I was reading about zillionaire Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon, the world’s largest Internet company. He arguably became the richest person in history during the Covid-19 pandemic thanks to a huge upsurge in online sales. He owns Whole Foods. He owns Washington Post. His new multi-deck yacht is so big, it comes with a support yacht for his helicopter. He will be flying to space in July on a rocket ship built by his “space company,” Blue Origin.
Oh, and there’s this: Bezos thinks people are “inherently lazy.” As recently noted in The New York Times:
Some of the practices that most frustrate [Amazon warehouse] employees — the short-term-employment model, with little opportunity for advancement, and the use of technology to hire, monitor and manage workers — come from Jeff Bezos…
To help maximize profits, the big chief established an oppressive work environment in which warehouse employees are quickly replaced as they become “less eager” to exhaust themselves. Pre-pandemic data showed that “Amazon was losing three percent of its hourly associates each week — meaning its turnover was roughly 150 percent a year.” Meaning it “had to replace the equivalent of its entire work force roughly every eight months.”
The statistics gave me a headache. “Why do workers in this country put up with glorified sweatshop operators like Bezos?” I shouted. “Anybody want to take a shot at answering that question?”
There was only one other human in the swamp that day, so I wasn’t expecting too many responses.
“Too many snowflakes,” Swamp Rabbit said. “Not enough peeps like Bezos, who ain’t afraid to spend millions to get flown to outer space instead of using his dough to treat them warehouse grunts like humans.”
My grizzled friend told me Bezos and two others will be on the upcoming space flight, which will last eleven minutes and soar to more than 60 miles above Earth.
“Eleven minutes and sixty miles?” I said. “Is that all? Very disappointing.”
“Sixty miles is pretty high, Odd Man. I bet you ain’t never been that high unless you was shooting meth or something.”
“Forget about me,” I told him. “I’m saying Earth’s foremost megalomaniac should at least go to the moon. The media would love him. If he’s the visionary he presents himself as, he’ll fly to Uranus and greenlight the biggest warehouse anywhere. There are no labor unions on Uranus. Workers are super-cheap.”
“Yeah, but they turn into icicles in two minutes,” Swamp Rabbit said. “The turnover is brutal, even by Bezos’ standards.”
“You’re right,” I conceded. “Fact is, the Solar System isn’t big enough for a jerk like Bezos. He should keep flying all the way to Alpha Centauri and send us a postcard when he gets there.”
“Dang. That wouldn’t be for about 40,000 years, Odd Man.”
“Exactly. Even that would be too soon, don’t you think?”