Billionaire Elon Musk has often been described as an ‘extreme capitalist’ but what are the political views of the world’s richest man? The answer to this question is not so straightforward.
In 2011, Elon Musk described himself as “half Democrat, half Republican” adding that he finds himself somewhere in between, “socially liberal and fiscally conservative.”
Meanwhile, in one of his tweets, he says that he feels like a ‘socialist’ but “not one of those who take resources from productive people to distribute to the less productive, under the pretense that they are doing well in the meantime which in reality cause more harm”.
Later, he asked his more than 80 million Twitter followers not to take his posts too seriously.
Of course, these are just some of the things Elon Musk has said about politics, but what do they say about it?
During a discussion about the latest developments in technology, Elon Musk spoke in favor of applying a ‘universal basic wage’.
In fact, Elon Musk is not just in favor of this idea but he has said that there will come a day when it will become a necessity.
The Universal Basic Wage is a type of monthly social assistance that, according to Musk, will become necessary to pay the world’s citizens at a time when automation will force millions of people out of work as their professions are replaced. from robots and artificial intelligence.
This is a concept that would immediately classify him as an adherent of the left and liberal policies, but Elon Musk is a bit more complicated than that.
Left vs. Right
First, a bit of context about the political spectrum in the US – the country that South African Elon Musk has called “the most perfect democracy, which today has the greatest force to do good, compared to any other country”.
The leftists or liberals – who currently hold power in the US – strongly emphasize the importance of a ‘big government’, otherwise known as big government, on the grounds that the state should have great power over individuals and businesses, which includes high taxes for the rich and ideally, large expenditures for social programs, although unfortunately in practice this is not always the case.
The right on the other hand, or conservatives, are centered around the “cult” of the individual and they lobby for a government or state as small as possible – on the grounds that for the capitalist economic model to manifest its full potential, taxes especially on the elites rich, should be kept to a minimum, so that the free market itself selects the “strongest” and decides who should advance and who should not.
Of course, there is also a principled context that separated what are often known as the “2 Americas”.
This boundary separates those Americans who find themselves closer to the right-wing conservative model – which is closely tied to religious principles, especially Judeo-Christian ones – from those who fit the left-liberal model, which claims to be more inclusive of different communities. or even more pro immigration policies.
This spectrum certainly also includes the adherents of the center or those who often define themselves as libertarian.
Libertarians in principle seek to maximize the autonomy of the individual, minimizing the state and placing a special emphasis on freedom of expression and social policies.
They are skeptical of authority and placing a large amount of power in the hands of a few individuals. This is also the reason why they believe that ordinary citizens should be more involved in politics.
Elon Musk has often been described as a libertarian, but he has never said no to massive government subsidies, especially during the right-wing administration of President Donald Trump.
A 2012 report by the Sunlight Foundation revealed that Elon Musk had spent over $4 million lobbying the US Congress and over $800,000 in political contributions to Democrats and Republicans.
The same report showed that during the 2012 election alone, Musk had spent $250,000 on the campaign of former US President Barack Obama.
These staggering numbers show that Elon Musk is not so much right-wing or pro-small state – especially if it helps him to benefit from large sums of government concessions and subsidies.
Now the billionaire is focused on the possible purchase of one of the largest social networks – Twitter – which is also the main platform used by American politicians to voice their opinions.
Some critics of Musk have called this move “dangerous”, expressing concern that such a large amount of data could be concentrated in the hands of a single person, especially a person like Elon Musk, who is interested in maximizing his income.
On the other hand, before he offered to buy this social network for a full $ 40 billion, Musk has made some harsh criticisms against Twitter, saying that this platform censors freedom of expression.
Elon Musk is known above all for his bombastic and often controversial statements, which makes it even more difficult to define him in a single political camp.
When they call him right-wing, he surprises with statements against anti-immigration policies. When they call him a leftist, he surprises with statements against anti-Covid measures. Elon Musk is a difficult man to define, and in general, the best are.