Saturday, October 23, 2010

Where are the Eccentric Billionaires?

A lot of current art is derivative or disgusting where it is complete schlock to appeal to the common denominator or 'abrasive' by defiling or mocking approved things or people. it is still creative. There is another group of people lacking true creativity: billionaires. Modern billionaires are boring robots of wealth. They do their philanthropy with the same hands that they use to wring out as much money as possible from their industries. Larry Ellison is the closest we have to eccentric billionaire, but he loves toys and doing wild things like turning his swimming pool into a giant woofer. Most make their money, have fun and give to charity. Where is Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark? Why has no billionaire gone on vigilante streaks or even built megaweapons to hold the world hostage to their maniacal ways? Our billionaires are boring.

It is not too hard to go from billionaire to awesome billionaire out of an action story. Tony Stark is just a vigilante version of Alfried Krupp. Both are brilliant engineers who inherit weapon manufacturing conglomerates and are uber wealthy. Stark just happens to have more fun (sex) and fight crime with an exoskeleton. Sex and an exoskeleton are the two differences between them. Age cannot be an excuse as some of the billionaires out there are young like the Google or Facebook guys. They just need one change. The Google creators could 'retire' and then turn their lives to patrolling ghetto areas with robot cops or overthrowing 3rd world warlords with private armies with sophisticated weaponry. Howard Hughes was an awesome billionaire with eccentric behavior who was an oil man with innovator and test pilot tendencies. These are the possibilities. Instead we get nerdery, charity and boring billionaire lives.

If I were one of the Facebook/Google/Oil billionaires, I would go full throttle with eccentricity. With the wealth of a billionaire and the legacy of changing the world with your company already, why not make a splash? I'd spend some money in a partnership with the Japanese to help build their moon base. While the base is built (think cooler biosphere 2), I'd have to figure out revenue streams to pay for living there to limit the drawdown of my billions. Once complete I would go there myself to live, and allow for scientists to do studies there for a fee. I'd also have to have some robotic mining there and then use a mass driver to send the materials back to Earth. After a while, I'd have hydroponic vegetables and fruits along with lab grown meat for food. With the amount of water on the moon, I could maintain myself for quite a while. Once secure in that setting, I could then take a next step. Maybe set up the moon as a vacation spot or colony. With tax free status, it could draw mass immigration of knowledge based workers who write code, create digital art or literature or do scientific research that works in low gravity. The mass driver and difficult access would act as security. Maybe the next step is destroying nations with the mass driver until my demands are met. With a moon base, there are many possibilities. These possibilities are all better than what we see from our current billionaire class currently.

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