Jeff Bezos income inequality
© David McNew/Getty Images
Since the Forbes 400 was published in October, Amazon’s share price has risen by more than 10%, lifting Jeff Bezos’s fortune to around $95bn and making him the world’s richest person.
Jeg følger ofte Jeff Bezos i et forsøg på at forstå hvordan det amerikanske oligarki fungerer for et antal af grunde.

For det første, så besætter han for tiden førstepladsen på Forbes liste af milliardærer, han er the top dog. Han fandt hurtigt ud af hvordan man spiller plutokratiets spil, og hvordan det spilles bedre end nogen anden.

Det andet punkt er at vores civilisation for tiden er direkte på vej med en meget klar bane imod et dybere og dybere Orwellian dystopia hvis vi ikke sætter tingene på det rette spor eller hvis vi først driver menneskeheden mod udslettelse. De nye penge tech plutokrater ejer fundamentet af denne mørke fremtid, og vi bør alle holde et meget tæt øje på dem på såvel generelle principper såvel som at læse op om hvor disse ting fører hen.

Sidst og mest alvorligt, så har Bezos, som en ny penge plutokrat, bygget sit imperium med høj synlighed i informationstidsalderen. De gamle penge plutokrater byggede deres kongedømmer i langt mørkere tider, hvor nogle familier sættende op fundamentet af deres herredømme for hundreder af år siden, da der var meget lidt mediadækning og især ikke nogen alternativ media til at gennemgrave deres magt. Bezos' handler med mere er til en lang større grad i det åbne, fordi han var nød til at gøre alt i offenlighedens øje.

Med det i mente, så er der her seks ting som vi kan lære om hvordan det amerikanske plutokrati opererer ved at studere Jeff Bezos.

1. The rich rule America because of a system wherein money translates directly into political power.

Amazon has increased its spending on Washington lobbying by 400 percent in the last five years, far in excess of its competition. Bezos hasn't been doing this to be charitable. With growing antitrust concerns, taxation to avoid, lucrative Pentagon deals to secure, and what some experts are describing as an agenda to control the underlying infrastructure of the economy, he needs Washington on his side.

Plutocrats do not pour large fortunes into lobbying campaigns without reason. They do it because it works.

A 2014 study by Princeton University found that while wealthy Americans have a great deal of sway over US policy and behavior, ordinary Americans have virtually none. This is because corporate lobbying and campaign financing have made the bribery of public officials perfectly legal as plutocrat-championed rulings like 1976's Buckley v. Valeo, 1978's First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti as well as the infamous Citizens United v. FEC has created a system where money translates directly into political power.

2. Because money equals power and power is relative, plutocrats are naturally incentivized to keep the public poor.
Bernie Sanders tweet Jeff Bezos
Plutocrats necessarily rule such an oligarchic system as surely as kings rule a kingdom. But if everyone is king, then no one is king. If your entire empire is built on a system where money equals power, then you are necessarily incentivized to keep money out of the hands of the public while amassing as much as possible for yourself.

The larger the Amazon empire grows, the more of its competition dies and the lower wages get. At the hottest point in the 2016 Democratic party primary, Bezos' Washington Post ran sixteen smear pieces in sixteen hours against Senator Bernie Sanders, who is largely responsible for bringing the word "oligarchy" into mainstream consciousness.

Sanders famously ran a campaign powered by small donations averaging 27 dollars. The less money people have, the less of those kinds of donations they can afford to make, and the less political influence the masses can wield. With a majority of Americans already unable to afford even a thousand dollar emergency, it doesn't take much more squeeze to kill all hope of another populist insurgency of that sort.

Power is relative and money is power, so the poorer you are, the more powerful the plutocrats become.

3. Controlling the media is very important to plutocrats.

Jeff Bezos, the most crafty plutocrat alive, did not purchase the Washington Post in 2013 because he expected newspapers to make a lucrative resurgence. He purchased it so that he could ensure exactly what WaPo did to Bernie Sanders in 2016. The neoliberal Orwellian establishment that Bezos is building his empire upon requires a propaganda mouthpiece, so Bezos purchased a long-trusted US newspaper to accomplish that. WaPo is now easily the most virulently pro-establishment among all large mainstream publications, not just defending establishment narratives but actively attacking anyone who challenges them.

The current system which only serves the wealthy and the powerful cannot exist without nonstop advertising convincing the American public that the status quo is in their best interest. Plutocrat-owned corporate media is used to manufacture consent for that system; for the economic system, for the wars which prop it up, for the politicians which the plutocrats own and operate, for the political system which they have infiltrated every level of. The ability to manipulate the way the public thinks is an essential part of plutocratic rule.

4. Plutocrats form alliances with defense and intelligence agencies.

Jeff Bezos is a contractor with the CIA and sits on a Pentagon advisory board. He is doing everything he can to cozy up and ingratiate himself to the establishment on which his empire is built, up to and including kicking WikiLeaks off Amazon servers in 2010. This dances very creepily with Amazon's involvement in surveillance systems and digital "assistance" devices like Alexa.

If you want to be a millionaire in the current system, you can probably do so with luck, privilege, talent and hard work. If you want to be a billionaire, you've got to learn how to collaborate with existing power structures. Due to the extreme opacity of those power structures in America hidden behind the veil of government secrecy, it is hard to know exactly what forms those alliances take, but they clearly do happen as a glance at Bezos' career shows.

5. The people willing to do anything it takes to get to the top are the ones who get there.
Jeff Bezos
Normal human beings would have a difficult time knowing businesses are dying and workers are getting poorer as their empire grows. Jeff Bezos just keeps growing. He will happily collaborate with depraved intelligence agencies, manipulate and propagandize Americans, and expand the gulf between the rich and the poor just to be king of the world.

This is the sort of person who rises to the top in unregulated capitalist systems. Money rewards people who have shut down (or are born without) that part of themselves which empathizes and is made uncomfortable by exploiting and harming others. In a system where money rewards sociopathy and money equals power, that means we necessarily wind up in a system that is ruled by sociopaths. Those plutocrats form alliances with each other and with defense and intelligence agencies to ensure the continuation and expansion of their empires, and that alliance is currently king of America.

6. It will never be enough for them.
Jeff Bezos transition
Jeff Bezos is worth 131.5 billion dollars as of this writing, and he is getting more ambitious, not less. He doesn't need that money to buy more stuff; it isn't about money for him. It's about power. The impulse to rise to the top of your monkey tribe is an impulse buried deep within our evolutionary heritage, and when that impulse isn't checked by empathy for your fellow man it creates an unquenchable drive to grow and grow in invincible power no matter what kind of suffering that creates.

This explains why the world is the way it is today, with billionaires making so much money last year alone that they could end extreme poverty for our entire planet seven times over, but don't. With Americans dying of underinsurance and exposure on the streets while billions of dollars are poured into bombing poor people overseas. With tensions escalating between two nuclear superpowers over some petty geopolitical agendas. With the Arctic warming at an astonishing rate while rainforests and biodiversity vanish perhaps forever.

It will never be enough. They will keep taking and taking and taking and taking, killing and killing and killing and killing, until they have it all and everything is dead. They lack the part of themselves which stops that from happening. This is a vehicle with no brakes.

We need to change the system which enables these depraved individuals to rise to the top and rule over us. Governments should serve people, not omnicidal, ecocidal sociopathic oligarchs. We must take our world back from these monsters.

Comment: Perhaps instead of trying to change a system which will not change as long as psychopaths are in control, people need to educate themselves about the nature of psychopathy. The information should be shared far and wide to enable others to spot character disturbed individuals before they are given authority in any sphere. See:
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