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Opinion

Hard work didn’t make Jeff Bezos a billionaire

Billionaires end up with billions because they exploit others, or they were fortunate to receive an influx of startup capital. Or both.

Anyone who thinks Jeff Bezos built Amazon with the sweat of his own brow doesn’t understand the position of privilege he came from. His parents were able to afford investing heavily into his business.

In February 1995, his dad purchased 582,528 shares, and later that year, his mum bough 847,716 shares. Their shares cost them nearly a quarter of a million dollars. Two of his siblings bought 30,000 shares each the next year for $10,000.

The fact that his family could afford to invest more than $250,000 into Bezos’ business tells you the kind of class privilege this family experienced.

This is exactly why not just anyone could start up an Amazon competitor. There’s no way, for example, that my parents could give me $250,000. I don’t even have a single sibling who could afford to lend me $10,000. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Billionaires end up with billions because they exploit others, or they were fortunate to receive an influx of startup capital, like Jeff Bezos—or Donald Trump—did. And some billionaires end up with billions both through exploitation and class privilege.

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By Kim Siever

I live in Lethbridge with my spouse and 5 of our 6 children. I’m a writer, focusing on political news, social issues, and the occasional poem. My politics are radically left. I recently finished writing a book debunking several capitalism myths. My newest book writing project is on the labour history of Lethbridge.

I’m also dichotomally Mormon. And I’m a functional vegetarian: I have a blog post about that somewhere around here. My pronouns are he/him, and I’m queer.

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