$100 million dollars
I feel a little ill
On the day I wrote this article, a quick Google revealed that Jeff Bezos was worth $124 billion dollars. That’s BILLION. One thousand million. The poor guy’s net worth had dropped a fair chunk recently because it’s so closely tied to Amazon stock value, but I don’t think he’s going to be looking for social security any time soon, and his wealth will return along with the stock market valuation, as it usually does.
A similar process of foolproof research informed me that Dolly Parton was worth a piddling $650 million or thereabouts.
My news app informed me that Mr Bezos has gifted $100 million to Ms Parton as a prize for her philanthropic endeavors.
$100 million appears to me like one of those great big-sounding numbers that’s actually nothing in real terms for people in that wealth bracket, just a handy way to shuffle money around and reduce tax. It seems as if Amazon are exceptionally good at this.
I have a whole lot of respect for Jeff Bezos and others like him who have built businesses to dominate entire markets. Even those people who were given a leg up early in their careers or who inherited family structures that kick started their fortune building. It takes drive and ambition and some level of effort to make a life long success out of anything. People who manage that should definitely be rewarded. I’ve tried it, and it is not an easy ride.
A million dollars is a lot of money in real terms.
If a person needed 2000 calories per day to survive, the USDA website says that this would cost around $6.65, so that $1million would feed over 150,000 people for a day, or 412 people for a whole year, or (if you take the average life expectancy of 83 in the UK as a yardstick, and also ignore the fact that you don’t need 2,000 calories for the first decade of your life or probably the last), you could probably pay for the entire food consumption throughout the whole life of about 5 people.
That means that Dolly’s donation would pay for the whole life of about 500, or over 41,000 people for a year — or 15,000,000 people for a day.
That puts the level of outrageous wealth and ludicrous stratification of our world into perspective.