Billionaires Buying The World


There was a concept of privatised Earth or a private colony on Mars that was promoted in science fiction literature and movies. Elon Musk, considered the Tony Stark (Marvel Character) of our time, has done—probably—the unthinkable by buying Twitter. What began as a mere casual conversation on Twitter in 2017 when Musk jokingly asked the price of Twitter as if he was planning to buy a household item, materialised into a milestone deal for the South African-born entrepreneur. Musk eventually bought Twitter for USD 44 billion, in cash. Musk’s purchase led to mixed emotions surfacing. Activists from the political scenario opine that Musk will reduce content moderation and allow for free speech to flourish in its real meaning on Twitter. The conservatives view this as loosening control and giving more roo

m for conversations and sharing of information. However, human rights advocates fear that hate speech will rise as a result of this freedom. One wonders; how will fake news emerge on Twitter if there is little content moderation? Interestingly, Musk is not the largest shareholder of Twitter despite him spending USD 44 billion. Musk’s shares are 9.20 percent. The highest shares are owned by The Vanguard Group, Inc (10.29 percent), Morgan Stanley (8.08 percent), BlackRock Fund Advisors (4.56 percent), and SSgA Funds Management, Inc (4.54 percent) (Source: CNN Business). Explaining his vision for Twitter, Musk said, “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.” The concepts of “free speech” and “future of humanity” are the most important when it comes to Twitter and Musk. Earlier in April, Musk even asked on Twitter if the users needed an edit button—a feature that somehow was never embedded into this website. 73.6 percent of respondents were in favour of the edit button. This was perhaps the first step in loosening the grip on content and allowing users to Tweet and edit as they see fit. Furthermore, the concept of the “future of humanity” is integral to Musk’s vision behind SpaceX. He has actively shared his thoughts on colonising Mars. He has focused on four aspects to achieve his dream of sending humans to the Red Planet. They are rockets that can be reused, fuel refilling stations in orbit, propellant production on Mars, and efficient methods of traveling in space. It seems that Musk is not the only one to invest heavily in a tech company. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. bought 121 million shares in Hewlett Packard (HP) earlier in April. This gives Berkshire an 11.4 percent stake in the company. Perhaps Buffet will bring 3D printing to households or create a revolution in digital products. When talking about investments made by a billionaire, Bill Gates’ investment may indeed be an awkward one indeed. Gates, the fourth richest man in the world, is also the largest private farmland owner in the US—an investment decision that raised eyebrows across the world. The inconsistency between Gates’ public environmental advocacy and his investment strategy has been under criticism by environmental activists and farmers. According to agfundernews.com, Bill Gates is the owner of nearly 242,000 acres of farmland in 19 states across the US. His largest land ownership is in Louisiana (69,071 acres), followed by Arkansas (47,927 acres) and Arizona (25,750 acres).

(Courtesy Nation, Pakistan)