If Jeff Bezos was a nation, his $106 billion personal fortune would place the orb’s wealthiest inhabitant squarely between the national economies of Ukraine and Morocco.
Ukraine is a European country which is home to 45 million human beings. Its national economy ranks 97th among the 228 nations on Planet Earth, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Meaning that if a different Ukrainian wiped the Amazon founder’s ass with a single sheet of toilet paper every time he used the toilet, and he had three bowel movements a day, and used 20 sheets per movement, Bezos would be 2,054 years old by the time they all did their doodie.
How does it help the human race for one man to possess a personal fortune of $106 billion?
What is the sense of having so much money in the hands of a single person?
There is no sense to it. It’s insanity.
Is this vast wealth even beneficial to Bezos himself?
Nope. It makes him and his loved ones targets for every scurrilous opportunist on the planet. They’ll never know whether anyone really loves them again or who their real friends are.
In a very short period of time they will completely lose all touch with the rest of the world behind the heavily defended walls and gates of their isolated homes, offices, private schools, country clubs and wealthy enclaves.
So why do it?
Bezos isn’t doing it. No one is.
Our stock markets are out of control, as is the global economy. Instead of benefiting mankind they’re now undermining both democracy and human civilization.
The markets are turning into a gigantic pyramid scheme, which allows the super rich to enter first and exit first via high-speed trading.
This new norm is inflicting a terrible toll on everyone else in America. From employers, to customers, to employees. It's literally a system that rewards treason.
Rather than maturing into stable economic engines and job centers, publicly traded companies like The Limited, Payless Shoes, Facebook, Blackberry, Circuit City, Boston Market, Enron, and The Sports Authority are growing old prematurely under the relentless pressure of forever profit growth.
They’re burning out and dying young, just like their exploited employees.
The U.S. had about half as many publicly traded companies in 2016 as it did in 1996, according to a research report Michael Mauboussin wrote just before he left his position as head of global financial strategies at Credit Suisse. Listings fell from 7,322 to 3,671 during the 20 year span.
Bringing the planet’s runaway stock markets under control in a world of high-speed trading, big data and algorithms is more easily said than done. Especially in a global economy with no real global government or regulation.
“The population of investors is vastly more informed,” Mauboussin said in a 2017 report called “The Incredible Shrinking Universe of Stocks.”
That’s the reason wealth inequality has soared since the Internet first began to build the global economy in 1994. Stock exchanges are being transformed into currency printing presses for the super rich.
The rest of us are being reduced to the kind of wages that today’s 50 year olds once earned as high school and college students. Sans inflation.
The wealthiest person on the planet in 1988 was the Sultan of Brunei, with a fortune of $25 billion. If his money had simply increased due to inflation it would be worth $51 billion today. Not $106 billion.
How much is $106 billion?
If Bezos paid $10 to each and every one of the 7.6 billion human beings on Earth he’d still have $30 billion left over afterward - making him the orb’s 30th wealthiest resident.
Bezos’ wealth is soaring because Amazon’s stock is growing. The computerized trading programs that are designed to identity the fastest growing companies are pouring money into the AMZN ticker. It’s up 29 percent to $1,254.33 a share the past 10 weeks.
Here’s the problem: the money pouring into Amazon doesn’t come from no-where. It comes from other publicly traded companies that aren’t growing their profits as rapidly.
Publicly traded companies have stock tickers and issue shares of stock. They differ from privately owned companies, like Levi Strauss or Mars Candy, and nonprofit companies like The Red Cross or the YMCA.
We’re not talking about profits versus losses here when we talk about what ails our publicly traded companies. We’re talking about the need to generate annual profit growth of at least 8 percent a year, or die.
Financial data is the fuel that drives the system.
Before 1990, it was a lot harder to accurately compare companies to determine which ones were the fastest growing. Which is why investors were more willing to put up with the modest ups and downs of a stable company.
Today’s computerized trading programs have no such compunctions. They’re in and out of stocks hundreds of times a day, which means a feast of financial resources for the publicly traded companies which qualify as growth stocks and complete famine for everyone else.
Corporate stability is a thing of the past now. Growth has become a breakneck race to the bottom. When it doesn’t happen organically, companies are not shy about creating the illusion via aggressive cost cutting.
That’s why most American workers have been laid off at least once since 2001 and will be again.
Mortgages, pensions, families and affordable medical care?
Those are all things of the past, when workers in the private sector had stable employers. Because the fastest growing companies also tend to be the most ruthless with their employees.
This sea change is the kind of collective madness that threatens the species in a global economy with no global government.
That’s a thing of the past too.
The members of the current generation of toxic elites have one goal and one goal only: To avoid being tossed into the teeming masses of broken Americans as this brutal game of musical chairs winds down.
Why else would Apple risk the profitable iPhone franchise by boosting its asking price from roughly $800 per unit to $1,000?
If not to satisfy the insane demands of forever profit growth.
Why else would a company like GoPro with a desirable product need to lay-off a fifth of its workforce just because its new action camera wasn’t a game changer?
If not for the insanity of forever profit growth.
Why else would a company like Enron rig the California Energy crisis in 2000-2001 to send prices surging?
Why else would Taco Bell betray its customers by replacing ground beef with wood cellulose?
Why else would Verizon trick its customers into buying phones that only work on their network, for the same price as unlocked phones that work everywhere? And barrage them with one hidden fee after another?
Why else would meatpackers package byproducts once used for animal feed into “pink slime” for consumption by their fellow Americans?
Why else would private equity funds and hedge funds trap young Americans into a lifetime of debt slavery at their for-profit colleges?
Why else would Wells Fargo employees open fraudulent bank accounts under fake names to create the illusion of customer growth?
Why else would banks charge the kind of excessive interest rates once associated with criminal loan sharks and pay the political protection racket to allow them to get away with it?
Why else would our elected leaders make political bribery legal via excessive speaking fees, pay-to-play payoffs to their bogus charities, and by exempting themselves from insider trading regulations so they can traffic in stock tips and initial public offerings?
Why else would Amazon and Wal-Mart charge Americans first-world prices for products made by third-world labor, and pocket the difference?
Forever profit growth is the the catalyst for all of these diminutions in the American social contract. Not profits.
What happens to the companies which don't bend the rules, buy political cover from the crooks in DC, and exploit their fellow Americans to make the cut?
Which is exactly what happened to Toys 'R' Us, The Limited, Westinghouse, Payless Shoe Source, RadioShack and nearly 600 other retailers and much of the free press in 2017. It's also what's about to happen to GoPro, Sears, Macy’s, JCPenney, and Blackberry.
The number of publicly traded companies in the U.S. has been cut in half since 2001 and the percentage of our population with decent paying jobs is dangerously low. Workers have to make at least $20 an hour now just to be able afford to purchase comprehensive health care.
Meanwhile, there are literally companies paying $7.25 an hour. Which is akin to making $2.93 back in 1982, when $10 an hour jobs were commonplace. Might as well be nothing for all that's left after taxes, transportation and medical.
To have the same kind of buying power today as $10 an hour in 1982 you’d have to make $26 an hour.
What’s the moral of the story?
All that talk from our toxic elites about how everything is great with the economy, job creation and the official unemployment rate is knowing bullshit. A pattern of systemic lies.
Times are tough and they’re getting tougher.
The huge fortunes being amassed by people like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Warren Buffett come right out of the pockets of decent working families.
It’s not your imagination.
The rich are getting richer and the rest of us are paying the price. Via the systemic class warfare being waged against American workers by our own financial and political elites. On both sides of the political aisle.
It's a coup, by the rich. For the rich. And if you think it's a bloodless coup, you haven't been reading about our rates of suicide, overdose and homelessness.