Magazine August 16, 2021, Issue

‘Space Barons’ & Advantages of a Free Economy

From left: Oliver Damen, Jeff Bezos, Wally Funk, and Mark Bezos pose for pictures at the landing pad after they flew on Blue Origin’s inaugural flight to the edge of space in Van Horn, Texas, July 20, 2021. (Joe Skipper/Reuters)
Inequality is the midwife of progress, which depends on the flourishing of the talented

On July 11, 2021, the British businessman Richard Branson fulfilled his lifelong dream of flying into space. At 8:40 a.m., Branson’s Virgin Spaceship (VSS) Unity 22 and its mothership Eve took off from Spaceport America in New Mexico. Having reached an altitude of over 50 miles, which is the U.S. government’s definition of space, and zero gravity, Unity 22 delivered the crew, consisting of Branson and five Virgin Galactic staffers, safely back to Earth. The flight, which was a culmination of 17 years of planning, research, development, and extensive safety testing, could mark the beginning of commercial space tourism.

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This article appears as “More Space Barons, Please” in the August 16, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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Marian L. TupyMr. Tupy is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity and the editor of

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