Now what are we to make of it? Well, we have astrophysicists neil degrasse tyson here to help us think it through. First, i want to share some of the context: there’s, nothing new about corporations leading research or technology around the world, and that means, if you think about it, that rich people shape many of these key decisions. But right now, this current space race is within a raging pandemic and a lot of inequality and it’s drawing unusually intense backlash. There are memes joking about how out of touch it looks. There are lawmakers raising the inequality, arguing that these billionaires are holding wealth, so they can launch hoarding wealth as they launch themselves into space. Meanwhile, the congress person for the tech, heavy seattle says it looks like billionaires, making fortunes off companies with massive climate footprints and use the money to escape the burning planet. Amidst all of this, one satirical online petition is just saying: maybe bezos shouldn’t be allowed to return to earth. Over 160 000 people signed that so what’s going on here well, part of it is due to the sense that things are not good here on earth. Specifically right now, europe’s underwater many parts of the world are on fire. The climate crisis rages covid’s surging people are poor and without food, jeff bezos amidst this has gotten richer than ever. His total wealth growing over 90 billion dollars during the pandemic, and while these billionaires can live in their own bubble, they don’t have to respond to anyone.
In politics or in journalism, i can tell you they: don’t have to take interview. Requests. Bezos did see the need to speak out. Take a look. There are critics who say: look this is you know again richard branson and you jeff bezos, rich guys on a joy ride, um. What will come out of this? Of course people said: look. We have so many problems here on earth and they’re right and we need to do both and we’ve always done both. We need to focus on here and now and we need to look to the future that’s his answer of what he says: he’s doing and there’s a larger history. Here there was a lot of turmoil during the 1960s over many issues, and people did question whether the government should be spending so much on space again, given all the problems on earth. What are your thoughts as far as science goes and everybody that’s involved with the moon, landing enhancement? It’S beautiful you know like me, i couldn’t care this less more to you than that yeah much more cash they wasted as far as i’m concerned and getting to the moon could have been used to feed poor black people and harlem and all over the place. I think it’s, a waste of money people are going hungry all over the united states. Then, as now, these ethical issues echo, i want to tell you that’s, actually a clip from summer of seoul, a documentary by quest love who works on our sister channel nbc and explores how people at a harlem music festival dealt with many issues, including the debates over Spending so much on apollo 11.
, in fact poet and musician guild. Scott heron put the question in one of his famous spoken word pieces. The rat done bit my sister nell, with whitey on the moon and her face and arms began to swell and white is on the moon. I can’t pay no doctor bills, but white is on the moon ten years from now, i’ll be paying still while white is on the moon. You know the man just up my rent last night, because white is on the moon, no hot water, no toilets and no lights, but white is on the moon. There is nothing new about debating and really scrutinizing where our money goes in a world of heartbreaking inequality and whether the money’s going to the right places. Now we always want to give you all the facts here. A lot of the defenders of this space race today point out that there is a different dynamic if these billionaires are going to space for themselves and using their own money, which is different than tax subsidies. But that’s also tricky because billionaires seem pleased to build. And then hoard wealth at our own expense, as one article put it there’s no cause to expect them to democratize space any more than they’ve democratized prosperity, that’s from new york magazine, and you always have to ask what does it mean when business people say they’re doing It by themselves there’s a question here about what the ultra wealthy are really spending bezos, for example, many say isn’t paying his fair share.
He’S dodged income taxes over several years, despite becoming the richest person on earth and many of these programs, while technically private, are still subsidized through our model of capitalism. Take a look at this 220 million dollars of taxpayer money built richard branson spaceport in new mexico. So yes, tomorrow, bezos will blast into space and there is the exploration here of the possibility of a private age of space travel where really rich people could see this view that you’re looking at with their own eyes.