No matter how you might slice it, this post will most likely come off as judgmental, at the very least to some folks. So before I begin this short wonderment (yep, I’m simply wondering “what if” in it) let me make myself clear. I don’t think there is anything wrong with the concept of free enterprise. I personally think that without it….well, let’s just say that I don’t think it would be very pretty economy wise.
Today was a headline day. Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, his brother, an eighty two year old woman, and an 18 year old kid lifted off from a space pad in Texas (owned by Blue Origin, a Bezos company) aboard the manned space rocket New Shepherd for a very short jaunt into space. The launch was the culmination of years of research, many unmanned lift-offs, and tons and tons of money spent on the project. The seat space that the kid held aboard the short flight, for example, cost him a mere 28 million bucks…and he was the second highest bidder for the ride!
Now, to be fair, Bezos isn’t the only one in the game. Does the name Elon Musk ring a bell? I’m sure that between the two (who seem to be competing in this new “game”) the amount of money spent over the past ten years (at least), with much, much more to come, would at least equal the GNP of more than a couple of countries. Another disclaimer is called for here; I fully understand that the money they are spending is their own money, and I will defend to death their right to spend their own money as they see fit. They can spend all of their own money to swell their overfilled egos for all I care…..it’s their money.
I have absolutely no idea, nor do I really care, how much either of those space competitors spend on projects that are in keeping with the abundance of biblical admonitions to care for the least of these. For all I know, they may contribute heavily to such things.
What I do know is this; one can go through almost any town or city across the country and see gobs of homeless and jobless folks. It has increased dramatically over the past decade. It wasn’t all that long ago when we didn’t see huge tent cities popping up in urban areas. I don’t think that it’s unnatural to wonder how far a billion or two would go in addressing those issues. Or, perhaps medical research. Or what about mental health. Hey, you name it, there is always a lot of needs around, needs that if addressed would have a positive effect on society at large. How about, for instance, helping fund or starting new churches in neighborhoods that need them? The list goes on.
In closing, I will get off my podium of indignation and resume life by saying once again, it’s their money and they can do what they want with it. That said, I find it hard to let go of the sadness that comes from a situation that, to me, screams “look at me and what I can do, because I want to do it and I can do it, and I don’t care what it costs.”
It might be really interesting to be the fly on the wall as they were sitting and having a conversation with Jesus. I wonder how that would go.
PS: the picture above is a free to use photo of a space rocket and is not a picture of the Ego Shepherd, er….New Shepherd that was launched today.