Elon Musk v Jeff Bezos: the ridiculous rivalry of the world’s richest men – The Guardian

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The wealth of the Tesla boss and would-be space coloniser has overtaken that of his Amazon rival. How does he plan to celebrate? By being as puerile as possible

Wed 29 Sep 2021 16.11 BST

Name: Elon Musk v Jeff Bezos.

Age: About two.

Appearance: Gold-plated, stomach-churning vulgarity.

Oh great, the Godzilla v Kong of turbo-gits. Now now, just because they’re both rich doesn’t mean that Musk and Bezos are monsters.

OK, you’re right, I was too quick to judge. Why are we talking about them? Musk wants to send Bezos a giant statue of the number two, along with a silver medal, after beating him to become the world’s richest person.

Can I judge them now? Sure, go ahead.

This is the most obnoxious thing I’ve ever heard. OK, fine, yes, it is quite gross. But if an obscenely wealthy billionaire can’t make fun of another obscenely wealthy billionaire in public, then what’s the point of having all that money?

You could do something useful with it, such as eradicating cancer. Bezos and Musk keep leapfrogging each other for the title of world’s richest person. Bezos has, for the most part, had more money than anyone since 2018, but a Tesla stock rally in January meant that Musk overtook him for the first time. Bezos regained the crown a month later. Then, in March, Musk had more money, then Bezos did again.

So what happened this time? Bezos lost a billion dollars on Monday.

Oh no, that’s an unthinkably large amount of money. What happened? Was there a devastating fire? A lawsuit? Will he have to sell his house? No. Amazon’s stock declined by half of 1%. That’s all.

Seriously, screw those guys. They’re each worth $200bn.

Sorry, that’s an unfathomably large number. Put it this way: they are each worth the equivalent of New Zealand’s GDP. If the wealth of either Musk or Bezos was divided equally between the population of the UK, we would each be £3,000 richer. If you stacked 200bn house bricks on top of each other, you would get about halfway to Mars.

So this rivalry is all about money? Well, money and space.

Space? Yes. Bezos and Musk are also locked in a battle to see who can become the first uncomfortably rich man to colonise space. Musk’s SpaceX was recently given a Nasa contract worth $2.9bn, and Bezos’s Blue Origin filed a lawsuit to dispute it.

Ugh. Musk wants to colonise Mars, but Bezos has ridiculed him for it. Bezos wants Amazon to launch internet-beaming satellites into space, which caused Musk to call him a “copycat”. It goes on and on.

It sounds like there might be some overcompensating here. What, from a man who literally just flew a giant phallus into space? Never.

Do say: “Musk and Bezos both want to be the world’s richest person.”

Don’t say: “Maybe let’s tax them properly?”

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