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Reports about Jeff Bezos’ possible trillionaire status spark outrage on social media

Angelin Yeoh

The Star/Asia News Network

 /  Sat, May 16, 2020  /  02:37 pm
Reports about Jeff Bezos’ possible trillionaire status spark outrage on social media

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and Blue Origin speaks during the JFK Space Summit, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts, United States, on June 19, 2019. (REUTERS/Katherine Taylor)

A study claiming that Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is on track to become the world's first trillionaire has sparked some heated discussion among users on social media.

The study by website Comparisun stated that Bezos, whose net worth has grown by an average 34 percent in the last five years, could potentially make him the world's first trillionaire in 2026.

"We analysed the market capitalization of the 25 highest valued companies on the New York Stock Exchange according to Macrotrends, as well as the net worth of the richest 25 people in the world according to Forbes, in both cases taking the last five years of data (as of Sept 16)," Comparisun said about its methodology for the study.

Comparisun said it calculated the average yearly growth in terms of percentages and applied the rate for each future year and even predicted how the value will change.

Out of 25 people, the study said 11 other individuals who are most likely to become trillionaires within their lifetimes include the likes of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Evergrande group chairman Xu Jianyin and Alibaba Group co-founder Jack Ma.

Reports about the study have sparked outrage among users on social media, with most claiming that Bezos is profiting during the COVID-19 pandemic. US Senator Elizabeth Warren is one of the prominent individuals who have responded to reports about Bezos' possible trillionaire status.

"While Jeff Bezos is on track to become the world’s first trillionaire in the middle of a pandemic, Amazon is ending overtime pay for warehouse and delivery workers on the front lines. This is immoral," she said in a post on Twitter.

Another US Senator, Bernie Sanders, described Bezos’ expanding net worth as "unfettered capitalism at work".

"Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon, has increased his wealth by US$30 billion during this pandemic. His response: end the hazard pay increases that Amazon warehouse workers have received, despite hundreds of them being infected with the virus," Sanders said on Twitter.

Read also: Jeff Bezos sets record with $165 million Beverly Hills home purchase

CNBC reported that Amazon confirmed that its current hourly wage increases and double overtime pay policy will end on May 31. The company first announced that it would raise hourly wages and provide double overtime for warehouse and delivery workers in March.

Amazon is currently paying at least US$15 per hour in some areas of the US for warehouse and delivery jobs. The hourly wage increase policy lets workers earn an extra US$2 per hour. According to a report by The Verge, there have been seven known cases of COVID-19 deaths at Amazon warehouses in the US.

However, reports have also emerged doubting the legitimacy of the research done by Comparisun on Bezos’ future trillionaire status.

Forbes, which estimated Bezos' current net worth at US$143 billion, said that he still "has a long way to go" to achieve trillionaire status in a recent report.

Vox described the projection as "flimsy" as it was based on assumptions of business figures from past performances and did not take into account how future events could affect Amazon later.

This article appeared on The Star newspaper website, which is a member of Asia News Network and a media partner of The Jakarta Post