Story by Audrey Boyd
What doesn’t he own?
From companies like Twitch, to Whole Foods, to the worldwide phenomenon of Amazon.com— Jeff Bezos takes it all. In 2017, he was crowned the richest person in the world. As of Sept. 27, 2019, he holds a net worth of $108.6 billion.
He has stated that there is no feasible way to spend all of his “winnings” and has turned to the extraterrestrial instead, founding his space company Blue Origin in 2000.
“We are in the process of destroying this planet,” he claims. What he fails to realize is that he could save it. It may be unreasonable to expect a perfect world, but is it wrong to fight for a better one?
This man has enough money to end world hunger. That is not an exaggeration.
The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) stated in their 2016 report that it would cost an estimated $22 billion per year, every year, until 2030, to successfully end world hunger. In January of 2019, Business Insider estimated that Bezos makes $78.5 billion every year, and $6.5 billion every month.
He makes enough money in just four months to feed every person for an entire year, and would still have more than $52 billion left.
Jeff Bezos could end world hunger and he would still be the richest man in history.
But that is not his problem, right?
What about homelessness? The Department of Housing and Urban Development reported that it would cost around $20 billion to effectively eliminate homelessness within the United States. Bezos could have that in four months.
Is that still unfair?
Then what about his own employees?
He could simply raise the minimum wage– a seemingly meaningless gesture to him, but something that could mean the world to people struggling to make ends meet. It would hardly even make a dent– Business Insider reported, “Per hour, he makes a whopping $8,961,187 million– that’s roughly 315 times Amazon’s $28,466 median annual worker pay. An Amazon worker earning the $15 [Amazon] minimum wage would need to work about 597,412 hours, or 24 hours a day for about 68 years, just to earn what Bezos makes in one hour.”
Instead, he profits from their destruction. In 2011, Amazon came under fire after a heatwave struck a Pennsylvania warehouse, causing temperatures to rise to 110 degrees and enough of a health concern that paramedics were called to wait in the parking lot to take immediate action any time an employee collapsed.
In 2015, The New York Times published an in-depth article about the harsh conditions of working for Amazon titled, “Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace.” It criticized the impossible expectations held by the company, as well as the encouragement of employees to sabotage each other to get ahead. Bo Olson, a previous employee, quoted, “Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk.”
This man is capable of doing incredible things, but he actively makes the decision not to. You may argue that it is unfair to hold him to these high standards, but is that not his entire philosophy?
This man is infamous for being less charitable than most of his billionaire associates. He has yet to sign the Giving Pledge— the commitment to, “help address society’s most pressing problems by inviting the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to commit to giving more than half of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes either during their lifetime or in their will,” as quoted directly from their official website. Others of the top 0.01 percent have made the commitment, with names like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Warren Buffet adorning the long list– so why hasn’t he?
The most recent donation from Bezos was an entire year ago, in September of 2018, where he launched a $2 billion dollar Day One Fund to help homeless families and create preschools.
That is only 1.84 percent of his total net worth.
A man with this level of wealth and power should have a moral obligation to use it to better our people and our society. Many of the immeasurable problems we face could be fixed with a snap of his fingers.
Bad things are happening in our world, and Jeff Bezos is trying to escape it in a rocketship.
But once he reaches the stars, what will there be for the people left behind?