Billionaires: What Are They Good For?
Amazon shares jumped an unheard eight percent yesterday, equivalent to one whole Boeing, or two Disney’s. The e-commerce giant is leading up a dangerous Nasdaq surge, but most investors identify with the problem most in Jeff Bezos’ net worth. He just added a cool 13-billion-dollars to his fortune, enflaming a powerful billionaire abolishment debate – uh oh!
This isn’t just academic or political oral; a wealth tax would have massive repercussions for investors. We know how the argument goes. It’s hoarding etc. Jeff Bezos didn’t show thirteen billion times more individual merit yesterday than most people. Jeff Bezos has not worked thirteen billion-times harder than most people. Jeff Bezos pays some workers minimum wage!
Let’s imagine, then, that personal wealth gets confiscated above a certain level, just as a thought experiment. We first need to understand where the wealth is coming from, and that is; assets that Jeff Bezos owns; mainly the e-commerce website he founded twenty years ago and that he still runs on a daily basis, Amazon.com.
If we confiscate his wealth, we confiscate his ownership in the e-commerce website he founded, and controlling ownership at that. If controlling ownership of Amazon changes hands, someone else will call the shots for what Amazon does, what it sells, and how.
Jeff Bezos started Amazon from his garage. It’s that man’s leadership that has helped Amazon get where it is today. Amazon Prime, Web Services, and NDD all descend from his vision, and these are good things as affirmed by our constant spending (voting) on them in the marketplace. Who’s going to do a better job than Jeff Bezos at bringing us more innovations?
Jeff Bezos has risen to the top like the cream on a mediocre soufflé. It’s thanks to his example that the United States is where the poorest in the third-world want to go and live and work.
We can’t compare his numbers to our salaries, which represent income. He didn’t make thirteen billion-dollars in income yesterday. His illiquid wealth ticked up following a short-term bull run from Amazon investors; he was just a passenger. And that illiquid wealth is, weirdly, not that financial. It’s governance-based; the money is necessary to saddle Bezos with the responsibility of wardening his assets that he cares for, Blue Origin, and Amazon.
We need to be careful what we confiscate, his money, or his responsibilities to make Amazon bigger and better for all of us in the future. Food for thought!
I am not a financial advisor and my comments should never be taken as financial advice. Investments come with risk, so always do your research and analysis beforehand.