Jeff Bezos just slid past $100 billion in wealth. Good or bad for the world?
Jeff Bezos is now worth a record $112 billion. Yes, billion with a "b".
Amazon is on a roll. Its stock has climbed ever-upward as big-name retailers across the world are shutting down brick-and-mortar stores because online ordering is the fastest-growing retail sales sector.
So when is it a good thing for billionaires to keep getting richer?
Some multi-billionaires such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Mark Zuckerberg have philanthropic foundations and have also signed onto Giving Pledge, which means they will eventually donate most of their fortunes to charities and philanthropical entities. It could be argued they are “good” billionaires.
But then, you have those who actively harm the effort to end the economic divide that threatens entire countries and add to the destruction of our world in various other ways, such fighting renewable energy.
So, which is Bezos?
It remains to be seen; he is “thinking” about how he will use his fortune for good, but hasn’t really decided. Meanwhile, that pile o’ cash keeps growing.
Since he's CEO and Chairman of Amazon, a start might be to turn the company into a stellar employer that provides a shining example of how to treat employees in positive ways. As an example, before they sold their company in 2000, the founders of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield did just that; the company's wages and benefits were legendary and the founders signed on to agreements that improved conditions for migrant workers. They also partnered with organizations such as World Wildlife Fund and released a flavor (“Bernie’s Yearning”) supporting Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic Party primary election campaign. Most recently, they jumped into the marriage equality campaign in Australia.
There are "good" billionaires and bad ones, and some in between. Where do you think Jeff Bezos will end up on that scale?
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Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.
- Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
- As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
- If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
- By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
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A lazy buzz phrase – 'Is this the new normal?' – has been doing the rounds as extreme climate events have been piling up over the past year. To which the riposte should be: it's worse than that – we're on the road to even more frequent, more extreme events than we saw this year.
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