As you rightly observe, all the shiny Mars stuff is mainly about creating a billionaires’ panic room (a topic I’ve covered myself). It’s a revealing fact that the most eager-to-leave people I know are all US residents. There’s a deep pervasive always-there fear that governs life in the USA and disempowers even the wealthiest.
I’ve been living in Europe for the last 8 months (after 27 years in the USA) and the thing I’ve noticed most strongly about the contrast is that although Europe has no shortage of problems, people here aren’t terrified. Sure, there are the inevitable populist-nationalist morons with their hate-filled diatribes, but people, even the ultra-wealthy, aren’t shuffling around in fear of The Apocalypse. They aren’t building bunkers or stockpiling weapons & food. They are going about their daily lives as people generally do when life is stable and more or less expected to carry on that way.
Perhaps if there were more social ties in the USA (famously, as so many move so often, social ties are fragmentary) and if Hollywood didn’t spew out its toxic waste, the ultra-wealthy hedge fund managers and technokiddies might not be so abjectly terrified. Which means in turn they might be more able to focus on the world in which they actually live and the people with whom they share the planet instead of indulging in adolescent fantasies about escaping into the ultimate High Tech Panic Room.
Just a thought…