Recent news has seen much attention paid to the so-called “Billionaire Space Race” as the ultra-wealthy vie for dominance not just in the marketplace, but in the “final frontier.” Not a few have pointed to the different uses toward which Messrs. Bezos, Branson, and Musk could have put their ostensibly disposable income (improving working conditions, addressing world hunger or climate change, paying income taxes…things like that).
Living, as I do, in one of the wealthiest areas of the United States (with its shadow side of some of the highest cost of living and deepest income inequality), my children are frequently enamored by the super-wealthy and their conspicuous consumption. Not a few times, they’ve asked me over meals if I’d like to be a billionaire, to which I reply with no irony and to their shock: “No, because I don’t want to go to hell.”
Lately, as I was perusing Covenant‘s archives, I came across this essay from Craig Uffman that seemed especially suited for some of these present contexts, and which I present for your edification.
— Eugene R. Schlesinger, editor of Covenant.