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The La Salle Falconer

The student news site of La Salle Catholic College Preparatory.

The La Salle Falconer

The student news site of La Salle Catholic College Preparatory.

The La Salle Falconer

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Unchecked and Untethered: The Problem With Elon Musk

What makes a man: Is it his assets? Or his actions? Elon Musk profits endlessly, not thinking about how he gains his wealth, or the influence that comes with it.
Gwen Brown
Headlines, broadcast segments, and social media posts; all eyes on Musk.

Elon Musk, and billionaires like him, are creeping towards oligarch status at an alarming pace. 

Being one of the richest men in the word, Musk’s name is often in headlines with his groundbreaking corporations and impacts on the lives of many average Americans. 

Recently, his actions have become increasingly concerning. 

Musk has been identifying more and more with the alt-right community, spewing claims of fake news in the media — saying he is amazed “some people still think the news is real” — and inciting outrage at his actions on X, formerly known as Twitter, which he now owns.

Musk has 181 million followers on X, and posts very frequently. However, Musk doesn’t seem to take this influence seriously, posting memes or lying about his age on his account. These actions, along with Musk being a free speech absolutist, give people a place to post hate speech and lies. 

In our society, it seems like the best way to make more money is to already have money, and Musk is no exception. Being born into the wealthy South African Musk family, Musk slingshotted into millionaire status, and after that his success seemed exponential. So the rich keep on getting richer. There are no checks and balances on a single person’s wealth or the influence they can wield.

Wealth and power go hand in hand in our democracy, and it is beginning to feel like our government — supposedly based on the choice of the people — is based on the choice of just an elite few, like Musk. 

Up until recently, Musk showed a lot of support for the Democratic party, endorsing Barack Obama in 2012, Hillary Clinton in 2016, and voting for Joe Biden in 2020. However, his political stance took a turn after 2020, moving more to the right and attacking the left as a whole, saying “today’s Democratic party has been hijacked by extremists.”

Musk’s actions aren’t only putting him in the spotlight, but his companies too. With many large corporations such as Warner Bros., Walmart, Apple, and Disney pulling their ads from X after Musk’s endorsement of anti-semitic arguments, X is struggling after this crucial loss of revenue. Yet this seemingly did not affect usage, only income, as X still floats around the most popular apps on iPhones.

Recently, Tesla had to recall 2.2 million vehicles from the roads upon government orders. This is also along with complaints on how long it took for Cybertrucks to get to buyers and lack of charging stations. As Tesla’s lead in product design, manufacturing, and engineering, in addition to the roles he has in his other companies, does Musk have too much on his plate? 

Having leadership roles in six large companies, Musk is extremely busy, saying that after acquiring X he works 120 hour weeks. Anyone under this much pressure is bound to make mistakes, and probably makes many. Mistakes he makes on the job may get checked by others, but his actions outside of work do not. This includes mistakes like endorsing anti-semites, which impact entire religious groups negatively.

Musk is just one piece of the puzzle, and the one with the most eyes on him. The uber-rich often use their money to do extravagant things, like Mark Zuckerberg building a secret compound in Hawaii, with strict NDAs for everyone building it, or Jeff Bezos going to space for fun. These things get press attention, but what about the things that don’t? Many billionaires are able to stay out of the press, but Musk seems to seek out controversy everywhere he goes.

For a man who impacts so many people every day, whether it’s through his internet company Starlink, his social media platform, or seeing a Tesla driving to work, more people should question the actions he’s taking. With how much scrutiny people in elected positions of power get, why should a man who depends on citizens for his income, with just as much influence, go unchecked?

A focus on limiting the endless wealth and power a single man can have is a place to start. After a certain point, what value does money have? It is up to each individual person to take a stand to prevent someone from becoming so rich they have a monopoly on many aspects of everyday life. Multiple of Musk’s companies rely on revenue from civilians to stay running, so if people don’t engage with these companies Musk will take a big revenue hit. America was founded on ideals of equality and holding those in positions of power accountable, so it shouldn’t support someone who takes away accountability. 

We can all get riled up over posts on X, spending hours arguing over the internet, or we can take action. It is essential that the foundations of this country don’t crumble. It is not difficult and impactful to do small things, like boycotting the use of Musk’s companies. He should not be robbed of all his earnings, but the hoarding of wealth needs to be stopped. This is not just about Elon Musk and his companies — it is about everyone and how they act as consumers. Consumers are the ones responsible for funding massive companies. 

Consumer consciousness is extremely important to giving those who own so many vital corporations checks on their power. Everyone taking just a couple extra moments to think about the apps they use, cars they drive, and things they buy can change a lot. Consumer consciousness would not only prevent the hoarding of wealth for one man, but for everyone. 

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