The Amazon bosss philanthropy fund flies in the face of the style he gives his craftsmen. Yet he wants to be seen as a messiah, says the Guardian critic Marina Hyde
Always a pleasure to hear from accepted Paul Verhoeven criminal Jeff Bezos, who this week announced an initiative designed to shed him as Earth’s first trillion-dollar sociopath. OK, I’ve paraphrased somewhat. The Amazon boss has propelled something “ve called the” Day One money, which feels like the will-this-do deed for the will-this-do initiative it is. Bezos has long been criticised for his glaring paucity of a humanitarian limb, long after he became the richest mortal in modern biography. A years ago Jeff seemed at such a loss as to how not to be an unmitigated arse that he was asking internet users for feelings. He seems to have ignored all the respondents who said,” Stop plowing your workers like rubbish .”
Do you remember the opening up of Verhoeven’s Robocop, before things started to go really tits-up in increasingly automated future Detroit? There’s a company that mostly does everything, announced Omni Consumer Products. They begin providing services that might reasonably be imagined the job on the part of states. A movie ensues. Anyway, here we are. Fresh from announcing that Amazon’s getting into healthcare, Jeff has decided to help homeless people and low-income societies with donations and not-for-profit schools.
” We’ll use the same create of principles that have driven Amazon ,” he justifies, encouragingly.” The child is likely to be the customer .” Mmm. Customers who bought this nonsense likewise bought the line that Elon Musk is a humanitarian, and that Mark Zuckerberg went to crucial early-primary positions last year because he wanted to” share fibs” with ordinary Americans.
Off the top of my president, Jeff has already had two much clearer chances to help homeless people and low-income genealogies. The first was in Seattle, where Amazon is headquartered, and where the conglomerate recently killed a proposed municipal duty on big-hearted firms to alleviate the homeless crisis by threatening to halt a structure activity. The second was by simply paying his own low-income proletarians better. As the old-fashioned saying vanishes, philanthropy begins in aisle 89 of the Amazon warehouse, where workers are so scared of being docked phases for biting to the shower that they’re pissing in bottles.
But people like Jeff don’t want authorities, or suitably paid employee ants, making ascribe for what is, after all, his reward. The pattern you learn on Day One of being a billionaire donor is that you don’t apply coin via offer packets to the poor people who literally once work for you. They’d merely expend it poorly. However, if they want to humbly queue up and is applicable for it via some thinly disguised suffering concede that you take the applause for, that’s another matter. Dignity is something you hand out , not something that others get to earn. I missed this bit in The Wealth of Nations; I guess there’s a sealed section.
And the heated feeling doesn’t even culminate there for you. There is an part manufacture of confected philanthropic apportions set up to honour givers such as Jeff. The residual of us necessity simply wait for the first legend of an Amazon worker who has to heave themselves on the boon of Bezos’s altruistic limb in order to bump themselves up to living-wage domain. Consider that the ouroboros of causing a toss. Maybe the story will appear in the Washington Post, the totemically worshipped newspaper Bezos owns, and which he receives a unbelievable sum of credit for simply leaving editorially alone. And perhaps it won’t.
There is, of course, a third way in which all the tech gazillionaires who want to move the world a better place could do so, but from which they all somehow seem to recoil: taxation! Last-place time Amazon’s UK advantages trebled but its tax bill descended.
How can anyone who doesn’t compensate reasonable taxation be referred to as a “philanthropist”? Sorry to draw Jeff and all the others down to the level of the little beings- the nannies and both teachers and bricklayers and so on- who do offer a proper wham of their inadequate wages toward the societies in which we all, including Jeff, live. But you don’t get to succession turbo-accountants to chisel every last legally loopholed penny off your responsibilities, then swan in with a minuscule percentage of what you’ve saved and expect to be treated like the effing messiah.
Looked at in the round, Jeff is just another representative of that specific class who spawn you ill just so they can sell you the remedy. See likewise Gwyneth Paltrow, whose Goop website is always detailing madam’s many health controversies, then trying to castigate the fringe lunacies that probably start half of them. And watch too the Conservative party, who’ve depleted the past few years divulging everything then telling you merely they can sterilize it.
The greatest maneuver all this lot ever pulled is persuasion beings that they are the answer, as opposed to the problem. Phenomenal to think that as recently as 10 hours ago, people were still chummily tweeting Musk along the lines of,” Weighing on “youve got to” get us to Mars and escape Trump, dude !”
Guys? Elon’s not going to save you. Elon’s going to call you a “pedo” if you have the temerity to rescue some teenagers without exercising his non-bendy mini-submarine. Elon is- how to place this?- an intergalactic shit. In the fantasize realms where he has the ability to colonise Mars, he’s going to take fellow intergalactic shits like Jeff up there, in a kind of tech-bro form of the Rapture, and the last situation the rest of humanity is going to see as he detonation off is the word PEDOS, spelled out in a nuclear-firework goodbye.
So yes, I know I’m scarcely smashing this to you, but we haven’t discovered a new reproduce of good guy. The brand-new boss isn’t the same as the aged boss; he’s arguably much worse. And this isn’t generosity – it’s fauxlanthropy.
* Marina Hyde is a Guardian columnist