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As Bezos Becomes Richest Man in Modern History, Amazon Workers Mark #PrimeDay With Strikes Against Low Pay and Brutal Conditions


#1

As Bezos Becomes Richest Man in Modern History, Amazon Workers Mark #PrimeDay With Strikes Against Low Pay and Brutal Conditions

Jake Johnson, staff writer

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has just become the richest man in recorded history—surpassing $150 billion in net worth—thanks to his business model of subjecting employees to low wages, brutal working conditions, and scant benefits, and on Tuesday Amazon workers throughout Europe are marking "Prime Day" by walking off the job in massive numbers to call attention to their plight.


#2

This is what our society has become. Screw over anyone you can no matter what the cost. These people forget they will eventually die. Spending their fotunes in Hell should be a blast!!!


#3

Hope Bezos pays his food taster well. Oh wait, fuck him. Sooner or later as he and his fellow fat cats start getting taken out, they will form the Occupy Bunker Movement, to be known as Occupy BM.


#4

They all need a good spanking starting with Trump on down.


#5

I’m all out of magazines with Ivanka’s picture…


#6

Laugh-of-the-day award goes to you!


#7

I no longer shop at Whole Foods. I don’t want to be serviced by a slave.


#8

The CIA takes care of its own. Bezos need only make sure his Media Outlets advance the Corporate and Fascist message of the deep state and he will grow richer yet.


#9

Bexos is also the “SICKEST man in modern history”.
How else can such greed be described but as a sickness?
Unfortunately, that sickness affects everyone tied to him in a negative way but him!


#10

Union negotiated the 48 hour week down from sixty, negotiated the 40 hour week down from 48, negotiated double time and holidays off with pay, negotiated health insurance, vacation time, safety rules a limited child labor, and retirement. Thanks to our trickle down, politicians, all of them from Nixon to Clinton and especially Reagan they brutalized the unions and turned labor into modern day slave labor. Unless workers unite under one flag the fascists are going to rule. They are not swayed by reason logic or concerns for humanity. The Nazis proved that and we seem to have inherited a substantial crop of them here. Blond blue eyed hate-filled and cruel near humans.


#11

Amazon’s increasing the cost of Prime membership by a lot for next year. They have lost my business based on the bad reports about how they treat workers. Who would have put Amazon on the same insidious level as Wal-Mart?


#12

I hear many progressives say that they don’t care about people becoming rich, that they should try to get what they can, but that we should reduce inequality so that stuff like this doesn’t happen. What I find utterly missing is the means of making sure this doesn’t happen. Seems that inequality emerges out of institutions being designed in a particular way, how we design property rights, how large enterprises are, how rich people are, power dynamics, among other things. Within enterprises, people like Bezos employ people, and those people create a particular amount of value. If they create more value than they are paid, then a surplus is created. If they didn’t create a surplus, there would be no point in employing them. Does that surplus go back to the workers, or does it get funneled up to people like Bezos? If it gets funneled to Bezos, which it clearly does, what do the particular progressives I mentioned propose? I can see the logical difference between a person that makes some money selling stuff that they largely produce with their hands. However, once a person’s wealth is dependent on taking the wealth that others create, a debate needs to happen as to who is entitled to that wealth. Ownership is an unavoidable part of the conversation. Maybe worker cooperatives make sense, for this reason among others, to address this. If a person invests in the financial markets and that thing increases in value, they didn’t do anything to earn that wealth. Some could argue that profits are the return for risk, but I don’t buy it. I take a risk every time I eat at Taco Bell. I don’t think Taco Bell should send me some money to reward that risk, and in regards to the largest financial interests, we have effectively socialized their risk any damn way. If a person invests in some property, and that property appreciates in value, it might be because of investments in that property, but a good portion of the time it is locational value. They bought property, there is economic development surrounding the property and the property is appreciating in value because of that. So, who should benefit from appreciating property values? The community whose collective development led to the appreciating property values, or the property owner, and using what logic that isn’t almost entirely ideological. Mainstream economics even talks about the fact that enterprises and individuals can gain value and increase their profits simply because of their size. That is why mainstream economists tend to hate monopolistic power, often as much (at least in theory) as the state “distorting” markets. That is why we used to have anti-trust legislation. Then there is financialization. When Reagan took office, less than 10% of domestic profits accrued to the financial sector. That number had grown about four fold by the onset of the crash in 2008. What is finance’s product? Debt. So as finance has grown, so has private and public indebtedness (private debt is much larger than public debt) and a larger share of capital accumulation was centered on people paying money to creditors. My overall point is that a good portion of the wealth that goes to people like Bezos is the result of how big he already is, his ability to monopolize the wealth others create, and investments in financial and property markets that have nothing to do with the wealth they themselves create. Bezos doesn’t create the wealth accruing to him with his own hands, that would be impossible. He does so because of particular institutions that dominate our economy, how they are designed, and the ways in which we design things like property rights, the increasing use of the FIRE sector as a means of capital accumulation and how little we pay attention to lessening the massive power differential between capital and labor. It is also a fact that a good portion of profits made now emerge from capitalists being able to create costs, which they then externalize onto others, the environment, future generations or the public sector.

I don’t see, in the modern economy, with globalization and financialization, how this can be tackled without radically changing the system. I think that middle of the road social democrats have some decent policies to address this, but they aren’t enough, at least in my opinion. For example, I am reading a great book called Fossil Capital, and it goes into how the labor movement in the early 19th century, its demands and militancy, as well as government policies (like the factory laws) that aimed at strengthening labor and addressing things like child labor, led to an explosion in automation. The higher the wages, the more it makes economic sense to invest in machines. The Obama administration’s report on automation and AI even noted that if current trends continue on, that the strife between those that own the machines and those that don’t (and only own their labor) will intensify. They offered some solutions that are okay, but not anything that addresses ownership. That is assumed away. Well, that all is the case now, and it isn’t something that is just an issue here. China has invested more in automation than we have. And capital is far more mobile now, so if we raise wages domestically without any other structural changes, that would incentivize both automation and outsourcing, to say nothing of asking capitalists to pay for non-market environmental and social costs that other countries don’t make capitalists pay for.


#13

Time for Bezos to come out with a tv show - THE APPRENTICE II. Being a successful billionaire, the richest man in the world, the show will appeal to so many brainwashed of the USA. Bezos products Amazon, Amazon Prime, WP and others can be the sponsors. For Bezos the future is unlimited. Very likely on the yellow brick road to the white house. Ain’t America great? MAGA or maggots?


#14

Does he suffer with chronic diarrea? Is that why he needs 25 bathrooms.? Pooh.


#15

very good points. Washington and Wall Street have designed the system where all excess capital flows to Wall Street. IRAs, 401(k)s, pensions, etc - the money goes to a central controlling point as versus staying in the communities. Wall Street takes the money and sends back big box stores and destroys locally owned businesses. Big pensions funds like CALPERS invest in Wall Street whereas I think all of their money should be invested in California. Banks that used to be local or state are now mainly national. Would we have had the 2008 crisis if all mortgages were generated locally and administered locally? Don’t think so but that doesn’t matter because the people making these decisions weren’t really hurt by 2008. It was an opportunity for them while it was a crisis for the rest of us. Unfortunately I don’t see any way out of this. Too many of the people in the US lack the intellect, will or capability to challenge this. Entertainment or other diversions including addictions prevail. We are in a mess but still those who see must do what they can.


#16

I don’t know what Prime is and I don’t care to know.


#17

you know!


#18

I have as well.


#19

Bezos is one of those super rich who believe they can extend their life span. He reminds me on some kind of clone…not a human.


#20

Yes. And while capital has grown more mobile with each new advance in computer technology, labor has to contend with ever-tightening “immigration” laws, an asymmetry which is rarely if ever touched on.