the money to charity can get stuffed. The money for developing and producing it will go to Japan and Indonesia of course.

    An old work colleague had a theory about value for money for your purchases. He used the formula, how much it costs divided by how many times you get to use it. The piano does get played every day so that number will keep coming down.

    • After the smoking ban came in, I was sitting on a public bench ‘enjoying’ a smoke when a complete stranger sat down and proceeded to tell me that I would have a lot more money if I didn’t smoke. I wondered if her next stop would be the cafe where she would advise the customers accordingly. Why do some people never develop the intelligence to realise that there are boundaries beyond which their interference, no matter how well-meaning, shouldn’t stray?

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