Ultra-rich Jeff Bezos, could've used his money for humanitarian purposes. He 100% didn't. It's his money, right? Even if it means it was at the expense of millions of people suffering globally, or at the expense of his workers who can't very well unionize to protect themselves against untoward working conditions or their benefits through collective bargaining. It's all good, right? After all, he's planning to offer $100 million each to chef José Andrés, and CNN contributor and founder of Dream Corps, Van Jones, as part of his "Courage and Civility Award" campaign, according to Brett Molina for USA Today. Molina writes, "'We need unifiers and not vilifiers,' Bezos said, noting the award was for recipients who work hard for what they believe, but do so with civility. 'We live in a world where sometimes instead of disagreeing with someone's ideas, we question their character or their motives. Guess what? After you do that, it's pretty damn hard to work with that person. And really what we should always be doing is questioning ideas, not the person.'" Hmmm. $200 million… going, going… What could you do with 5% of that? 1%? What could struggling Americans making less than $52,000 a year do with just 0.5%? $100,000? Even $10,000? These statistics brought to you courtesy of The Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, who just released the "Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers Second Quarter 2021" with highlights including "median weekly earnings of the nation's 113.6 million full-time wage and salary workers", differences in pay between men and women, and differences in pay parity amongst race and ethnic groups as related to gender.
What's he really saying? We should forgive him, the "person" spending oodles of dough for 11 minutes of space travel because he has a really good idea? We should question his idea, not him? Meanwhile, he thanked his Amazon employees and everyone who uses Amazon for helping subsidize this venture… He could've opted to use some of his estimated net worth of $177 billion, the $28 million cost for a ticket on the rocket, $200 million donated for the "Courage and Civility Award" campaign, plus the $5.5 billion used to fund the venture (see figures below) to pay the salaries of his 1.2 million full-time wage and salary workers. That's a nice salary of $150,000. But, he didn't. Here are some interesting tidbits according to Fox News' Charles Creitz:
The cost of the Blue Origin venture was a reported $5.5 billion.
New Democratic Party MP (Member of Parliament) Jagmeet Singh of British Columbia calculated that Bezos became $1.6 million wealthier during the 11-minute flight.
The New York Daily News reported that the ticket cost for one seat on Tuesday's flight was $28 million.
I agree with journalist David Choi, "I'd like a refund."
Bezos claims that the future is to "move all heavy industry and all polluting industry off of Earth and operate it in space," according to Caitlin Yilek, CBSNews.com. His Blue Origin goals seem to be for this end, even if it means neither he nor most of us here today will see it happening in our lifetime. That's nice. Who's going to be left alive to make all this happen with poverty, a global pandemic, epic work culture and accountability issues, climate change drownings and blazing forest fires going on? Here a 5 ways Bezos could've spent his money to help the planet and his fellow humans right now:
Homelessness is at all-time highs. What about those eviction moratoriums? According to PolicyAdvice.net writer Alex Kopestinsky, "An estimated 63% of Americans say they live paycheck to paycheck since the coronavirus pandemic lockdown in March 2020, according to a salary statistic. Only 53% of the respondents of the survey said they were not living check to check before the pandemic and about 44% said they were living beyond their means before the pandemic even started."
2. The Global Pandemic
Millions have died while Bezos is on an ego trip, where he could've paid for vaccinations for billions. That's right! BILLIONS. He could have fully funded COVAX, securing vaccines for 2 billion people in low-income countries.
3. Work Culture & Systemic Racism
Peeing in bottles for Amazon drivers is like some weird collegiate, good ol' boy hazing. (Princeton? "Surely" no hazing there…) Why not make your workers do what you couldn't bully others into doing? Many of Bezos' employees are underprivileged, multicultural, marginalized essential workers, now unable to protect their salaries or retirement with unionization efforts. See the union busting that happened in Alabama. Click here to read the dire conditions many of those face.
4. Climate Change
Maybe you don't know, but there is ongoing mass flooding around the world and a war against single use plastics. Imagine what it would take of Bezos' Billions to help? According to Sami Adler for GlobalGiving.org, "Estimates of how much money it would take to end global climate change range between $300 billion and $50 trillion over the next two decades." So, if we take $200 million plus $5.5 billion… No sweat, right? A drop in the bucket for the "richest man in the world" at an "estimated net worth of $177 billion," writes Dan Moscowitz for Investopedia.com.
5. Pay Parity
Bezos millions could help end the wage gap in America, period. "The women's-to-men's earnings ratio varied by race and ethnicity. White women earned 82.6 percent as much as their male counterparts, compared with 85.1 percent for Black women, 70.4 percent for Asian women, and 86.5 percent for Hispanic women," according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report. All women should be getting equal pay, an equal seat at the table, and contributing to an economy that represents at least half of the world's needs and wants. What a concept. Or, he can just jet off into space. Again. © Isabel Alvear, July 2021 For more information on this topic and more, please "click" on the highlighted links. Drop a comment below, like, and share. First photo: Blue Origin/EPA; Second image by THAM YUAN YUAN from Pixabay; Third image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay.