A Thing Jeff Bezos Could Spend His Hundred Billion Dollars On Instead Of Spaceships To Space
Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the whole entire world. According to Forbes, he is worth $130.2 billion dollars. He has so much money he doesn't know what to do with it! So he's decided to pour billions into something a little ... whimsical.
In an interview with Mathias Döpfner, the CEO of Business Insider’s parent company Axel Springer, published this past weekend, Bezos explained that the most important thing he can be spending his money on is SPACE.
The only way that I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by converting my Amazon winnings into space travel. That is basically it. Blue Origin is expensive enough to be able to use that fortune. I am liquidating about $1 billion a year of Amazon stock to fund Blue Origin. And I plan to continue to do that for a long time. Because you're right, you're not going to spend it on a second dinner out. That's not what we are talking about. I am very lucky that I feel like I have a mission-driven purpose with Blue Origin that is, I think, incredibly important for civilization long term. And I am going to use my financial lottery winnings from Amazon to fund that.
Bolding is mine. Because somehow, Jeff Bezos thinks that his money from Amazon floated into his life as if by magic. Instead of being put there by his workers. Workers whose median income is $28,446, well below than the industry average and the living wage for the United States. (A $15 an hour wage works out to $31,000 and change per year.) Workers who often have to rely on food stamps to survive. Workers who have been notoriously intimidated from unionizing. Workers who, at least in the UK, have to pee in bottles instead of taking bathroom breaks.
It's not a lottery winning. He earned that money off the backs of his workers, and he would not have earned nearly as much had he been paying those he profits off of enough to live. The best thing he can do with that money is not go to space, but pay his goddamned workers a fair wage and make sure they have decent working conditions. Maybe they would like to go out to dinner with their family sometime -- and not a "second dinner" but a first! Maybe the thing he's laughing at would actually be a pretty big deal to them. Maybe that is a thing he could do with his money. With the one billion a year he wants to invest in SPACE, he could just give each of his 90,000 warehouse employees $11,000 a year.
There are also other things he could do with his money, besides space travel for rich people. He could take $50 million of that money and fix the water in Flint. That would be like 50 bucks to him. He could buy buildings for the homeless to live in. He could probably stock every food cupboard in America for the next 100 years. He could do something that would improve the lives of people other than rich dickwads who want to go to space. To say that this is the "only" way he could spend that money is sick.
Although Bezos doesn't just want to send rich people to space. That's just for now. He wants there to be trillions of humans in space, probably mostly the poor ones who can work in "heavy industry," and then Earth can just be a lovely "residential area," because of how it is the best planet to live on. Probably for rich people.
Now take the scenario, where you move out into the solar system. The solar system can easily support a trillion humans. And if we had a trillion humans, we would have a thousand Einsteins and a thousand Mozarts and unlimited, for all practical purposes, resources and solar power unlimited for all practical purposes. That's the world that I want my great-grandchildren's great-grandchildren to live in.
By the way, I believe that in that timeframe we will move all heavy industry off of Earth and Earth will be zoned residential and light industry. It will basically be a very beautiful planet. We have sent robotic probes to every planet in this solar system now and believe me this is the best one.
How are we going to provide the basic necessities for trillions of people in space? We don't have enough jobs that pay a fair wage for the people here, now, on Planet Earth. We don't have enough food for everyone, we don't have enough shelter for everyone. It's not because we lack the Einsteins and Mozarts. It's due to people like Jeff Bezos profiting off the labor of others and not giving enough back to them in return, and then having the gall to act as if all of that money was simply magicked into his life.
“You may call me an anarchist, a socialist, or a communist, I care not, but I hold to the theory that if one man has not enough to eat three times a day and another man has $25,000,000, that last man has something that belongs to the first.” - Social Reformer Mary Elizabeth Lease
Space has long been the ultimate dick-measuring contest. We had to get to the moon before the Russians did, because we had something to prove. About communism. Did that improve anyone's daily life? Did it help them feed their families? Not so much! But we got there! Reagan had his Star Wars bullshit. Donald Trump wants space soldiers. Richard Branson wants to go to space. Jeff Bezos wants to go to space. Space, space, space! So I have an idea. How about they all get together, in a rocket ship, and we send them all off to the moon and go "Oh my! What big dicks they have!"
They can all leave their money here.
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse