Elon Musk chose to take back control of his story
Elon Musk wants to take back control of his life story.
The billionaire has become the world’s most influential CEO, with over 107 million followers on Twitter alone.
Starlink, Musk’s secure, independent satellite Internet access service, currently serves all continents, helping to expand his influence globally.
Despite the turmoil that has rocked the markets this year, Tesla (TSLA) The president’s fortune is estimated at $262 billion as of September 21, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. There is no other person on earth in this $200 billion club.
His closest rival is Indian businessman Gautam Adani with an estimated fortune of $144 billion. and amazon (AMZN) CEO and competitor of Musk’s bid to conquer space, Jeff Bezos, with $142 billion.
But with the global economy faltering and economists and investors fearing it is slipping into an inflation-plagued recession, the spotlight may turn to the continuing widening of social and economic inequality.
In this context, the approach of the US midterm elections in November is likely to invigorate discourse within the left wing of the Democratic Party about how to tax the rich.
Musk, 51, just got a taste of what’s to come. He does not sit idly by and simply listen.
Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton, recently produced a video that went viral on social networks deconstructing what he calls the myth of self-made billionaires.
“Elon Musk came from a family that owned an emerald mine in apartheid South Africa,” Reich wrote on Twitter on September 20. Bill Gates’ mother helped Microsoft secure a deal with IBM. Jeff Bezos’ garage-based start-up was funded by a quarter-million-dollar investment from his parents. “Self-made billionaires are a legend.”
Musk initially chose to dismiss Reich’s remarks by calling him a “liar” and “an idiot”.
But then he seems to realize that letting others write or rewrite the text of his story might not be the right answer. In May, a long article in the New York Times about his childhood in South Africa, where he was born, caused an uproar.
Musk grew up “in isolated, elite white communities littered with anti-black government propaganda, and separated from the atrocities perpetrated by white political leaders on the black majority,” the paper said.
Rather than find himself on the defensive, Musk decided to get behind the wheel and describe his background in South Africa in first person.
“I went to public schools, not private, except for part of one year in third grade,” Musk wrote on Twitter on September 21.
“Medium Income, Non-Exclusive”
Then a Twitter user who seemed to know his background jumped in.
The user commented, “It’s semantics. The school in question is Pretoria Boys’ Secondary School, a prestigious semi-private tuition-fee school.” “I think it is very difficult to say that the average South African under apartheid would have been able to attend a school like this.”
The billionaire sneered: “Not true.” “There were tuition fees for students from outside the school district, which was a small part of the student body, including black students, but not for students in the district, as I was.”
“Also, I stayed there for 2.5 years, and I previously went to public schools for 9 years out of 12.”
The exchange between the two continued.
“Given that the school district is around the Brooklyn area of Pretoria, wouldn’t that do much on its own?” user said. “Come on, let’s not pretend it was not considered a prestigious school. Or that the average South African during the apartheid era went to a school like it.”
“Boise High School was a good school, but it was public, not private. Brooklyn would be considered a middle-income, not exclusive, neighborhood in America,” Musk said.
“I want to make it clear, I’m defending you, not attacking you here. But you can certainly admit that if you had grown up as a poor black kid in towns, without access to books or computers (or the ability to move to Canada), your odds of success would have been Much less “.
The billionaire admitted: “Absolutely.”
The father of Musk and the rumor
While Musk acknowledges it was a good start, he rejects the idea of having a privileged life or using family money to become a billionaire.
Rumors about Musk growing up amid the affluence and affluence were spread by his father, Errol, whom Musk detests, during two interviews with Business Insider South Africa in February 2018.
In these interviews, Errol asserts without evidence that he once owned half the share of an emerald mine in Zambia. He tells an unverified anecdote that, at age 16, Elon Musk and his brother Kimball sold two emeralds from the mine to Tiffany & Co. on Fifth Avenue in New York for $2,000.
“We were so wealthy,” Errol told Business Insider. “We had so much money sometimes we couldn’t even close our closet.”
But in 2020, Errol seemed to regret his 2018 comments and said in a Facebook post that Elon did not owe him his success. Instead, he said, Elon did it all on his own.
“My very limited involvement in a business deal in Zambia in the 1980s had nothing to do with South Africa, and this business could not be considered inappropriate. Nor was it conducive to Elon’s success in the USA, starting around 1999,” he wrote.
“Erol ran out of money in the ’90s,” Elon Musk said. “My brother and I have financially supported his extended family in South Africa since then on the condition that he doesn’t do bad things. Unfortunately, he did bad things:” September 21.
After graduating from high school at 17, Musk left South Africa for Canada to avoid supporting apartheid through compulsory military service and also to try to seize economic opportunities in the United States.
He attended Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and in 1992 transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a BA in Physics and Economics in 1995.
At the age of 24, he received his Ph.D. from Stanford University. program in physics but left after only two days because he believed the internet had more potential to change society than work in physics.
Before SpaceX in 2002 and Tesla in 2003, Musk founded Zip2 in 1995, a company that provides maps and business guides to online newspapers. In 1999, Zip2 was acquired by computer maker Compaq (HPQ) for $307 million.