The Ethics of Billionaires


     Billionaires tend to be highly respected and supported by the public as they capture a state nearly every American is in pursuit of: financial success. Many Americans also see themselves as a potential future billionaire despite the fact that the average worker would have to work for 2.8 million years to be as wealthy as Jeff Bezos was in 2019. These delusional wishes of wealth give unqualified billionaires political pedestals, over-compliance from the public, and bring up the issue of the ethics of billionaires existing. 

     Lots of billionaires will donate, specifically, to the republican party as a way to earn their political backing, in turn, the republican party neither advocates nor enforces the fair taxing of such billionaires. 

     Recently it was announced that a historical bridge in Rotterdam may be dismantled for Jeff Bezos’ superyacht. As absurd as this sounds, it really raises suspicions about the people’s blind compliance with the wishes of the rich. While the top 1% hoards about 40% of the wealth — that many others are in need of — in America, they are only responsible for 20% of paid federal taxes. Increasing taxes on billionaires by just 10% would generate 3 trillion dollars, enough to make college at all public universities free. 

     A world in which a person could ethically make billions of dollars, while an abundance of people live in extreme poverty, is simply inconceivable. If there is not a moral obligation to take care of those less fortunate, what is left of American morality? To be a billionaire, you generally must exploit workers and the environment. Jeff Bezos is not the one who has to worry about getting fired for taking his bathroom break: his workers are. Jeff Bezos is not the one who is worrying about the environmental impacts of his company: the future generations who have to live with the long-lasting effects are. 

     The pandemic only increased the class gap; COVID-19 vaccines created nine new billionaires whose combined wealth could vaccinate everyone in the world’s poorest countries. 

     “You don’t make a billion dollars; you take a billion dollars”- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez  

     Ethically, the people cannot stand by as people in poverty struggle for the basic human rights while billionaires are having historical bridges dismantled for the production of their superyachts.