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Opinion: Forget space, Jeff Bezos: There are many things you can do on Earth

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Jeff Bezos seems to have run out of things to colonize here on Earth.

His company, Amazon, now orders nearly half of online retail purchases in the United States, according to one estimate. Amazon has acquired Whole Foods, a major grocery chain and the power Hollywood studio MGM. Bezos has done the same bought The Washington Post and now he is the richest person in the world.

So with little left to acquire on this planet, he is turning his gaze to outer space.

Bezos announced Monday that he will join the first manned flight of Blue Origin, his space company, along with his brother, next month. Media coverage quickly focused on the fact that Bezos will to win other male billionaires like Elon Musk and Richard Branson first entered outer space. But, from a moral perspective, Bezos should spend more time looking down and not up.
According to the World Bank, 689 million people are live in extreme poverty, which is defined as less than $ 1.90 a day. Half are children. The coronavirus pandemic has knocked down two decades of progress and pushed another 120 million people into extreme poverty, a number that is only expected to increase at the end of the year.
With a dear net worth of $ 187 billion, there is a lot Bezos could do to change that, especially for the time he will now have in his hands since it is going down for his role as CEO of Amazon.
For example, a gift of just $ 58 to a nonprofit like the International Rescue Committee (an organization I support despite a much lower net worth than Bezos, and I hope you can too) can send a child to the school for a whole year. Imagine what could be done with $ 1 billion, the amount Bezos said was once invest every year in its rocket development. In fact, the Brookings Institution calculated that billionaires worth much less than Bezos could significantly reduce poverty rates in their countries.
In the United States, a third of wealthy American households stepped up their charitable donations to organizations that helped other people meet their basic needs last year in recognition of the great challenges posed by the pandemic. seconds at Bank of America and at Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. One would expect Bezos to focus more on the good he could do, given the great wealth he drew from the pandemic: Amazon saw close to 200% to increase in profits, as Americans bought online during the pandemic.
With $ 187 billion, the reality is that Bezos doesn’t have to choose between helping others and building his own space business. And it makes significant charitable contributions; above all, the biggest charity contribution of 2020 was from Bezos, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy (a $ 10 billion gift) directed in the fight against climate change). But having Bezos throw his money so desperately into the solar system is a somewhat disgusting option at a time in the world when people have been moribund of Covid in India due to oxygen lax.
For a better model of what to do with her money, Bezos could look at her ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, who, along with her new husband, Dan Jewett, has signed the Giving Commitment, promising to give the majority of his wealth. In 2020, Scott donated nearly $ 6 billion. Recently, it has focused on historically supporting black colleges and universities, demonstrating that it has the capacity to do so. empathize with people who have experiences different of his own.
Meanwhile, Bezos has made headlines worldwide for the lavish lifestyle he enjoys with his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez, spending $ 255 million on luxury mansions in Los Angeles last year while the world was shattered by a pandemic, i invest on a new yacht that is believed to cost about $ 500 million. But it’s not just about Bezos ’spending. Bezos has a unique position to show leadership among billionaires and the richest on what they can do with their money, especially in a time of crisis spelled great benefits to them – and their actions do not seem to give any indication that they intend to exercise this power for the greater good in ways that it is obvious they could.
Bezos ’absence from the commitment to give is especially notable given some of the problems his own company has caused. Amazon, of course, has been able to lower the prices of many retailers, as it is mostly an online retailer avoid the cost of shop windows. As a result, it has been accused of putting independent bookstore companies in big chains like Sears and JC Penney Out of business. And while it has earned billions of dollars, Amazon did not pay federal taxes in 2018, according to a 2019 analysis by the Institute Taxation and economic policy (yes he paid little more more than 1% of its tax profits in 2019). This year, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Amazon had illegally retaliated against employees who raised concerns about the safety of the warehouse. (The company said yes fired them for “repeatedly violating domestic policies” and not for criticizing working conditions.)

Of course, it’s not too late for Bezos to do better, and moving away from Amazon (and also from the planet) can give him a new perspective, literally, on what he can do on Earth with his wealth and his new found time. He should firmly consider using his earnings to help the less fortunate (a message that is also addressed to other billionaires who want to embark on their own space travel soon).

Bezos is certainly a businessman with admirable success; in fact, he is so successful that he can afford to go into outer space while others go hungry. But his latest feat makes it clear that, for now, he is hardly a successful human being.

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