And that’s what this article is about.
It also shouldn't be surprising that the rich and powerful want to be taxed as little as possible. I think both sides get too hot-headed and the discussions inevitably turn to "let's take their money away!" vs "let's advance the creation of a social floor for everyone!" I don't think it's a bad thing at all that some people are rich, but I think poverty is a very bad thing.
So your premise is incorrect.
Pointing to a billionaire's hobby as a reason he deserves to keep billions instead of his workers getting a living wage seems like a weak argument
These statements are always ridiculous to me. There is no way he could convert $40B to cash and everything else stay the same.
For a dramatic example, Amazon could decide tomorrow to give the entire company a 20% raise and eat the stock price crash. They'd be fine. Jeff Bezos is prioritizing growth and shareholder value but it's entirely within his powers to prioritize other things, like paying his employees a living wage all the way down the pay scale. Amazon would be a slightly smaller and less important company with a somewhat lower share price and the world would be a better place.
When he says that he doesn't have anything other than space exploration to spend his money on what he means, in part, is there's nothing he can change without negatively impacting the metrics he cares about. The point of this argument is that he could choose to care about different metrics.
Amazon salary isn't that amazing, its pretty average or perhaps a bit below average for a major tech company. As the article mentions Bezos' salary is only $80k. But the value of the stocks that you get as a tech employee is very significant, and you know that their value is only going to increase. This is why Amazon has a strong incentive to grow the stock price, its baked into the culture based on the fact that so many employees get stock as part of their total compensation package.
On the flip side if Bezos was to cause a stock price crash he'd end up with a lot of very unhappy people on the tech side in Amazon Web Services. Amazon would not be "fine" because they'd lose a lot of tech employees or have to hugely increase salaries to make up for the loss of total value. Basically my point here is that the "shareholders" who are benefiting aren't just rich people, they are also middle class tech employees like me, and probably you and most of the people here on Hacker News.
"Bezos makes $40 billion" is an attractive headline, but he wasn't the only one who made money from the growth in Amazon stock price. Lots of employees at Amazon also saw the value of their stock increase, and I don't think any of us want to see that go down.
Whereupon Bezos would be removed as CEO and sued into a smoking crater.
We consider that “employed”?
How can anybody live like that? I can’t imagine.
Housing would be out of the question, but not having housing would be every bit as unsustainable.
Considering the variablility in different prison or slavery experiences, I cannot help but wonder about the overlap in quality of life provided by one of these vs. $12,000/yr wage earnings in the contemporary US. While slavery won’t guarantee shelter, it does incentivize providing it. Prison even guarantees it. A $12,000/yr wage makes both food and shelter into a critical compromise.
Let’s not play dumb. Part-time work is preferred by low-wage employers because it skirts providing benefits and job security. I content with this as a seasoned professional. I can’t in any honesty imagine low-wage workers would not face this problem to a larger degree.
“Average worker”...OK, even worse. So there are enough workers at Amazon warehouses making making less than that to give us an average of $12,000/year. I’m sorry, I do not get your point at all.
> Meanwhile, the median Amazon employee’s salary in 2017 was $28,446. During the first five months of this year... that median-earning Amazon worker worldwide has made around $12,000 before taxes, assuming salaries have stayed more or less the same this year.
This article just has a slightly dishonest headline to catch people's attention. It's $28k, and it's a median, and it's worldwide.
Now with the computer revolution, society says 'theyre not even doing the work, the machines are! The workers don't deserve more pay!' and since 1980, wages have been nearly frozen despite astronomically rising productivity due to technology. It would make sense that this continues until families are starving. There may never be another New Deal, though, because when that originally came around you couldn't shut down any discussion of helping people just by whispering the word 'socialism'.
You are missing the part of the story where that happened in europe, and people fled europe to go to the US where those things did not happen at all, and where even Marx said that the government was not oppressing its people like they did in England.
Maybe it had something to do with europe being an aristocracy back then.
Compared to the manual subsistence farm labor they were doing before, you mean?
Rural workers flocked to the new factories because it was better than what they had before. You see the exact same process playing out in China right now.
Most of the Amazon warehouses are located in semi-rural areas that didn't have available jobs of any sort before.
Regardless you stated that none of the opression that happened in Europe to workers happened in the US and that is probably false. If you had a source for that quote from Marx, I would like to see it
Well, by that argument anything short of perfection is unacceptable.
> Also I'd argue that they _thought_ it would be better, not that it was.
It was demonstrably better. Median income (measured in constant dollars), lifespan, and education levels all took a dramatic jump over the course of the 19th Century, both in the U.K. and the United States.
> Regardless you stated that none of the opression that happened in Europe to workers happened in the US and that is probably false.
I stated nothing of the sort. You're confusing me with another poster.
And also you have to take into account the extreme levels of poverty that were standard at the time. Just having your farm with your family and kids would mean that the smallest health issue starved the entire family to death. The process was gruesome to todays standards, and it is reprehensible to what we do and can do today but it turned a world with 90%+ extreme povery into a 40% extreme poverty in a century, unlike anything before in history.
Also it was the industrial revolution when people were flocking to the cities to work in factories in part because working a farm was no longer enough to survive for most people. Other than a few periods of time when the government gave out land grants, a penniless immigrant couldn't just show up and get land.
It may just be me; I always thought that the cat was doing the hunting in a "cat and mouse" game.