Jeff Bezos, conqueror of retail sales on Earth, is venturing into space next month on the first manned voyage of his Blue Origin company. As you might expect, this generated all kinds of opinions, and below are one each from the yea and nay camps:
- Bravo: At Time, Jeffrey Kluger makes the case that Bezos deserves much praise for the move. Sure, it might be a publicity stunt, but the challenges and risks are real. "The physics can be brutal—you try pulling the g-forces astronauts endure—and the machines can and do blow up," he writes. Somebody must go first, so give Bezos credit for stepping up. "Flying fast is fun," writes Kluger. "Flying first is brave. The mission planned for July 20 may well be just a billionaire's indulgence. But if so, it's being flown by a billionaire showing more than a little integrity."
- Not so much: In the opposing camp is Kara Alaimo at CNN. Given all his money, she would prefer that Bezos keep his focus on Earth rather than up in space. He could do so much on so many fronts—alleviating poverty, for instance, or providing pandemic aid. "For Bezos to throw his money so wantonly into the solar system is a bit of a sickening choice at a time in the world when people have been dying of [COVID] in India due to [lack] of oxygen," she writes, adding that he would do well to copy his ex-wife's philanthropic ways. "Bezos is certainly an admirably successful businessman—so successful, in fact, that he can afford to go to outer space while others go hungry," writes Alaimo. "But his latest exploit makes clear that for now, he's hardly a successful human being."
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