On the one hand, this amount of money is ludicrous. However, he did put in both the work and the risks to get it.
The real problem to me is the fact that this money will get down to his descendants, who will have done nothing more than be born.
We all are born with our own stars, some better than other (and I definitely count myself among the lucky ones), but it's being born into this kind of wealth that is disturbing to me, making it for yourself not so much (depending on how you made it of course)
I always look at it from the opposite side - it's my choice to leave my money that I made to my descendants. If I didn't want to do it, I would have donated it or spent it on stuff, or simply written them out of my will. So yes, maybe they didn't do anything to "earn" it but it is my choice to give it to them - just like we pay for our children's education and clothing and buy them presents and gifts, one should be free to chose to leave them a massive pile of money. That money should probably be taxed, sure, but if we approach it from the angle of "should I be free to leave my descendants inheritance" then I think the answer is a resounding yes.
Is the answer a resounding "yes"? I don't see why it should be. There are many ways in which we restrict freedom in order to have better social cohesion (e.g. fraud is illegal). If inherited wealth creates social problems through distorting, over generations, access to opportunity and unbalanced political power, then of course we should restrict the ability to pass wealth down generations.
It is very clear that inheritance allows accumulation of wealth (and therefore political power) beyond what a single human would (normally) accumulate (because of access to opportunities, starting from well above zero, etc.). This is clearly bad for society (reduces opportunity etc.). Therefore we should restrict it.
I can see the argument for extreme taxation above certain levels, so you don't end up with effectively dynasties snowballing all wealth, but the level above which I'd restrict it is so high it would be maybe in thousands of people. Other than those extreme high levels of wealth, I think you should be able to leave to your kids whatever you want to leave(again, not against taxation on it etc).
In The History of Western Philosopy, Bertrand Russell made an observation (to which I'm parapharsing):
In modern society, we have come to expect, almost demand, and seem to inherently know it is best that no political power be transferred by heredity. Curiously, we have not made the same conclusion with economic power.
Should it be legal to contract with someone that you will give them $1B now, and they will provide each of your descendants at least $X/year (or guaranteed job, housing, etc.) for the next 50 years? If this kind of contract remains legal — and I don't see how you could make it illegal without stomping on a lot of contract principles — then the only thing we're really changing is the timing and quantity of taxation.
Allowing inheritance makes intergenerational economic development possible for far more than the ultra-rich (who could already do it anyway). That doesn't mean taxation policy shouldn't be considered, of course.
If you really want my personal view (which I'm not sure of given the phrasing of the question): I would prefer to see a system where people have the opportunity to create great things, but in which their opportunities are not tightly constrained by what their parents did. I'd also like to see a system where we didn't have such gaping wealth inequality as it creates political inequality (and health inequality, etc.). This does not translate as me wanting (insert country) to become "collectivist" as much as wanting a different balance.
Or tax it once and for all while it's "earned". (Make tax rate wealth dependent above a certain line?)
There are plenty of policy possibilities to explore that are redistributive and not binary.
Did he? Don't get me wrong, I think if he's earning that amount of money and legally, then he deserve it... but I don't think he's the only one putting "both the work and the risks to get it". If any, is the sum of every (exploted) Amazon employee that makes possible to Bezos to make that amount of money.
Of course, there are lots of people at Amazon who work hard and/or smart, but without the guy at the top making the right decisions, it does not work.
Does it mean Jeff Bezos deserves to be THAT rich? I dunno.
1. As you said, the amount of luck you are born with makes a huge difference in how much you "deserve" the money, for some definition of deserve.
2. Part of this luck includes things like your intelligence, ability to work, energy levels, etc, risk tolerance, all of which is (partially) genetic, and contributes to the whole "he put in lots of work" part of the equation. So even for that, you can't really give him sole "credit".
3. And obviously, the society he lives in paved the way for lots of this success, in so many different ways (not least of which is creating the internet in the first place).
4. Then again, we don't have to say "well he did the hard work, so he should reap 100% of the benefits". In fact, we don't say that - we tax him quite a bit, so that not 100% of his money goes to his descendants, rather part of it goes to maintaining society, helping poorer people, etc.
5. Worth mentioning that "put in the hard work" is one framing of what he did - but I'd personally prefer framing it as "created a huge amount of value for other people, worth so much money, and he got some percentage of that.
6. Of course other people might disagree with point 5, or at least want to point out that part of the value created was possibly do to exploitation (I mostly disagree with this framing - not saying there was or wasn't exploitation, but I think at a minimum you have to acknowledge that Amazon did provide a lot of value to a lot of people, way more than the insanely large amount of money that Bezos has).
I mention all the above, because I think it's useful to reframe things from moralistic question of "what someone deserves" in an abstract sense, to the much more practically relevant question of "someone created some amount of value, got to extract some (smaller) part of that value, how much of what they extracted do we want to take and spread around society, versus how much do we want them to keep?". That is usually the actual question facing voters/lawmakers, and has lots of ramifications, but is much more concrete, and more easily lends itself to optimization.
But let's say you view the world like you are part of a family tree. The farmer makes sure he works hard to give his kids an education. The educated kid finds a well paying job, but notices that the real money is when you run your own business. He sets his kid up with starting capital to run his own business.
If you look at the world like this, is it still wrong that you try to give your kids an advantage? It's of course up to the kids to either waste it or build something meaningful. But I don't think you want to discard any benefit that a parent tries to give their kid.
Well, then wait until you hear how much his ex wife got after divorcing... At least he chooses to give the money to his children or not—regarding his ex wife, he had no choice at all.
Bezos built an empire. And like all empires, they are built by other people. But it's Bezos who started it.
1. Did he do work worth 100b usd?
2. Should this mean he controls 100b dollars of assets/wealth and/or have this much power.
I'd actually state 2 more specifically- should having control of 100b dollars give someone so much power
(3. An alternative point that many people state: should people who have much less than the average have such poor lives in comparison to what is achievable.)
I probably fall on different answers to the above questions than you, but I think it's helpful to separate out the various different statements that are being made here, at least as I see it.
And this happens for more people than I can even imagine.
I assume since he's handing over some of the responsibility that he might do something beneficial to the human race with his money.
Why does it matter how much you suffer or work or whatever? It's all about results.
Is it fair? No idea, but that is how the world works. If you don't agree, you can take a look at societies that value the work inputted, such as communism. But in the end the real world cares about value, not work.
It's based on net worth, not income. But net worth of billionaires is incredibly inflated by the way we measure it.
Bezos' net worth is based on the stock value of Amazon, and is based on taking the _highest_ price someone is willing to buy 1, _one_, share of Amazon and multiplying it by the amount of shares Bezos has.
No one is willing to pay 200 billion dollars for Bezos' shares, and saying they are worth 200 billion is simply false.
His net worth is dependent entirely on other people being willing to give him money for his Amazon shares, and that is dependent entirely on the value Amazon brings to its customers, or how willing people are to give Amazon money for Amazons services.
Now, if Bezos decided to sell all his shares for cash he could surely get billions for them, as Amazon is generating incredible value, but not 200 billion.
Let's say no one is willing to buy all those shares for $200B, ok, but do you think he could find a buyer at $50B? Probably several.
So just divide the number on the website by 4, does that really change anything?
> This is sensationalist.
> It's based on net worth, not income. But net worth of billionaires is incredibly inflated by the way we measure it.
That being said, I also think that this inequality increase is a problem for the society as a whole. However I haven't heard yet about a concrete and satisfactory solution/measure to tackle it and that would be effective.
It seems to be a common anti-pattern of political activism across the spectrum: Things that are so intrinsically outrageous to activists that they assume their reaction is universal, and that simple exposure to the facts will be enough to convert others.
Large numbers are very difficult to understand, which is why I think things like this website works.
> abject failure of this tactic over the past decades to help their cause
There isn't a consistent "they" that have a cause. It's a sentiment that moves through society. The people who are outraged about billionaires on the internet today weren't even born a couple of decades ago.
For me, I like that this amount of wealth depends on exploiting people who aren't as good as I am. It makes me feel like I am winning.
How do you measure this? Socialism hasn't taken over, thus it didn't help their cause? There are many factors at play, so you can't make and simple conclusions about a single strategy like this.
That's also why most monospaced fonts (and typewriters) tended to make letters such as 'i' or 'l' larger, not only for clarity, but also to fill up the ugly blank space around them. That's also important due to the fact that a blank space has it's own semantical meaning.
It would be unjust—nay, it would be abusive if we didn't let bezos make this much
"Change in Net Worth" or something would make it clearer. But it's still not great.
Wow this is depressing.
I get the idea of the counter but it gives a little too simplified view. There's still risk involved even with Amazon.
Risk for Bezos: None
I'd be willing to take way bigger risks with $100B to my name.
- upper left corner: "I am Jeff Bezos"
- middle: "see how much $$$ I earn while you are looking at this page"
- lower right corner: "buy me a coffee"
[EDIT] Note to self: if I ever do something like this and want to collect donations for it, pick a project where I'm not pretending be one of the world's richest persons :)
No need to shit on it.
INSANE_WAGE_PER_HOUR / 3600 * (Data.now() - starttime) / 1000
Bezos successfully monetized the internet. Kudos for him, and it deserves great rewards, but enough rewards to become the richest man in the world? Shouldn't a large part of the rewards go to the people who invented and created the internet, in large part the DoD and other government funded institutions. How about that randum person in Nebraska? (https://xkcd.com/2347/) How about all of those open source products Amazon depends on?
- Some people aren't interested in that kind of life.
- Some of the people who are interested don't have the aptitude for it.
- Some of the people who are interested and have the aptitude, don't get lucky enough to make it.
- Even if everyone was interested, capable and lucky, you can't have an economy where everyone is an entrepeneur.