OPINION: No one deserves a billion dollars


Celina Watkins/The Maroon

Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg: arguably some of the most recognizable names in the modern world. Known for being billionaires, these men (among others) have managed to take advantage of capitalism to its fullest for the sake of their own personal profit and wellbeing. Bezos, the founder and former CEO of Amazon, is currently the world’s richest person with a net worth of $200.6 billion. Meanwhile, Amazon employees, such as delivery drivers and warehouse workers, make a meager $15 an hour. While employees are being overworked and underpaid, Bezos is sitting in his $165 million house with more money in his bank account than he could ever realistically spend within his lifetime. Instead of spending $5.5 billion traveling to space on July 20, 2021, Bezos could have used that same amount of money to prevent 37.5 million people from starving this year.
Some may justify billionaires’ substantial amounts of wealth by claiming they were self-starters or entrepreneurs, that they deserve their wealth because they worked hard and built their companies alone. In reality, most (if not all) current billionaires had a significant amount of financial help to start their companies. Circling back to Bezos, his parents contributed a large portion of their life savings to help him start up Amazon. Not only was he fortunate enough to have a wealthy family to rely on for startup money, but he also had a plan B if Amazon had never taken off — both of which are nearly impossible for the average person living in the United States nowadays.
It is not ethical to be a billionaire, period. While there are millions upon millions of people suffering and dying worldwide, a select few are sitting in their mansions with more than enough funds to save not only lives, but also the planet. Alternatives to fossil fuels, including solar power and wind power, could be easily afforded by billionaires, but they simply choose to hoard their wealth and allow the Earth to be destroyed by climate change. No one should be allowed to have as much money as billionaires do — there is no way to be that wealthy and ethical simultaneously.