SpaceX started merely as a loss-making venture poaching ex-government and contractor employees, and taking government money - it really had nothing meritocratic to bring to the table.
Very good point. I'd just like to clarify two minor things...
1. I agree with you, that it is very easy to start a business putting stuff into space that makes money from the outset. There are plenty of real-life examples where real innovation is achieved without any requirement for up-front capital (loss-making business models), usually it's funded from initial sales.
I forget the example business models and companies.... can you remind me of them?
2. Prior to getting "poached" by SpaceX, which "really had nothing meritocratic to bring to the table.", there have been DECADES of intense innovation in the space industry thanks to an overwhelming support and encouragement from government. This intense innovation has been _so succesful_ that NASA have recently retired their last government owned space shuttles.
Elon Musk was just standing on the shoulders of giants by proposing the incremental innovation of having rockets land intact...
Wikipedia has let me down... are you able to point me in the direction of the space innovation that's recently come out of the US government organisations, making Space-X's work redundant?
(sarcasm is often lost in text, so let me be direct: IMHO, private companies like Space-X are facilitating innovation in space travel. This is their contribution to society. You can piss & moan because private people are making money out of it, but it's better than government money being wasted on useless bureaucracy supporting (or causing) scientists resting on their laurels.)