When the richest person in the world speaks, it’s often wise to listen. We were richly rewarded for listening to a recent interview of Jeff Bezos, who was receiving the Axel Springer Award from Mathias Dopfner, the CEO of Business Insider’s parent company.
During the discussion, he shared interesting nuggets about his childhood, including time working on his grandparents’ ranch in South Texas, his love of computers as a kid, and the early days of Amazon, kneeling on the ground boxing up books to be mailed out to customers.
What caught our attention, however, was the discussion surrounding Blue Origin, the space company Bezos funds by selling $1 billion a year of his Amazon stock. He described his efforts at Blue Origin as “the most important work” he’s doing.
Bezos is worried about the earth’s energy supply. If humans’ need for energy increases by 2%-3% each year, in a few 100 years, he fears there will be an energy crisis. There won’t be enough room on Earth for the solar panels necessary to meet our energy needs.
His answer to this problem: space. The solar system could support a trillion humans and has unlimited energy resources from solar power.
Bezos’ immediate goal is to create reusable space vehicles to reduce the cost of sending people into space. He expects Blue Origin will be sending people into space by late this year or early 2019. But eventually, Bezos envisions Earth as a place for living and light industry and the universe as a place where heavy industry will occur.
“Sometime in the next few hundred years there will be a big inversion where we will realize that we shouldn’t be doing heavy industry on Earth for two reasons: One, it’s very polluting; and two, we don’t have access to enough energy here do it. It just won’t be practical,” he explained in a 3/9/16 Washington Post article.
Elon Musk also has his sights on space, but he’s doing so because history suggests a doomsday event will happen and humans should have a backup planet on which to set up shop. His bet: Mars will provide the best home, according to a 9/27/16 article in Wired. Bezos hasn’t called dibs on any specific planet or moon, but we have no doubt Amazon’s CEO already has an idea of where Earth 2.0 should be established.
Dr. Ed Yardeni is the President of Yardeni Research, Inc., a provider of independent global investment strategy research.
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