Dec 13, 2021 - Economy & Business

Elon Musk named Time's 2021 Person of the Year

Picture of Elon Musk
Photo: Patrick Pleul-Pool/Getty Images

Elon Musk has been named Time magazine's 2021 Person of the Year.

Driving the news: "Person of the Year is a marker of influence, and few individuals have had more influence than Musk on life on Earth, and potentially life off Earth too," said Time CEO and editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal in a press release.

  • "In 2021, Musk emerged not just as the world’s richest person but also as perhaps the richest example of a massive shift in our society."

Excerpts:

  • "The richest man in the world does not own a house and has recently been selling off his fortune. He tosses satellites into orbit and harnesses the sun; he drives a car he created that uses no gas and barely needs a driver. With a flick of his finger, the stock market soars or swoons. An army of devotees hangs on his every utterance. He dreams of Mars as he bestrides Earth, square-jawed and indomitable."
  • "This is the man who aspires to save our planet and get us a new one to inhabit: clown, genius, edgelord, visionary, industrialist, showman, cad; a madcap hybrid of Thomas Edison, P.T. Barnum, Andrew Carnegie and Watchmen’s Doctor Manhattan, the brooding, blue-skinned man-god who invents electric cars and moves to Mars."
  • "Musk is easily cast as a hubristic supervillain, lumped in with the tech bros and space playboys, for whom money is scorekeeping and rockets are the ultimate toy. But he’s different: he’s a manufacturing magnate — moving metal, not bytes. ... The man from the future where technology makes all things possible is a throwback to our glorious industrial past, before America stagnated and stopped producing anything but rules, restrictions, limits, obstacles and Facebook."

The big picture: The magazine has picked a Person of the Year every year since 1927, usually selecting "an individual but sometimes multiple people who greatly impacted the country and world during the calendar year."

Flashback: Previous people named Time's Person of the Year include President Biden and Vice President Harris (2020), Greta Thunberg (2019), the Guardians (2018), the Silence Breakers (2017) and Donald Trump (2016).

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