This morning I checked my email and found a message from Jeff Bezos. How exciting! Here it is:
My name is Jeff Bezos an American technology entrepreneur, investor, and charity donor. I'm the founder, CEO and president of Amazon.com, Inc. I believe strongly in ‘giving while living’ I had one idea that never changed in my mind, that you should use your wealth to help people and i have decided to give Five Million Dollars, to randomly selected individuals worldwide. On receipt of this email, you should count yourself as the lucky individual. Your email address was chosen online while searching at random. Kindly get back to me at your earliest convenience, so I know your email address is valid. …
Mr Jeffrey Preston Bezos, Billionaire investor
Whoa. Five million? Really? Sign me up.
But then, I asked myself, "What's the catch? There's always a catch." Thinking this, I hesitated to reply to Mr. Bezos. "Why," I asked myself, "would Jeff Bezos choose me? Could this email be SPAM?"
Or is it really from Mr. Bezos? Is he the kind of philanthropist who gives money to random strangers? Not according to a Forbes article from September, 2020. The magazine scored 400 billionaires on their philanthropy. Five was the high score. Bezos got a one. That score means he's given out less than 0ne percent of his wealth.
Well, perhaps he's a humanitarian. Not so, according to this PBS story. Former employees consider Amazon a dehumanizing workplace. But if Bezos isn't a philanthropist or a humanitarian why would he want to give me five million?
He could be sitting on a lot of spare change. Maybe not. Didn't he just buy a 500 million dollar yacht?
On another note, my ancestors used to hunt and gather their food. They didn't own much, because there wasn't much to own. The food they acquired, they shared with their neighbors. Their neighbors likewise shared food with them. Sounds like Communism, doesn't it? Luckily, humanity replaced gathering with farming, and hunting with animal husbandry, so that it could invent real estate and other forms of property. With property comes capital and with with capital comes Capitalism and its heir, income inequality. Through new methods and technologies, Capitalism now churns out extreme income inequality like climate change churns out high waves. Society could do something about this, but why stop a great party just because some go hungry?