Elon Musk’s role in the U.S. government and his influence across various industries have become a significant cause for concern. A newly published article in The New Yorker highlights how the government is struggling to rein in Musk’s power and decision-making.
The U.S. government has become heavily reliant on Elon Musk’s companies, such as SpaceX and Tesla, in critical areas like space exploration, transportation and the future of energy.
SpaceX is the sole means of transporting NASA crew into space, and the government’s plans for electric cars largely depend on Tesla, The New Yorker reports Monday. This dependency presents challenges, as Musk’s risk-taking and capricious nature make him difficult to control.
Musk’s unique position as a civilian arbiter in geopolitical conflicts, like the Ukrainian war, creates unfamiliar challenges for the government. The Pentagon struggled to negotiate a contractual arrangement with SpaceX to ensure consistent services and prevent Musk from abruptly withdrawing support. Musk’s involvement and influence in conflicts between nations is unprecedented, states The New Yorker.
High-ranking officials from various government agencies, including NASA, the Department of Defense and the Department of Transportation, now treat Musk as an unofficial decision-maker. Current and former officials express both admiration for Musk’s insights and profound misgivings about the extent of his influence. Some feel the government is living off Musk’s goodwill, which is less than ideal.
Musk often expresses ambivalence about how his technology is being used and deployed. For example, he hesitated to provide internet service to Ukraine due to concerns over the conflict’s escalation. Musk’s pragmatic interests, such as maintaining good relationships with officials in China, influence his decisions. His power and influence extend beyond business and technology into political discourse, as he recently rebranded Twitter as “X.”
Musk’s personal background and experiences, including a tumultuous relationship with his father and being bullied at school, have shaped his character. Musk has stated that he has Asperger’s syndrome, which affects his social interactions. These personal factors contribute to his sometimes impulsive and unpredictable behavior.
The New Yorker reports that Musk’s shadow rule poses challenges for the U.S. government as his influence transcends traditional boundaries in various industries. The government’s reliance on Musk’s companies, his decision-making in geopolitical conflicts and his growing power in shaping political discourse raise concerns about the extent of his influence and the government’s ability to handle it effectively.
Produced in association with Benzinga