Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk among the biggest billionaire profiteers of the COVID-19 pandemic

Posted on 3 Μάϊος 2020


Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk among the biggest billionaire profiteers of the COVID-19 pandemic


A new report by the Institute for Policy Studies, shows that between January 1, 2020 and April 10, 2020, 34 of the US’s wealthiest 170 billionaires have seen their wealth increase by tens of millions of dollars.

Eight of these billionaires —Jeff Bezos (Amazon), MacKenzie Bezos (Amazon), Eric Yuan (Zoom), Steve Ballmer (Microsoft), John Albert Sobrato (Silicon Valley real estate), Elon Musk (Tesla and SpaceX), Joshua Harris (Apollo Global Management), and Rocco Commisso (Mediacom) — have seen their net worth surge by over $1 billion.

The Jeff Bezos Wealth Surge is an unprecedented dynamic in the history of modern markets. Tracking Bezos’ wealth requires a real-time hour-by-hour tracker. As of the publication of the report [April 23, 2020], Bezos’ wealth has increased over $25 billion since January 1, 2020 and $12 billion since February 21st, 2020, the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The stock market crash initially left Bezos’ net worth deeply damaged, down to a meager $105 billion on “Black Thursday” March 12, the stock market’s lowest point. Bezos’ wealth has been trending upward ever since, with no company better positioned to profit from the pandemic than Amazon.

The closure of hundreds of thousands of small businesses is giving Amazon the opportunity to increase its market share, strengthen its place in the supply chain, and gain more pricing power over consumers.

Despite Amazon’s e-commerce dominance, Bezos has been unable to protect his workforce from Covid-19: Workers in 10 different Amazon warehouses tested positive for the disease in late March. Instead, in early April, Bezos announced a donation of $100 million of his $140 billion in wealth to Feeding America.

After initially dismissing the coronavirus pandemic as “dumb,” Elon Musk is now taking the crisis much more seriously as confirmed cases continue to grow.

New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio directly reached out to Musk via Twitter and asked him to help address the shortages of critical medical equipment. SpaceX responded by partnering with Medtronic, a medical device company, to help increase the firm’s capacity to produce ventilators, while engineers at Tesla are creating prototypes from used car parts.

As a result, Musk’s wealth has recovered since mid-March after dipping $3.1 billion below its level at the beginning of the year. This turnaround has added $8.1 billion to the Musk fortune in less than a month.

The latest stimulus package, supposedly designed to deal with the economic consequences of the pandemic, was another giant middle-finger by the political elite to the working class.

As Richard Wolff put it:

It is so grotesque, it kind of takes your breath away, if you look at the 1,200 dollars, for example, that are going to be sent to taxpayers. The average household income in the United States, is about 60,000 dollars. You break that down weekly, it works out about eleven hundred and fifty bucks. In other words, the checks that you are going to get, after four weeks of being told out that you can’t go to work, will barely cover one week worth of you income! This is a joke!

On the other hand, trillions will be directed again towards the biggest banks and corporations. And behind these corporations we can find the wealthiest people, like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. Even at the time when these, according to the report above, are profiteering from the crisis!

Yet, the report also reveals that some of the biggest corporations, like Bezos’ Amazon, will benefit from the crisis through other ways, like, for example, eliminating small-medium business competitors.

And don’t forget. When Trump came to power, one of the first things he did, was to sign another bill of billions in tax-cuts for the biggest corporations.

Some say that this system barely leaves the heads of the working class above the water just only to be able to breathe. However, if you combine all these facts, you will get a much worse picture. This ruthless system, especially in times of crises, actually pushes the heads of the working class deeper under the water, further advancing the already privileged position of the elites.

This is late stage capitalism in its most brutal, primitive form. We may soon see its spiraling collapse with hardly-to-calculate consequences.

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