Can You Spare A Dime?

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Sara Kahn

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Over the past five years, Amazon has become one of the largest companies in the world. Amazon prime and video are among the most popular products of Amazon, with Prime having over 80 million subscriptions. The founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, is the richest man in the world with a net worth of over $137 billion. With such a large net worth, one would expect for Bezos to donate much of his wealth to charity. Yet Bezos has donated less than 2% of his massive net worth to philanthropic endeavors.

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The Giving Pledge, a promise by wealthy people to donate the majority of their wealth to charity, has been signed by Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, and many other noted billionaires. However, the most notable person not to sign the pledge is Bezos. While he did make one charitable contribution in September of 2018 to the Bezos One Day Fund, which supports homeless families and provides education, he only pledged $2 billion of his $137 billion net worth. In comparison, Bill Gates, who has a net worth of “a mere $98 billion” has donated over $50 billion to charitable causes.

With Bezos donating so little to philanthropic causes, this raises the issue of how should we view Amazon. Should our opinion on the company and its endeavors be colored due to its CEO’s unhumanitarian ways?

Several students, when asked about how Bezos’s seemingly non philanthropic ways would affect their view of Amazon, said that it was not something they would hold against the company. Janice Lee, a Junior at Whippany Park, said, “he is selfish, but that doesn’t mean people should strike on Amazon for that reason.” Vanessa Qiu, another Whippany Park Junior, explained, “It’s not like he’s committing a crime or anything that reflects badly on Amazon as a company.”

While a full blown strike is not called for, Bezos’s charitability and good-will is still something to consider when buying your next Amazon Prime Subscription.