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Sign The Petition To Keep Jeff Bezos In Space

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

If you haven’t already heard, Jeff Bezos is going to space on July 20, and though the trip is only meant to last around 11 minutes, there’s already a petition to keep him from returning back to Earth. The petition, titled “Do not allow Jeff Bezos to return to Earth,” has garnered over 140,000 signatures and counting. Started by Ric G on change.org, it is dedicated to “The proletariat” and its description reads, “Billionaires should not exist…on earth, or in space, but should they decide the latter, they should stay there.”

As much as I don’t want Bezos to be able to run away from the problems he’s created, I have to say — I’m on board with this cause.

I remember seeing an Instagram infographic a few months ago about how billionaires shouldn’t exist, and it honestly changed my entire perspective on how monetary wealth operates in the United States. Before then, I had tried to avoid big corporations like Amazon when I could, but once I learned more about the evil that is American billionaires, I made it a more integral part of my life to try to cut back on supporting these large, billion-dollar corporations. 

The amount of money that billionaires make is unfathomable — though we all think we know how large a unit one billion dollars is in theory, it’s hard to put into words in practice. It was reported that in 2020, throughout the financial turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic and while millions of Americans became unemployed and had to file for bankruptcy, American billionaires collectively became $1.2 trillion richer. The number a trillion can’t even fit on a calculator. In 2021, Forbes reported that Bezos is most likely worth over $200 billion dollars: the first person ever to be worth that much. 

And so, it begs the question: Why does any human being need that much money? 

The answer is simple: they don’t.

I know what you may be thinking: But they earned that money! Actually, they really didn’t. Over 13% of billionaires inherited all of their wealth, and another 31% inherited their money in a combination of earning it themselves. And what about the ones that are so-called “self-made”? Well, if they pay their employees — the ones that do all the hard work and risked their lives during a pandemic (I’m looking at you, Amazon) — minimum wage, how “self-made” are they, really? Billionaires like Bezos could pay their employees way more, but they actively choose not to because they are greedy. 

The other thing that is so frustrating about billionaires is that they could use their money for so much good — but for the most part, they don’t. And I know, you’re going to now say, What about the Bill Gates Foundation and all the money he donates to charitable causes? Yes, Gates does donate more to charity than the average billionaire, but even then, he could donate more if he wanted to — and it has been argued that a lot of the money he donates just ends up being cycled back into his bank account. Around 10 years ago, Gates and Warren Buffett launched the Giving Pledge, a pledge that over 200 billionaires have made to “dedicate the majority of their wealth to giving back.” However, the pledge and the ongoing narrative that billionaires are charitable people are totally rigged, and for three core reasons that Inc. outlines: 1. Many billionaires only give to fake charities, 2. Most of them get the money cycled back to them, and 3. The pledge actually makes it less likely for the government to consider financial reforms since billionaires are viewed by the public eye as these revered “superheroes.”

So, why do we keep glorifying billionaires when there is all this substantial evidence that they’re actually villains? For instance, take a look at Elon Musk. When Musk recently hosted SNL, many viewers actually grew a soft spot for the genius behind Space X and Tesla as he shared his funny side and actually seemed like… a normal human being. He even brought his mom on-stage! (If that isn’t Musk trying to intentionally save face, I don’t know what is.) The truth is, Musk knew what he was doing in hosting SNL; it was the perfect opportunity for him to polish his image and become a more likeable person. #WeLoveYouElon, a hashtag dedicated to exalting the wealthy entrepreneur, was even trending at the start of June. But the reality is, Musk is actually not a very good person at all (for example, he is notorious for mistreating his employees and even violating labor laws) — so why are people treating him like a hero?

In order for billionaires to cease to exist, we need to stop supporting them and blindly giving them money merely out of convenience. Educate yourself on the monetary disparities and the huge wealth gap that is existing in America and how billionaires ultimately perpetuate this ongoing systemic issue, continuing to harm lower income communities and people of color. Support small and local businesses when possible.

And sign the petition to keep Bezos in space, of course.

Zoë is a national contributing writer and was formerly a summer 2021 editorial intern at Her Campus. She is also a senior at Loyola Marymount University where she studies English and public relations. In her free time, Zoë can be found taking photos, reading, and going to cute (but overpriced) coffee shops.
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