Amazon’s malign power has grown to the point where for several years now, it has declared its own holiday, Prime Day, which is essentially centred around giving it huge amounts of money while ignoring that it is maybe evil. This year’s Prime Day is especially special, because the Bloomberg Billionaires Index has declared Amazon’s tyrant CEO Jeff Bezos the richest individual in modern recorded history when adjusting for inflation.
Bloomberg reported that as of yesterday, with Amazon shares closing at $US1822.49 ($2468.84), Bezos’ wealth is now estimated at over $US150 billion ($203 billion). That shatters Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ prior record of $US100 billion in 1999, which would be around $US149 billion ($202 billion) today:
Bezos, 54, also has topped Gates in inflation-adjusted terms. The $100 billion mark that Gates hit briefly in 1999 at the height of the dot-com boom would be worth about $149 billion in today’s dollars. That makes the Amazon chief executive officer richer than anyone else on earth since at least 1982, when Forbes published its inaugural wealth ranking.
Of course, one does not become worth $US150 billion by generating it out of thin air so much as taking it from others. Amazon’s rise to the top has been accompanied by widespread allegations of a brutal corporate culture and poor treatment of workers (some of whom went on strike this week). It’s also coincided with a broader culling of the brick-and-mortar herd.
Astute observers may remember that it was only some eight months ago in late November 2017 when Bezos’ wealth broke the $US100 billion ($135 billion) mark, which is a nice little reminder that wealth inequality is skyrocketing.
As CNBC noted, Bezos has yet to eclipse one final record: John D. Rockefeller’s early-1900s valuation at two per cent of national GDP, which would be $US350 billion ($474 billion) in today’s economy. He’ll just have to wait another year or two for that one.