What would you do with fifty billion dollars?

On Thursday, I jumped on wikipedia with one window open with a set of pages learning about anything from protein structure prediction to looking at creation of life from a technological basis. On the other window I was exploring space elevators and space cannons. But what I was really interested in was the space elevator, mostly because it would be awesome.

A space elevator can be explained very simply. It is pretty much the extension of a very long rope into space. It cannot be thought of like a tower because there is in fact tension in the upward direction at the base of the structure instead of force downward due to gravity. This tension is due to centripetal force on one end and gravity on the other. I can use the simply bucket full of water analogy for explanation. The space elevator is simply like swinging a bucket around the earth. We could even put a floor at what we would perceive as the roof of the end of the elevator and people could stand on it feeling force pushing them into the floor. This all sounds awesome but what is the practical application of a space elevator? Why would anyone ever fund this? Currently it costs approximately $10,000 per pound to send something into orbit. With the space elevator, it could cost $200.

I decided that if in a decade or so I have a few billion dollars or maybe even fifty, I would definitely fund the space elevator with a fraction of that wealth. I wondered what else I would do with fifty billion dollars and wondered what other people would do. I know what I and most people have been raised to think is right to do with fifty billion dollars. Many people of course would start buying toys. I have no interest in toys but I also wondered about my evolved attitude towards donating to a charity.

This answer seemed simple to me and yet so heartless. I was raised in a very charitable family and was always taught that charity was the most respectable investment. Throughout the past few years though, I have come to some ideas (far from conclusions) that challenge the idea of charity. Or they at least challenge the idea of charity towards the people who need it rather than those who simply desire it. Charity as defined as “love of humanity” was exactly what I intended. But to give to the poor was not something I held with such high regard anymore. If when I was a child anyone had expressed to me what I am writing right now, in my simple mind I would have shunned him or her. But now I have come to these ideas on my own and am really struggling with the morality of them.

My question to myself is a simple and easily graspable one but one that I have never asked before. Why would we supply resources to the least competent or the least fruitful people only to deny those resources from the brightest or the most diligent? I understand that there are some diamonds hidden among the people who are unable to self-sustain. But more often then not, those people are in universities or are Nobel Prize winners. That seems logical and unarguable. It is always a game of statistics where to invest money. To give to a homeless man on a street corner may make someone feel good but that money more often would go to something unproductive than if that money were given to Space-X. This is a logical thought process and not where my theories get weird. People who have historically showed progress will more often accomplish something in the future than people who have failed at showing progress in the past. This is not an absurd statement. Colleges, for example, base their decisions off this every admission season. They are more inclined to accept the 4.0 student into their school than the 2.0 student in almost any case and they would be stupid not to.

What I am saying here is that if I had fifty billion dollars, I would be more inclined to fund research and programs for the best and the brightest than supplying for the poorest. I would definitely with that money like most to fund for education at the most elementary level. I think that would be the best use of resources and investment in the future. But it truly makes me wonder why so much money is invested in keeping non-self-sustaining people alive while it is such a battle for intellectuals to get grants for research. This doesn’t make sense to me. It seems to go against probabilities. Why wouldn’t we fund the best? The best are struggling to even get jobs while the rest are enjoying welfare.

The argument against my theories for the support of future generations of the non-self-sustaining people is an obvious one. What about their children? We want to give their children equal opportunity, right? A genetic determinist would say no. He would cite that it was genetics that made the parents incompetent and that the child would end up the same. It would be genetic destiny. But we all are well aware that the environment has some influence. It is the nurture aspect that makes this a slightly harder question. But in the wild, there is not equal opportunity. Animals that were dealt a raw deal die even if their genetics are exceptional. We are no primitive animals and obviously do not need to fall to this brute level. But what we are doing now I believe is going to result in an even more brutish world.

Idiocracy is no doubt one of the worst movies ever made. But the fundamental basis of dysgenics and anti-intellectualism is brilliantly frightening. The movie documents the regression of humanity over time and shows a resulting idiotic society where a sports drink company runs the world. Welfare often leads to a favoring of lower classes rather than “weeding them out” and leaving them to die as would happen in a more natural world. The idea of having many offspring is one that educated people have commonly recognized as destructive to both the children and the world itself. However, that reversal of the primitive desire to plant one’s seed has not become common in the lower classes. The less educated, less prosperous people are reproducing at a faster rate than the more educated, more prosperous people. That is an equation that everyone who knows anything about Darwin’s theories can see the result of.

It may seem brute or inhumane of me to acknowledge this issue and obviously suggest that we return to some extent to our primitive ways. But I cannot honestly imagine anything much more inhumane than letting this process continue.  I even expand my theories on work ethic, strength, and intelligence to genetic disease. We can keep people who have genetic diseases alive to reproduce. The genes for those diseases spread like a wild fire through human populations and we end up with a diseased humanity.

I fully support the idea that the strongest should survive. I am also fully willing to admit that I may be one of those who die. For example, I am aware of my genetic predisposition to gout. Fortunately, my dad’s colorblind gene could not have been passed on to me however I did inherit his short stature. If short stature is selected against, I am certainly going to be one of the first to go. I am content with that. Despite these setbacks, I am also aware of my willingness to fight and learn and adapt and those may be the most valuable traits of all for humanity. However, if I am selected against, I would at least know that a stronger human race would result. It would be my contribution to humanity by not contributing.

What we are looking toward with excessive safety nets is a weak and diseased population.  So what would I do with fifty billion dollars? I would provide the most broad support first. I would fund education and fight for people to question and to learn for themselves rather than to simply believe. I would hope with this that it would provide the strongest foundation for a future of the smartest and strongest human race ever to have existed. I would additionally provide funds for the best and the brightest. I would fund the space elevator and other programs so man would have easier access to future colonization of other celestial bodies. With another portion, at the recommendation of a friend, I would rid the world of malaria. This brief extermination would allow hindered populations to progress. I would fund little to no research for preventable or genetic diseases such as the majority of obesity, type II diabetes, and hypertension or many cancers or AIDS. Instead medical research would be devoted to the study of genetics and uncontrollable, random disease.

This all may seem very heartless but by the strictest definition of charity, “benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity”, I do believe I would be doing the most charitable thing I could do with an absurd sum of money. All of this would be purely altruistic. If I were given all that money today, that is where it would go. But I am only twenty-two years old and I have only a fraction of a fraction of the wisdom of the world. That is why I am writing a post that could expose me as a crazy man. I want to know other people’s opinions, so please give me your input, whether you agree with me or think I am legitimately insane.

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