Sunday, 30 August 2020

Jeff Bezos: The Greatest Thief in Human History and the Reason World Hunger Still Exists

Jeff Bezos is the only person in history to earn $200 billion. Let me rephrase that: Jeff Bezos is the only 
person in history to steal $200 billion dollars from his workers. He's the biggest thief the world has ever seen, and yet his theft was perfectly legal because rich people like him make the rules. They have decided it's only right and proper for them to keep the money your labour generates. That's personal freedom, you see? The glorious free market.

Bezos is notorious for paying poverty wages, denying his workers healthcare and basic rights and forcing them to work in slave-like conditions, keeping the proceeds of their labour for himself. Bezos is not a "wealth creator", his workforce who live in tents or sleep in cars are the wealth creators. And seriously, what kind of bastard watches people build his empire and thinks in-work poverty should be their reward? A capitalist is your answer.

Protesters recently gathered outside Bezos' New York apartment, demanding better pay and safety conditions in Amazon warehouses, pointing out Amazon workers are dying from Covid-19. They also demanded sick pay, hazard pay, healthcare, and neutrality on unionisation.

No one can deny the customer service provided by Amazon is exceptional, being extremely efficient, convenient and reliable, but Bezos has built a monopoly around the exploitation of poverty while cashing in on a pandemic which has seen his stocks rise by 80%. Bezos could become a trillionaire by 2026 as people stay home and shop online, rather than risk their health by venturing outdoors. Amazon itself is currently valued at over $1 trillion dollars and rising fast, but it couldn't possibly give every worker a living wage...

How is this healthy for democracy? A business model which is not sharing the proceeds of its success with its workers. An economic model which enables one individual to hoover up the GDP of an entire continent. A system where only profit matters and the needy are considered a burden. Where is the room for social conscience? Are we really going to accept life is about watching billionaires accumulate wealth as our living standards fall?

Inequality in the US is about the same as it was during the French Revolution and we know what happened to people like Bezos then...

Our current approach is never going to lead to happy and healthy societies. It's never going to solve problems like extreme poverty and the climate crisis. It's surely going to exacerbate them until we reach an entirely avoidable breaking point. 

If our current model is so big on personal responsibility, why is no one demanding Bezos show personal responsibility? If I was a billionare, I'd want to ensure my workers were taken care of, and then I'd want to help as many people as I could, but that's why I'm not a billionaire. You have to be a sociopath to become one.

Experts have estimated we could end extreme poverty for as little as $7 billion a year. Bezos could actually do that. He could end extreme poverty. Or he could donate 99.5% of his wealth to a multitude of good causes and still be a billionaire. Hell, Bezos could make me a millionaire by giving me just 0.0005% of his wealth! That would be spare change to him.

Just imagine for one moment that every billionaire like Bezos pledged to give every penny they earned beyond $1 billion to good causes. They would see zero impact on their lifestyles, but they could transform the world and be remembered by history as heroes. How long would it take them to eliminate hunger, homelessness, and lack of health care? How long until they created a sustainable green economy? Or found a cure for cancer or covid? Or fixed infrastructure and public services? I could go on...

With great power comes great responsibility. Sadly, with great wealth comes lack of social responsibility.

Personally I would rather fix society's problems than buy super-yachts with mini-yachts that come out the bottom or whatever other pointless shit rich people buy to make themselves feel superior. I really, desperately struggle to see why the common good would not be any rich person's first priority. All their needs are, and always will be, met. Why don't they want others to live in the comfort they could easily create?

If you earned $25,000 a year, it would take you 8 million years to match Jeff Bezos' wealth. If you stacked 200 billion dollar notes, they would stand 243 kilometres high. In other words, they would reach into space, more than halfway to the international space station.

Men like Jeff Bezos are not wealth creators, they are wealth stealers. They are dragons sitting on piles of gold and will breathe fire on anyone who takes a coin they wouldn't even notice was gone. And again their hoard stems not from their own hard work, but from denying their workers the proceeds of their efforts. 

We have a broken system where an individual is allowed to rob an entire workforce and trap them in woeful conditions, existing only to further enrich their slave masters. Why do we accept this madness?

If ever there was a case for democratising workplaces, allowing workers to choose their bosses, play a role in decision making and own a piece of their company, Amazon would be it. Co-operative ownership is surely the way forwards for big businesses. Are we really expected to believe a company like Amazon can only function if a greedy bastard like Bezos keeps all the proceeds?

This is the free market in action: only the strongest survive. They consolidate wealth and power, eliminate competition, and treat workers as costs to be reduced, rather than human beings to be respected. The free market consumes and grows without any social conscience or sense of remorse. And we just blindly accept falling living standards and poverty wages are some unfortunate circumstance that our billionaire masters are powerless to prevent, then we mindlessly blame refugees in dinghies who've not even reached our shores. Meanwhile, we act as though the elite who control the media and own our politicians are somehow working in our interests. 

If we are to believe in capitalism that is what we must believe because every alternative, every intervention we could make to fix such problems would be a socialist solution. That's basically what socialism is - fixing the market so it behaves ethically, taking power away from a handful of unaccountable individuals and putting it into the hands of workers. The more you democratise your economy, the more you socialise it. 

Socialism and democracy are essentially the same thing. And the very existence of individuals like Jeff Bezos is an affront to democracy.

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email: r.d.hale@outlook.com