Excerpts From Elon Musk’s 2021 Person of the Year Interview

Elon Musk, TIME ’ randomness 2021 Person of the Year, already has a reach that extends beyond Earth. The controversial billionaire, who helms both Tesla and SpaceX, has plans for what he calls “ a futuristic Noah ’ s ark. ” But that doesn ’ metric ton mean he ’ s focused entirely on the interplanetary. During an interview with TIME at his Boca Chica, Texas, facility on Dec. 3, Musk discussed his wealth, the electric vehicle market, SpaceX and the latest on his relationship with Grimes .


TIME ‘s Kluger, left, interviews Musk ; two Starships loom in the background
hera are excerpts from Musk ’ south interview, edited for clearness.

On being the richest person in the world

“ Well, I think there ’ s like some, you know, sovereigns. I think [ Russia ’ sulfur ] President Putin is importantly richer than me. I can ’ triiodothyronine invade countries and stuff. ”

On income inequality

“ When looking at income and asset distribution, it is very authoritative to normalize that for old age. so as societies long time, there are more old people ; the older person is, the rich they are. But a batch of the push for higher government engagement and expropriation of assets by the politics is pushed by a bunch of politicians who are actually saying that resources shouldn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate be in operate of secret individuals. They should be in operate of the government. ”

Being a “utopian anarchist”

“ If there ’ s a utopia where people have access to any goods or services that they want, there ’ s enough for everyone. If we have a highly automated future with the robots that can do anything, then any cultivate you do will be because you want to do it, not because you have to do it. I don ’ t bastardly to suggest chaos, but rather that you ’ ra not under anyone ’ s thumb. ”

Tesla’s valuation

“ I ’ ve tried to just tamp down expectations, saying I think the stock ’ s possibly excessively high. stream valuation is pretty high, which suggests that the marketplace has faith in future murder of the company because it ’ second surely not based on diachronic profitableness, that ’ mho for certain. ”

Competition in the electric-vehicle market

“ If person makes better cars than we do and they then sell more cars than we do, I think that ’ s wholly ticket. Our captive with Tesla was always that we would serve as an exemplar to the car industry and hope that they besides make electric cars, thus that we can accelerate the passage to sustainable energy. ”

Mark Zuckerberg’s leadership

“ I ’ thousand more concern about the fact that Facebook, now Meta, has an fairness structure that makes it such that his great-great-­grandchildren will hush control the company. plowshare structures that give super-voting rights should be removed. ”

Overconfidence at SpaceX

“ If we have ships and boosters but no engines, we would be losing billions of dollars a quarter. And if that continued, then bankruptcy would not be out of the question. I feel as though we ’ ve had many years of achiever and a lot of people at the company have never seen a launch failure. A distribute of people have never in their career experienced a recession. If person entered the work force after 2009, it equitable seemed like things constantly go up. I was concerned that we may be getting complacent. ”

On cryptocurrency

“ I ’ thousand not a huge hater of decree currentness like many in the crypto­world are. But there are advantages with crypto relative to fiat in that decree currency tends to get diluted by whatever politics it is. It ends up being a baneful tax on people, specially those who have cash savings with dilution of the money provide. I could wax on about the nature of money for hours because I played a meaning role in creating PayPal. There are very few people that understand [ the money organization ] better than me. ”

His tweets

“ I ’ meter not in truth trying to do trade name optimization. therefore sometimes, I obviously shoot myself in the foot. As is obvious from my tweets, they ’ rhenium wit that I find curious, but not many early people find amusing. ”

Love and his relationship with musician Grimes

“ Grimes and I are, I ’ d say, credibly semi-separated. Her work has her being in unlike places a bunch vs. my work. So we weren ’ t seeing each other that much, because what she needs to do is largely in L.A. or tour, and my work is by and large in outback locations like this. I ’ megabyte human and all ; I ’ thousand not a automaton, but this place is basically a techno monastery. ” Contact us at letters @ time.com.

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