Leo Laporte, on this week’s MacBreak Weekly podcast, said that he is going to start calling Elon Musk an oligarch rather than a billionaire. I found that very interesting.
For some reason, we reserve the word “oligarch” for very rich, powerful men in Russia, but I think it may be an apt term for any billionaire. Having that much money certainly grants a person outsized authority and autonomy. Each company Elon Musk owns controlling stake in must feel to him like a fiefdom in which he can do whatever he wants.
“Oligarch” has a pejorative connotation, which gives me pause when I think of applying it to a wide selection of people. However, I think the stink of it is deserved even for the billionaires that we like. People cannot accumulate wealth at such an unimaginable scale without having some form of moral stain on their characters.