Elon Musk’s popularity can be understood within the context of the post-war managerial coup against the capitalist class and our collective yearning for agency and ownership.
The founder-capitalists were defeated by the managers in the post-war era, and there will never be a return to that period of history. Founder capitalism not only failed to face up to the crisis of the Great Depression but the wartime demands placed on the American state and industrial capacity could only be met by expanding bureaucracies of production, a system of governance that continues to expand indefinitely.
Although Musk is an avatar for agency and ownership, recovering them, in reality, will require a different approach that has not been tried before. It will not find its conduit through markets and corporations or founder-capitalist billionaires. We require new forms of social, economic, and political organisation and niches capable of escaping the attention of the managerial elite until it is too late for them to stop the process.
What remains to be seen is whether Musk has a feeling for the myth he has created around himself and whether he can avoid self-destruction by overplaying his hand.
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