The one Tesla metric that feels the most Ponzi adjacent


Clearly Tesla is not a Ponzi scheme (Ponzis pay dividends), but that doesn't mean that Elon Musk isn't using some similar methods to achieve a level of success that the 1920s con artist could only dream of.

Two of the defining aspects of a Ponzi scheme are:

1. Claim to have discovered a fantastic investment opportunity;

2.  Tell investors you are putting their money into that investment when all of it is actually going somewhere else.

Part of the genius of the approach is that discussions about the feasibility of the proposed investment can distract from the fact that the investment isn't being made. It was obvious even at the time that Charles Ponzi wasn't trading international reply coupons on any serious level, but the details of the imaginary arbitrage scheme was so intriguing that other questions were ignored.

The valuation of Tesla has now reached the point where the bulls have had to abandon any arguments claiming that the price can be justified by future automobile sales even assuming market dominance. The new narrative is that cars are just the beginning, that under Musk, the company is on the verge of world-changing breakthroughs in fields including but by no means limited to robo-taxis, AI, battery technology, HVAC, lithium mining, and that (Read more...)