[Note: I’m not rolling out Hack List 2017 in any special order. We’ll rank the Top Ten after posting stories about all the finalists and then I’ll milk all this for another easy post where I rank them. I’m not sure how long this process will take but it will surely be done by the end of the year. You can read the last installment, “Why the New Yorker Sucks, In One Annotated Story,” here. Other candidates thus far are New York Times, The Intercept and Vox.]
Like many of his fellow tech billionaires, Jeff Bezos looks Blandly Evil, not Snidely Whiplash Evil. But make no mistake about it, Bezos — the Amazon.com CEO who recently purchased Whole Foods and who runs the Washington Post and his other properties like slave camps — is both.
“When the financial markets opened on July 27, 2017, Bezos briefly surpassed Bill Gates to become the world’s richest person, with an estimated net worth of just over $90 billion. He lost the title later in the day when Amazon’s stock dropped, returning him to second place with a net worth just below $90 billion,” according to Wikipedia. I’m not sure which of those assholes is richer now, but Bezos netted another $8.6 billion yesterday.
Admit it, you’d like to punch him in the face before ordering him up the stairs to the guillotine. And who could blame you?
Bezos gets remarkably, or perhaps not, good press in the U.S. media — especially the Post — which invariably describes him as a “philanthropist.” Sure he is, just like noted breadcrumb distributor Marie Antoinette.
Bezos doesn’t exactly treat his employees as serfs nor does he typically bring in goons to crush heads and murder them, like the oligarchs of the Industrial Revolution era, with their Pinkerton National Detective Agency, called in by the Carnegie family to break the Homestead Strike, and other private police/military forces.
No, Bezos just kills them with kindness, or as this excellent report says:
As Amazon expands and takes over more of the economy, it’s driving many
alarming trends affecting working people: fewer reliable jobs, more temporary work
arrangements, declining wages, and high-stress conditions.
When shoppers interact with Amazon, they see an innovator. Yet behind the scenes,
across the corporation’s vast network of fulfillment facilities, Amazon relies on a
regressive labor model designed to maximize its power and profits no matter the
cost to our communities.
And suffice it to say that Amazon.com employees abroad get fucked even worse. In short, Bezos is the very personification of modern monopoly capitalist. Don’t ask me why, because the person who noted this wants to remain off the record for some mysterious reason, but I’m somehow reminded of Upton Sinclair writing in The Brass Check, “The people I have lashed in this book are to me not individuals, but social forces.” And Sinclair also wrote that his general thesis was, “American newspapers as a whole represent private and not public interests.”
Keep in mind that Bezos’ companies started out by lowering prices, thereby suckering in consumers, and then raised them as they gained control over their markets on the way to becoming monopolies. Whole Foods consumers take note. Bezos lowered prices, very selectively, after he took over the chain. Just wait and see what your chia seeds cost next year. Never forget, shoppers, that Amazon.com’s success has been predicated on razing a rainforest of small business across the globe.