Elon Musk on govt on Mars: offers chance to recreate politics that benefit citizens

Business Insider US
Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Britta Pedersen / POOL / AFP via Getty Images
  • Elon Musk says there should be a direct democracy without representatives on Mars.
  • He told a podcast that the eventual colony should get rid of "special interests" and "coercion of politicians."
  • Musk also said SpaceX's plan to land humans on Mars should happen within 10 years.
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Elon Musk says human settlement on Mars could be a second chance to build a better government.

The billionaire Tesla and SpaceX CEO told podcaster Lex Fridman in a wide-ranging, 2.5-hour interview that putting humans on Mars is an opportunity to "rethink the whole nature of government, as was done in the creation of the United States" in the 18th century.

He suggested ditching the representative democracy model for a direct democracy.

"A representative democracy is subject to special interests and coercion of politicians and that kind of thing," Musk said in the interview, published on Tuesday. "I'd recommend that there is direct democracy — the population votes on laws themselves, and the laws must be short enough so that people can understand them."

Musk, often a vocal critic of US politicians and laws, said earlier in December that "government is the ultimate corporation," and that regulations can hinder innovation. He also told Time that the government should not be involved in people's assets, including his $297 billion net worth.

Musk also said during the chat that, worst-case scenario, SpaceX will land humans on the Red Planet in 10 years.

The timeline for SpaceX putting humans on Mars has been discussed in the past — Musk said in March that his company will land rockets on the planet "well before 2030."

And in January 2020, he said he planned to build a fleet of 1,000 ships and launch three of them a day to eventually transport 1 million people to Mars by 2050.

Musk is one player of many in the billionaire space race, with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos having flown to the edge of space via his Blue Origin company earlier this year. The firm plans to commercialise space travel and has since also taken actor William Shatner for a ride. SpaceX also flew a crew of tourists to space and back just days later.

Virgin Galactic's Richard Branson also flew to the edge of space himself in July. 

Critics have expressed concern with billionaires focusing on extraterrestrial endeavours amid problems that currently plague Earth — not to mention the massive carbon emissions from launches.

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