Why Don't People Think Jeff Bezos Is As Bonkers As Imelda Marcos?

Comments

1

“owned more money than he could ever spend”

It’s not money you frigging moron, it’s assets. Big difference.

2

@1 Read only until he found something inane to bitch about and now feels intellectually superior to Mudede.

Congratulations!

Lot's of new accounts on Slog the last couple days. Very interesting.

3

Please try to understand how money works before writing about it. Its not like he collected each and every dollar out of greed. He created things of value, and benefits from that as do a lot of other people.

4

The reason people think higher of Jeff Bezos than Imelda Marcos is "bitches be shoppin." But you knew that.

5

What, no "Madness and Civilization?" I'm disappointed, Charles.

6

Charles, it's stock, not cash until he sells it to someone. Why don't you talk about the people who have the cash to buy the stock.

7

Charles, have you ever applied for a government job in an African country to run their economy?

You seen to know so much more people than anyone else.

8

Bezos is a realtor, nothing more.

9

Dammit. Bezos is a retailer nothing more.

10

I see him as mad, greedy and cruel. The way he treats his workers is disgusting. And he looks like one of the spies in a Bond movie. Boycott him, pay more and keep small business people going.

11

Because 1000 pairs of shoes is just that; $150B is infinite possibility to do anything you want. That’s why.

12

"feels intellectually superior to Mudede."

Not knowing the difference between an asset and cash isn't an intellectual marker, it's something a moderately well educated 12 year old should understand. When you drive drive past 80 year old ladies living in Ballard craftsman they bought in 1950 do you cuss at them for being "millionaires".

13

"Bezos is a realtor, nothing more."

What kind of realtor looks for cheap land, with cheap labor, in semi rural regions, outside of major cities to build his distribution hubs? Pretty sh*tty real estate investment.

Pretty sure he's just build an amazing business model that close to 150 million Americans love to use.

You folks, on the other hand, need to learn to make my espresso faster.

14

@10 LavaGirl: Brilliantly said! I nominate you as winner of this thread. Kudos!

15

9: He's not even a realtor, fer crissakes.

16

10: I'm not picturing a blimp with "Bezos" painted on both sides.

17

The vast majority of Bezos’s wealth is made up of one thing — the 15-20ish percent ownership stake he owns in the company he helped to build — which makes the analogy to Imelda’s shoe collection particularly poor. He hasn’t actively gathered up and squirreled away heaps of dollar bills; he just didn’t sell Amazon to other people while its value skyrocketed.

Look, there’s plenty of legitimate ways to criticize Jeff Bezos. Complain about his company’s relentless culture. Highlight that his success was built upon total disregard for the physical and emotional well-being of his workers. Moralize that he should pull a Bill Gates and walk away from Amazon, devoting his attention and available wealth to charity. Heck, point out that his rocketship cowboy boots are silly. But don’t act like him continuing to own and manage the company he founded is some compulsive act of hoarding. He’s just doing what he’s always seemingly enjoyed doing — while people keep revising upward what they believe it’s worth to own a piece of his company.

(Equating the raw valuation of his equity to “stoff” or cash is also pretty inept for the reason that, I wager, the day Jeff declared “fuck this” and tried to dump all his stock, AMZN’s stock price would likely plummet by 25-50%. Bezos’s leadership is a lot of what makes his company so attractive.)

18

@2 You shouldn’t complain when people point out individual flaws in Charles’s logic — because trying to capture all the arguments in one of his articles is like trying to cup mercury in your hand without spilling a drop. The material is dense and has no structure. It’s impossible.

If you believe you can summarize the core argument that we should be focusing on here, by all means, please do so.

19

There is something everyone seems to be missing about rich people. I grew up in a very wealthy town in CA, I remember something our next door neighbor said. You reach a point where money doesn’t mater, it’s simply a way of keeping score.

20

As others have pointed out and seems lost on Mudede, is that 150 billion is just a big number, and I am confident that Bezos knows this more than anyone else. It happened to him as a result of founding and running an incredibly effective company that customers like and patronize, thus generating wealth primarily in the form of Amazon stock.

When one has such a massive amount of money, they typically spend a tiny fraction, say a billion or less, on personal stuff. Like a private jet (which would be on my own bucket list), several homes and perhaps a large yacht. But he does not consume more calories when he sits down to eat, and will likely have an average life span before dying.

And when he dies, this sort of wealth is hard to shelter from serious inheritance taxes unless one gives it away or otherwise spends it productively. This means things like a Foundation to do good works, the space company, buying and improving the Washington Post and more. I trust Bezos to steward his wealth and legacy far more than I would any politicians or virtuous guys like Mudede. Like Gates, it takes time to figure it out and he already has a full time job at Amazon. But give him time. I for one am quite appreciative of most of what Amazon does, though I wish it was in another city.

21

A sudden uptick in Amazon employees commenting on the stranger. To all the sillys who are criticizing the article for him comparing the accumulation of shoes with accumulation of money (or wealth or ownership or whatever): that wasnt the point of the article, it was the hook to try to educate you about the insanity of capitalism. But if you weren't one dimensional tech warriors with a very particular set of skills you would have the savvy and nuance to have recognized that. Now go learn to make my code faster wannabe overlords.

22

Money is not an infinite resource.

Bezos does have $150 Billion dollars. He owned a portion of a. Shines that’s currently valued at $150 Billion dollars. Meaning if the market tanked he could lose $100 Billion in a day or a week.

Bezos started Amazon from nothing, and made it into one of the biggest businesses ever. There’s a value in that, and in relating that to young people.

Given the finite resource that is money, which Bezos doesn’t currently have $150 Billion dollars of, he is a great example of someone who had an idea, and made something great from it.

This notion that success is somehow the enslavement of others is complete nonsense. The only reason Mudede is complaining is because he isn’t the one at the top of the hill.

23

update typos The Stranger comment section lack of N edit button is indicative of the Leftists inability to innovate.

“Bezos does NOT have $150 Billion dollars. He owns a portion of a business, and that portion is currently valued at $150 Billion dollars. Meaning if the market tanked he could lose $100 Billion in a day or a week.”

24

To prove my point about how batshit CRAZY Jeff is, "download the lectures on Audible" made possible to you by....?

25

23
"This notion that success is somehow the enslavement of others is complete nonsense."

How bout the enslavement / mass hoarding of das kapital?

Why must the 'success' of the Koch Bros. LLC translate to owing 'our' Government?
Witness the inherited wealth of our Furor -- how has that made America great?
Does enormous wealth inequality lead to a Greater America?

MUST Citizens be used as consumers, commodities, or cannon fodder,
or is there a better way?

Vote the fuckers out in November, but remember:
Count ALL the Votes -- say NO to faith-based voting:
Take OUR voting machines the fuck OUT of private hands.

26

@21 “To all the sillys who are criticizing the article for him comparing the accumulation of shoes with accumulation of money (or wealth or ownership or whatever): that wasnt the point of the article...”

Please let me direct your attention to the article headline.

Okay, my savvy, nuanced, multi-dimensional debate partner, if not shoes, wealth, and accumulation, what then is the point of Charles’s article? Because after ignoring those paragraphs, then all I’m seeing is a simple statement that the physical world is bounded, while the concept of money is a sociopolitical construct which is technically boundless. That is not a savvy or nuanced concept — just think about it for five minutes, watch an introductory economics video on YouTube, or ask any of the good people of Zimbabwe.

“Now go learn to make my code faster.”

Like shoes, developer time is not a limitless resource, so I’m afraid you’ll have to [gasp] pay someone before it will become your code. Capitalism strikes again!

27

What percentage of Bezos' convenience whores would drop to their knees (knee pads delivered free, amazon prime only) at the sight of king Jeff in person? Of course it's so very very important (see other comments) to point out his wealth is stock heavy, same as our fav ole cuddly G-pa coal train king Buffett and everyones favorite philanthropist Gates the charter school pimp. Major stock holders (especially the Health Ins/Pharma, oil and other slave wage paying companies like fast food outfits, walmarts etc) should be heavily taxed. When i think of their children I wish affluenza was fatal before age 18 (think Trump, Kochs and Waltons for starters). For the rest of us; learn about MMT to understand how we CAN demand justice.

28

"the insanity of capitalism."

Its allowed you to live a life our ancestors couldn't even imagine in terms of comfort, food choices, travel, and life expectancy. If that's insane, give me a double dose.

"accumulation of money (or wealth or ownership or whatever)"

Yeah, whatevs.

"A sudden uptick in Amazon employees commenting on the stranger. "

Nope, satisfied customer. Just ordered shaving cream, a specialized hammer and some camping supplies this morning. Coming Tuesday. Last week I got a new iPhone cover, two books ("Hillbilly Elegy", which I've been meaning to read for years now) and the wife got an awesomely sexy swimsuit.

However, the bitter barista class with their english lit degrees seem to be out in force.

29

@19 somewhereinthemiddle: Actually, I do know about keeping score, from an observational standpoint. I've seen plenty of schmucks struggle to "keep up with the Joneses" who can't afford the gated $18 million McMansion or the shiny new Porsche with all the latest features. And then they wonder why their lives suck because their credit rating is in the toilet.

30

@27 pcraig: Agreed. Thank you and bless you. I could not have summarized it better.

31

If you think it through logically and carefully, you'll soon realize Bezos is a bigger threat to American freedoms than Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin. The day when he owns every outlet for needed goods and services is rapidly approaching. He already owns a vast stellium of companies that most Americans are unaware of.

Bezos will then have total control over our lives in ways we don't foresee. Freedom to choose will just be an historical artifact. We will be forced to either get it from Bezos (he'll set the price and the rules) or we can't get it at all. There'll be no free marketplace because he will control it.

We've become so lazy and dependent on technology that many of us are loathe to physically explore the dwindling non-Amazon options still available in the outside world. We claim all of this is convenient and time saving. But what are with doing with the time saved? Is my life richer because I can tell Alexa to turn on the TV rather than press the On button on the remote? And how much time has that really saved me anyway?

The quality of the lives most are living today doesn't seem more satisfying or fulfilling than the lives of those even a mere 20 years ago. The human race evolved and got to this point without the ability to order a box of cereal from a Bezos empire talking device.

If the man becomes a monster, it will be because we have willingly made him into one.

32

"Freedom to choose will just be an historical artifact."

Thanks for the laugh. Seriously, English majors, go get a real job or start a business. Learn how the world actually functions.

They call it sophomoric thinking for a reason.

33

"Freedom to choose will just be an historical artifact."

Well, you can still buy all your expensive electronic items from NYC retailers to avoid WA sales taxes.

So there's still choice.

34

@27: Yeah, heavily tax businesses so they're no longer profitable and close up shop - then count your tax revenue to help the "so-called slaves" you think you have empathy for.

35

@34 Eventually they run out of other people’s money.

36

@28 & @35: centritisright? Is that you babbling again?
@34: At least you'll keep the Krispy Kreme and Dunkin' Donuts people happy, huh, sugarlips?

37

Would love if the anti-capitalist crowd would walk their talk. They would need to start with throwing out their iPhone and laptops, the hardware and software of each fairly embody all that they despise. And that is just the beginning of what they would need to do without. But starting with the electronics, it would shut them up quite nicely.

38

@37
"Would love if the anti-capitalist crowd would walk their talk." --Boardwalk

Yeah, it ain't Capitalism what's the issue -- it's the unbridled, unfettered Winner-take-ALL Capitalism what's (legally) purchased 'our' once-democratic Republic. (see: Citizens United)

The obscenely wealthy have bought and paid for 'our' Lawmakers. Which is why, eg, 'healthcare insurance' is either unobtainable or beyond ridiculous* for 50,000,000 American citizens.

That's what we hate about your unbridled Capitalism. Corporations have too much power. Citizens are now merely customers, cannon fodder or the collaterally damaged.

*are you a woman? Too bad -- that's a pre-existing condition! -- your "insurance" is no longer what you thought it was -- actual insurance that covers you for whatever. Sorry. It's just Capitalism!

39

@38

Sophomore year in college is always the most confusing. You’ll grow out of it soon.

40

“their credit rating is in the toilet.”

The missus and I have had near perfect scores since .... forever. Pretty easy to do, just live within your means. Next thing you know you have a nice single family home in Seattle, a nice-ish car (only one though, gotta be green you know), a couple of Roth IRAs, 401k (with Amazon stock we bought a decade ago). But like you we started with nothing, doing dead end jobs out of college. Worked hard and never looked back.

It’s your bitterness and resentment that holds you back, not Jeff Bezos.

41

It’s funny how the anti-Bezos crowd are so keen to jump on the Trump train when convenient.

42

''College,'' senor citizen? Who can AFFORD 'college' these days?

Not in the Richest Country on the Planet, leastways.
Ironic, ain't it?

Or is that Absurd.....

43

"Who can AFFORD 'college' these days?"

All those people going to college apparently. Maybe the english lit and poetry therapy majors will struggle, but that's because they failed to see the value of their diplomas. That's simply the free market weeding them out.

Try community college then. Might be a better fit considering your sophomoric views of the world.

BTW, UW costs less than day care and the only difference for you will be changing your own diaper.

44

I don't particularly recall Imelda Marcos making a fortune by providing a highly desired good or service.

45

@44 That's a distinction lost on the perpetually aggrieved class.

46

"Pull up them Bootstraps, whiner!" Thanks for the tips!

More sophistic sophomorisms from your resident sophy:

“US student debt: The Debt Trap: how the Student Loan Industry
Betrays Young Americans"

Navient is the primary point of contact, or the “servicer”, for more student loans in the United States than any other company, handling 12 million borrowers and $300bn in debt. The company flourished as student loan debt exploded under the Obama administration, and its stock rose sharply after the election of Donald Trump.

Among the 44 million Americans who have amassed our nation’s whopping $1.4tn in student loan debt, a call from Navient can produce shivers of dread.

Navient, spun off from Sallie Mae, has thrived as student loan debt spirals across the US. Its story reveals how, instead of fighting inequality, the education industry is reinforcing it. Among the 44 million Americans who have amassed our nation’s whopping $1.4tn in student loan debt, a call from Navient can produce shivers of dread.

Yet during a year-long investigation into who profits off of what has become the largest source of American consumer debt, Fusion TV untangled how Navient has positioned itself to dominate the lucrative student loan industry in the midst of this crisis, flexing its muscles in Washington and increasingly across the states.

The story of Navient’s emerging power is also the story of how an industry built around the idea that education can break down inequities is reinforcing them.”
https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/sep/06/us-student-debt-loans-navient-sallie-mae

“… an industry built around the idea that education can break down inequities is reinforcing them.” Gosh. Who knew.

47

"I don't particularly recall Imelda Marcos making a fortune by providing a highly desired good or service."

Oh, Sporty, even YOU know her Hubby, Ferdie, was stealing Billion$ from his fellow Countrymen, and that wifey Imelda (and her ten thousand shoes) was merely a Symptom of Theft on a Grand Scale. Like Putin. And Russia.

And now I give you -- The Trumpfs.

“In the 21 years Ferdinand Marcos ran the Philippines, billions went missing. As his son stands for vice-president, will the stolen fortune ever be recovered?

In the early hours of a February morning in 1986, Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos flew into exile. After 21 years as president of the Philippines, Marcos had rigged one too many elections. The army had turned against him, and the people had come out on to the streets in their thousands. The Marcoses had seen the crisis coming and been able to prepare their escape, so when they landed that morning at the Hickham USAF base in Hawaii, they brought plenty of possessions with them.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/07/10bn-dollar-question-marcos-millions-nick-davies

48

Get rid of government guarantees of student loans and the problem will vanish. The banks will need to take on the actual risk and the colleges won't see the students as easy money printing machines and will be forced to reign in their exploding administrative and other wasteful costs (dorms with climbing walls! poetry therapy departments! Vice provosts for bathroom equity!).

Free, no risk money for the both the banks and colleges mean they simply don't give a sh*t about how it is spent.

49

You far-ult-White Conservatrolls -- you must think the Left's pretty stupid.
While we do have our Faults, ignorance is not the worst.

50

"Get rid of government guarantees of student loans and the problem will vanish. " --Rhodies

No. Get rid of for-Profit Education, and the Problem will evaporate overnight.
HOW DO YOU PAY FOR THAT?!

Good question: with a Transaction Tax on Wall Street Banksteers.
Duh.

51

@47 There's a simple way to get a free education in the US. It's called the "GI Bill".

"Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country"

52

You guys better hurry up and Bomb bomb bomb, Bomb bomb Iran:

November 6th is coming up quick.

And if your gerrymandering, voter suppression and OWNING THE VOTING MACHINES isn't Enough, your days atop the very pinnacle of the Pyramid will soon be ... over.

53

"Get rid of for-Profit Education"

State colleges are for profit? Only 13% of US college students are in for-profit colleges (Source: Harkin Report and the NY Times). But if you went to one it may explain why you don't live in a fact-based world.

And yes, the federal government shouldn't be guaranteeing students loans to them either.

54

Wanna Win?

Adopt Senator Sanders' (Independent, VT) Policies.

55

@53 -- Thanks!

You're correct -- Make Education Free would have been much better.

Invest in our Citizens, and America reaps the Rewards.

ALL of America. Not just the tip-top .01%

56

"Only 13% of US college students are in for-profit colleges (Source: Harkin Report and the NY Times). But if you went to one it may explain why you don't live in a fact-based world."

Which is why it was such an enormous Blow to Education in America
when they disbanded Trumpf U. SAD

But, at least, we got a new curse....

57

You want a free education, sign up for the GI Bill.

Also, stop making the engineering and computer science students subsidize the poetry therapy and gender studies departments. That would save a mint along with slashing the explosive growth in baby sitting jobs at US colleges (Vice Provost of equity and social justice !).

58

@47 I assumed she was living off her husbands largess, which is why the comparison is doubly weird. The point is, Bezos, by every and all existing western cultural standards, earned his money. The American people themselves have "saved" billions along the way (attn Approved Liberals: please now argue that they money is better off in the hands of the companies that Amazon competes with than in the pockets of the American public. I'll wait).

By those same Standards, Marcos was a despot kleptocrat.

@50 correct - private universities are a major generator of student loan debt. They only exist because of the existence of guaranteed government university loans. As a huge debtholder myself (to complete my undergrad and masters), the investment has been more than worth it, I couldn't get hired above minimum wage before, now they ask me "how much will it take to make up your mind". It's been a big turnaround for me. These private institutions, however - those degrees are about as valuable as they are hard to get: Not Very. It's the iron law of supply of demand.

59

Bezos is rich because far too many people are willing to part with their money via a system he developed. That system is not Evil. His wealth is not evil. However, people parting with their money to buy crap, that's stupid. And we all know stupid has no limits, while genius, financial or otherwise does.

60

Only two orders from Amazon today: sun cream and a nice pair of sandals for upcoming family vacation on Corfu.

Thank you Jeff Bezos!

61

@58 by "private", I mean "for-profit".

62

@61
and debtor for debtholder?

63

@62 yes. I owe many dollars to the republic and will for a long time.

64

@ 57: “You want a free education, sign up for the GI Bill.” --Rhodies Galore

Great minds think alike:
“It’s Time to Make National Service a Universal Commitment”
by Isabel V. Sawhill Thursday, November 30, 2017

“The country is deeply divided. It is divided economically, but also politically and culturally. As these divisions widen, I’m convinced it’s time to revive a commitment to national service—and to make that commitment universal. ‘Universal’ could mean mandatory, but more realistically, it should mean the creation of a strong expectation that every U.S. resident give one year of service—either military or civilian—and be provided with a structured opportunity to do so.

In his 1961 inaugural address, John F. Kennedy famously said, ‘ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.’ This led to the creation of the Peace Corps and, soon after, to its domestic equivalent VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), which was later incorporated into the AmeriCorps network. President Clinton [the 1st] expanded on the idea by establishing the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), an agency overseeing AmeriCorps and other volunteer services. Though the Trump administration has proposed eliminating CNCS, it remains popular among Republicans, Democrats, and voters of all stripes.

This broad support makes it unlikely that the Trump administration will succeed in eliminating CNCS, but the program has faced budgetary challenges from the start. The number of people applying to serve greatly exceeds the number of opportunities the agency can provide. At the same time, many nonprofit and local community groups are very dependent on national service program volunteers. In short, the demand for volunteers and the supply of people who want to volunteer both exceed the current capacity of government to bring the two together. A data-driven platform and some additional resources might solve the problem.

How does it work now? Anyone who is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident age 17 or older can apply for AmeriCorps. Volunteers typically serve for a year and receive a modest living allowance, priority hiring at about 450 companies, and the equivalent of a Pell grant to go to college if they complete a year of service. Most of the funding is channeled through state commissions and used for a variety of projects in education, health care, the environment, housing, disaster relief and helping the poor. It has provided volunteers for Teach for America, Youth Build, the Boys and Girls Clubs, the Red Cross, and many other well-known organizations.

Is there an economic case for national service? According to Clive Belfield, it easily passes a benefit-cost test. The taxpayer costs for youth alone are about $1.1 billion per year. Estimating the benefits is tricky. They can include both the value of the services or the output provided, plus the gains in experience, education, and lower social costs for the volunteers. Belfield’s study determines that a conservative estimate of taxpayer benefits suggests they exceed the costs by a ratio of more than two to one.

I do not think that expanding national service should be the only way to help young people bridge the gap between school and college or career, but it could play a role not only in helping young people afford more education or training, but—even more importantly—bringing a divided nation together.

The journalist Roger Cohen, for example, recommends a ‘vastly expanded, even mandatory, national service program that might at once throw Americans of every creed and culture together for a year or two at an impressionable age, fire up civic engagement and even revive the American dream…American fracture is advancing by the day because Americans are no longer obliged to look one another in the eye and find solutions.’”

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2017/11/30/its-time-to-make-national-service-a-universal-commitment/

65

"...but money can be incessantly acquired; in other words, there is never too much money...."

True, but the funny thing about money is that....
...it only exists when there is an equal amount of debt in the world.
For every dollar, there is a 'dollar of debt' that must be paid somewhere. Except that debt is even more infinite than money, because if there were a finite amount of money, the debt that it must repay continues to grow, thanks to interest.

Money exists only in an antagonistic relationship to Debt.
Like matter and antimatter.
Pay off that debt, and both the money and the debt cease to exist. They cancel each other out.
No more debt? No more money.

So Bezos' billions --while still virtually 'stocks', and if converted into cash-- means that there is $150 Billion of Debt (..and growing, thanks to interest).

Where is that debt? Who carries Bezos' debt so that he can carry $150Billion dollars of value?
He's not alone in this.