Jeff Bezos Thanks Amazon Workers and Customers for Making Him So Rich He Can Go to Space

And they say collective action isn’t possible.

bezos

Chuck Bigger/Space Symposium via ZUMA Press Wire

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.

On Tuesday, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos became the second billionaire in as many weeks to sort-of go to space. The world’s richest man spent several minutes in zero gravity on Tuesday aboard a rocket developed by his company Blue Origin. Going to space, or almost-space, is not, in itself, anything new—Alan Shepard became the first American to leave the atmosphere 60 years ago; four different current or former United States senators have been up there since. Perhaps the most striking thing about Bezos’ efforts is how low the bar has been set that a joyride that lasted shorter than a bathroom break at Amazon can be seen as an international news event.

It’s easy to be cynical about all of this, but in fairness, no one could put it more cynically than Jeff Bezos.

After he landed safely, the newly minted spaceman sat for an interview, and sounding somewhat punch-drunk off the thrill of the experience, summed up the whole fair in a very concise way.

“I also want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all of this,” he said.

Yes, that’s…that’s just about it. Tuesday’s launch was depressing less because of the spectacle in West Texas than because it’s tough to find the error in Bezos’ statement. It was a tremendous collective effort principally for the benefit of one person—an “interestingly shaped” manifestation of the broken political economy that made Bezos possible. This is the end product of all that sweat and sacrifice—of delivery workers peeing in bottles, of warehouse workers staring at propaganda about their boss while they take a shit, of people doing manual labor for $15 an hour, of humans getting injured at his factories and then being forced into a Kafkaesque company healthcare system, of Amazon employees working to hide their co-workers’ injuries, of economic concentration and runaway inequality, of a tax system that is designed to allow someone to become the world’s richest person while sometimes paying no income tax at all.

“Awesome!” Bezos shouted, trying to catch a skittle in his mouth 52 miles above the ground. “It’s so good.”

This is where all the money went.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and billionaire owners wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2021 demands.

payment methods

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and billionaire owners wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2021 demands.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate