clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Here’s how government will work on Mars, according to Elon Musk

Direct democracy, anyone?

Asa Mathat

Do you dream of a world in which government doesn’t include people like Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton? So does Elon Musk.

The eccentric and wildly future-focused CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla has an ambitious plan to put humans on Mars beginning in 2025. That sounds great! But even utopias need some social structure, and Mars will be no different (we assume).

No fear, though. Musk has it figured out.

Speaking onstage Wednesday at Recode’s annual Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., Musk laid out his master plan for how Mars and its future inhabitants will avoid a "Lord of the Flies"-style catastrophe.

"The form of government on Mars would be a direct democracy, not representative," Musk explained without missing a beat. "So it would be people voting directly on issues. And I think that's probably better because the potential of corruption is substantially diminished in a direct versus a representative democracy."

Simple enough. Musk doesn't want politicians voting on his behalf. He also had a few recommendations for how laws should be created — and maintained — on the Red Planet.

"It should probably be easier to remove a law than create one," Musk explained, suggesting that 60 percent of people would need to vote in a law, but only 40 percent of voters would be needed to later remove it.

Also, laws will come with a "sunset provision," meaning they will automatically expire after a certain amount of time. "If it's not good enough to be voted back in, maybe it shouldn't be there," he said.

Cool. Glad that's all settled.

What’s somewhat ironic (or sad) about Musk’s plan, though, is that while he’s single-handedly mapping out the future government of Mars, he doesn’t believe he has the same kind of influence, or any influence for that matter, on the government here in the United States.

When asked if he was planning to support someone in the upcoming presidential election, Musk balked.

"I try to stay out of this situation," he said with a smile. "I'm not sure how much influence I can have as one person. If I think I could make a difference I would probably do something."

Is he worried about the presidential options?

"I'm just glad being president is like being captain of a large ship with a small rudder," he said. "There's just a limit to how much good or bad a president can actually do."

If you want to watch the whole Musk interview, here's the video.

This article originally appeared on