As Seattle Times' business reporter Mike Rosenberg brilliantly pointed out in a recent tweet, the daily income of all cashiers in the US is about $210 million. So, on the day Amazon launched its cashier-less store in Seattle, its founder and CEO, and the only centi-billionaire in the known universe, Jeff Bezos, made $2.8 billion and expanded his net worth to $113.5 billion. Much of this wealth is not "now money," but money that might be made in the future by the company Bezos has a 16 percent stake in. If confidence is lost in that future, the size of his wealth will fall today. Bezos billions are a bubble expanded by the mood of our moment.

But the crazy thing is that the technology his e-commerce behemoth introduced on Monday presents a future with a huge collapse in the demand generated by people employed as cashiers. Because these are low-paying jobs, those that hold them cannot afford to hoard their incomes. They do not remove money out of circulation. They return it right back into the economy. That's basically $11 billion a year (roughly the combined income of cashiers in year) that doesn't get stuck in some unproductive bank account in a tax haven or parked in an empty penthouse. The truth is much of Bezos's wealth is useless to the very economy that supplies the business confidence that makes his wealth more and more economically useless. How is this logic sustainable? This is the classic Keynesian paradox, which occurs at the level of exchange.

The new cashier-less store also presents a classic Marxist contradiction, which Marx himself pointed out in his famous "Fragment on Machines" in Grundrisse. Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy:

Capital itself is the moving contradiction, [in] that it presses to reduce labour time to a minimum, while it posits labour time, on the other side, as sole measure and source of wealth

This contradiction, which occurs at the level of production, is very complicated and concerns the controversial labor theory of value. But what you have to understand is that Bezos' wealth is not outside somewhere in nature but inside a very specific and limited socially abstracted frame that's "required to maintain the... created value as value."

And so, if there is no one performing the labor that connects value to value, human brains and bodies to the market of things, where is the wealth going to come from? And what will measure it? This is the deep side of the labor theory of value that cannot be easily dismissed. Value is not a thing; it's a relationship, and for most humans in the economy, a relationship with value (the connection to the universe of things and services) is labor. They have no other way to connect with Bezos's world but with a wage. And yet, his business model deprives more and more people of the values they need to be a part of the system that values him. The previous economy (Fordist) solved this macro-economic problem by shifting wage work from the factory to the store. But there is nothing beyond the service economy. Emptiness fills the jobs lost in that sector.