Amazon has revolutionized online shopping by making it simpler, cheaper, and much faster. However, the knowledge that every purchase continues to line the CEO’s pockets is enough for some people to discontinue, or at least cut back on, their use of Amazon. Amazon’s success has made CEO Jeff Bezos the wealthiest man on Earth; His net worth is above $100 billion (To be precise, it is $137.6 billion, as of November 2018). A big chunk of his wealth is a result of the company’s stock, of which he owns 80.9 million shares. He only earns more as Amazon continues to acquire other companies – including Audible, Twitch, IMDb, Whole Foods, LivingSocial, The Washington Post, and more. The sheer amount of his net worth fills me with the rage of a poor person in late 1700’s France about to execute a member of the Bourgeoise via guillotine. If Bezos’ obscene wealth doesn’t offend you enough, the atrocities he’s committed to get to multi-billionaire status might push you over the edge.
He is worth over ONE-HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS!
Hoarding such a ridiculous sum of money should be a crime in and of itself. To put this wealth in perspective, a nice private island costs around a million dollars. Jeff Bezos could buy 100,000 of those. Will Smith, one of the highest paid actors, bought an island for $15 million. Jeff Bezos could buy 6,666 of those islands. According to TIME magazine, the amount of money earned by billionaires (of which Bezos is the richest) last year would be enough to end poverty SEVEN TIMES OVER. Currently, 80% of the world’s population is impoverished, and lives on under $10 a day. The Flint, Michigan water crisis is estimated to cost $55 million to fix. Bezos’ fortune alone could provide the money to fix this OVER ONE THOUSAND TIMES. Sure, he has, on occasion, dipped his rich little toes into philanthropy. He’s donated $33 million (0.0002% of his wealth, which was $150 billion at the time) to provide scholarships for DACA recipients. While the cause is nice, this is not even pocket change for this man. In September, he announced that he would put $2 billion towards helping the homeless population. Still, only 1/68 of his current wealth. This seems like a big donation to us normal people, but his helpful efforts are pathetic considering that even if he had only $1 billion dollars (0.007% of his wealth), he would still have way more money than he could ever know what to do with.
Amazon employees are notoriously treated like garbage
Workers have reported 12-hour days with little to no breaks. When a warehouse was investigated, water bottles full of urine were found because employees were too afraid to take a two minute bathroom break. People have suffered countless physical injuries as a result of overworking their bodies, and merely being exhausted beyond comprehension. Many workers have even died on the job because of safety hazards and overworking. Just Google “Amazon worker dies” and scroll through the pages of results, which go back for years. Amazon has faced fines and criticism from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as a result of mistreatment resulting in death in warehouses. Despite working for the most valuable company, under the richest man in the world, Amazon warehouse employees have a median salary of just under $30,000 a year. This statistic was pulled from CNN, where it was also reported that Jeff’s yearly compensation was about $1.68 million, which is fifty-nine times more than what the people who do most of the work earn every year. Recently, Amazon has elected to raise the minimum wage of their employees to $15/hour, but cut bonuses and stock awards in exchange. The obsession with mass order fulfillment and insane productivity drives the abuse of Amazon warehouse employees. It seems beyond barbaric for the wealthiest man in the world, with wealth impossible to even wrap your head around, to underpay, overwork, and mistreat the hardworking people that make Amazon profitable.
Jeff Bezos’ ridiculous wealth and greed, partnered with the systemic abuse of the people that make his success possible, makes him seem like a Disney villain, someone we should be disgusted by. His evil is so immense that it seems exaggerated and cartoonish, but he is very much a real and dangerous person with unimaginable influence and power. The French were certainly onto something when they were so fed up with wealth inequality that the cut the heads off of the upper class. If Bezos’ continues getting richer while the poor get poorer and refuses to redistribute the wealth to help a world in need, maybe we should take matters into our own hands, a la Revolution. With the holidays around the corner, Amazon’s most profitable and popular time of year, at least we should consider taking our business elsewhere this season.