We’ve all seen or heard the headlines of how Jeff Bezos is adding billions to his personal wealth every single day, even during times like these, when 30% of the US has claimed for unemployment privileges and is waiting for the next governmental stimulus to pay their bills.
In India’s context, millions of migrant labourers had been stranded, unable to return to their homes. And even now, the curve isn’t flattening, with almost every new day having a record high of registered COVID-19 patients. And yet, Mukesh Ambani cracking deals with Microsoft and Facebook, and purchasing TikTok India for $5 billion. All this has now made him the 4th richest person in the world.
What do these cases tell us? The main conceivable message is that we measure power in terms of money, and the richest people across the world have the power of lobbying governmental policies to their own favour, and by evading tax legally by setting their corporation’s location in the Cayman Islands, all in a desperate bid to increase their own wealth.
The names of all these people: Bezos, Ambani, Zuckerberg, have an unspoken amount of fear accompanying them. And why is this? People like these have the power to shape worldviews by merely saying a statement, or by saying what they themselves would do in a particular situation, making all the people run blindly in the paths set by them, of which they thought merely seconds ago.
And they don’t need facts or logic to justify them. Their own reputation and precedence do justice to whatever it is that they say. Corporations like Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook know maybe everything there is to know about our lives.
And the term “Net Wealth’’ is actually flawed. Not in terms of its calculation or how it’s derived, but because of one single factor: Time.
Sure. Whenever multibillionaires sell their own stake of companies, that stock is gobbled up. And sure, that particular stock shoots up in trading for a day or two, and might even have a month high. But the companies that they own? To liquidize all stocks, inventory, pay employee dues ranging from pensions to gratuity, paying investors their returns, and then finally, taking the lion’s share for themselves takes a hell of a long time.
Over the past few decades where Capitalism has emerged as a form of economy, and its spread across all the world by USA, we’ve actually grown to appreciate these companies, since they always control majority of the market share in whichever sector that they operate. But no attention is ever paid upon how ethical these businesses are. We have no idea as to how they treat their workers, what are the employee benefit programs, may it be insurance, pensions or gratuity. We only know the reality when we are one of those workers, or are on a one-to-one basis with who is.
I’m not saying that these companies are the poster-boys for illicit and unethical work practices. My point is that we need to start holding them accountable for what is due by them, regardless of it being tax, or a sense of social responsibility for its workers and the immediate business environment.
Take Amazon, for example. It dominates the majority of the market share in almost any sector it is in. Amazon’s delivery drivers are forced to drive nonstop shifts with no breaks in between. And by breaks, I don’t even mean that they have some time to eat their meals. No no no no, only if Amazon were really that good. Those drivers are forced to relieve themselves. In bottles. WHILE driving.
Can you imagine one hand on the steering wheel and one on your wilily? No sir, you can’t. But that’s the harsh reality, since majority of the population (yes, you) can’t wait for their package to be delivered, but are ready to log onto Twitter and criticize Jeff Bezos for earning so much money, when it is you helping him generate it.
Yes, you (I guess me too). All of us together aren’t any “Holier than thou” here too. One of the simplest reasons why services like One-Day Deliveries exist because we cannot even stand our package be delivered over the normal course of time, regardless even if we have to pay for those extra charges. We suckers start looking out of the window, waiting for our package just after we’ve placed an order with Amazon. We ain’t no angels.
Yes, all the people that have reached such heights of success and scrutiny is because of us. People like Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg are unrivalled when it comes to understanding consumer psychology and trends, that is what makes them so dangerous. They know what makes an average person tick, and they exploit that mercilessly.
And what have they done to exploit it? Well, they found out that your Instant Gratification Monkey is a sucker for short lived dopamine fueled joy, and they’ve just found a way to deliver it to you, physically or electronically.
People experience a thrill whenever they post something controversial on Twitter and Instagram, only so that they can get it a few more retweets or likes out of it. People indulge in impulse-shopping so that they can keep up with trends, and binge watch shows and play Fortnite while Travis Scott or Marshmallow make debuts for their singles on it.
Since everything is now available at an instant, consumers have lost sight of how it’s really made available. We just only care about our packages, and its because of us that all these multibillion-dollar conglomerates are able to earn so much. All of our purchases, tweets, statuses tell a story. It is because of this why we get so specialized target ads displaying offers that make us drool. And once we see that particular ad, we need to score that pair of kicks, or that pair of high heels that will make your boyfriend go crazy.
All of this is enough for companies like Facebook and Amazon to know the stuff that you like, and provide you with more stuff that you’d like, but won’t necessarily need. The truth is, no-one and everyone is at fault here; it’s our societal structure has been integrated as such. And as long as this continues, you can opt for one day deliveries and brag about your purchases from Amazon or FashionNova, and go on Twitter to criticize these people. It’s your karma.