by Poppy Coburn
Wednesday, 21
July 2021
Reaction
11:54

Leave Jeff Bezos alone

The Amazon founder is far from perfect, but his adventures in space are salutary
by Poppy Coburn
Another day, another colonised planet. Credit” Getty

It’s one small step for man, but one giant leap for Jeff Bezos. The Amazon founder/God-king returned safely yesterday from an 11-minute flight into space, in which he travelled in a rocket while dressed as a kind of mad cowboy. When asked how it felt to have joined the ten thousand mile high club, Bezos gushed that it was the “Best. Day. Ever!”

The response from the earth-bound press was swift and brutal. Bezos, already unpopular as a result of his horrendously unethical business practices, had truly joined the ranks of most selfish capitalists in history, alongside Steve Jobs (who thought philanthropy was nonsense) and William Vanderbilt (notorious for exclaiming “the public be damned! I only care about my property”).


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Bezos, we were told, was a living symbol of capitalist excess. While his workers are left to urinate in plastic bottles, he gets to take a joyride into the stratosphere. How could anyone justify propelling a rocket into the sky in the middle of the climate crisis? Doesn’t he know how many people are starving in the world? According to Jacobin magazine Bezos is nothing more than a “parasite”.

But the rush to analyse Bezos’s decision to travel into the stratosphere as anything more than a boyish wish fulfilment fantasy is frustrating. Was this really all about social inequality and neoliberal excess?

Spacefaring is a highly exclusive enterprise. Only 553 people have ever travelled past the von Karman line that separates Earth from space, after all. This is a tiny, tiny fraction of humanity, but is ironically still too high for us earthbound citizens to properly enjoy: Bezos isn’t crossing a new frontier. Neil Armstrong did it first, and better. What is left behind from a billionaire’s rocket ship launch? Is the human spirit expanded in any meaningful way?

Then again, it may well be that these early experiments in commercial spaceflight will one day become accessible to normal people. Fellow billionaires Elon Musk and Richard Branson have both announced their intentions to make commercial space flight happen. ‘Space tourism’ is quickly moving out of the realms of science fiction, and we may one day find a journey to Mars as scintillating as a trip to IKEA.

It takes a small mind to curse at every technological marvel, every pinnacle of human achievement, and to twist every world-historic moment into a cheap ‘gotcha!’ about capitalism. Does Chartres Cathedral’s magnificence cheapen the message ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God?’

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Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago

It hasn’t escaped anyone that this person went on his jaunt in a dxck shaped rocket.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

Science has not yet come up with a vulva shaped rocket, so this is the default shape, as much as it seemingly enrages the modern gerderists. (Although with Biden now in charge of The ‘Space Force’ I am sure, in the name of inclusion, they are working to develop one.)

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

OMG!

“Does Chartres Cathedral’s magnificence cheapen the message ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God?’”

!!! Did this writer, whom I like normally, just go ultra Millennial on us in this insane comparison to Bezo’s rocket launch?

I am discovering the young people have lost all reality excepting what is peddled on social media and the weird education and media industries of making the past, literature, history, politics, anachronisms where Ann Bolen, German Nobility, The Artful Dodger be played by Black actors, and anything in the past not conforming to modern 2020 Correctness was just willful bad behavior in all the past. The people in the past knew they were wrong but did it anyway, and so must be judged as guilty., is the belief. They do not know the condition of the world is not benign, but brutal. That if they will not fight for Freedom, Truth, and the Western Way, the West it will be lost. Morality must be constant, not relative, ethics not situational. That there is right and wrong, not correct and incorrect.

Nativity/stupidity is their view on any culture outside of Western Liberal/Lefty Social Media – they do not know the real world would destroy them if it could, and that existence means constant fighting, they cannot understand Afghanistan and China are the normal condition of man if freedom is not fought for.

Leave Jeff Bezos alone, The Amazon founder is far from perfect,”
He is total Evil, if that is ‘Far from perfect’.

Richard Turpin
Richard Turpin
1 year ago

For the love of Father Christmas..
How about the money its taken him to capture 11 minutes of “thrill’ had been invested in child poverty, tackling abuse of women and children in the third world…and on and on. Narcissm is todays standard modus operandi…the only thing missing was a pout….fortunately his spaceship was made in his own image…

Philip L
Philip L
1 year ago

Question. What is “salutary” about the big Detonator ride at Thorpe Park? I’ll tell you: nothing.
Bezos is chasing the same thrill (weightlessness) only he uses a cryogenic rocket for his amusement ride because he’s a billionare.
I watched the stream and wished I could feel excited but I don’t.

Iris C
Iris C
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip L

I do!!

Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
1 year ago

Those Wright Brothers wasting all that time, money and effort on powered flight! Will never amount to anything that poor can use. I mean, can you imagine the poor every being able to fly.*

*for any liberals present, please refer to your dictionary* for the meanings of irony & tongue-in-cheek.
*a dictionary is a book* which gives the meaning of words.
*a book is made of paper and has words inside of it.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Doyle

This used to be a place for sensible discussion, let’s not turn it into the American culture wars with daft references to the ‘Dems, Libs or evil Republicans etc.
It’s not the fact the man went to space that people have a problem with, although it’s not a technological marvel in the way the first powered flight was as people have been going to space for well over half a century.
People have a problem with the hypocrisy of the bloke, thanking his Amazon staff who he pays a pittance and endure conditions most of us thought had been consigned to history. It’s him being exceedingly wealthy yet paying tax at a rate lower than a local paperboy, and using his power to set up factories only where he is given massive financial incentives and tax breaks to do so.

Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
1 year ago

I cannot find this a reason to point a finger at Bezos. He is doing what we are all doing in our small ways. He is just having fun ; with the money we have provided him. As for his wealth, there was a need in the market to be fulfilled, Amazon has done than very well. Why begrudge him his riches that were made possible by our needs and greed?

The rich have mostly played hard. Although I personally have no interest in going into space, it’s a flow that can’t be stopped. First the rich , then maybe for the rest. Atm it’s hard to know how this helps mankind advancement but we can’t suppress our pioneering nature. Time will tell.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alka Hughes-Hallett
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

I begrudge him his riches because of the damage he’s caused getting them. The way he treats his staff is disgusting, especially as having destroyed the local industry many are left with a choice of the dole or working for him and feeding the beast that killed them. The fact a man richer than most countries demands tax breaks to set up sweatshops that will earn him even more money is deplorable, as is the fact he pays tax at a lower rate than anybody reading this article.
If he paid his employees enough to live on, and paid his fair share of tax I wouldn’t begrudge him his fortune, but until that day I’ll think of him as nothing more than a disgusting human being

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
1 year ago

Totally agree. Glad to see that a young Cambridge undergrad still has her feet on the ground and hasn’t been corrupted and indocrinated by wokism.
While Bezos may only have spent 11 min in space, I personally think his, as well as Branson’s flight, are great first steps towards making space travel as common as a plane trip, whether across the channel or the Atlantic.

rimackender
rimackender
1 year ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

It’s not about the technological achievement, it’s about billionaires playing rockets while lecturing us about the perils of climate change, it’s about billionaires pretending to be socialists while encouraging space tourism that only the very rich will be able to afford. He’s a total hypocrite and he’s hoping we won’t figure it out. We have.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  rimackender

Your post shows you have misunderstood all history, and everything on the condition of Mankind.

He’s a total hypocrite and he’s hoping we won’t figure it out.”

You little people thinking all must have the same constraints on them shows such a refusal to see the reality it amazes me. He is one of the Global Elite, he has Completely different rules than we do. Do you think any Roman citizen thought Senators and Emperors should obey the rules the commoners must? At no time in all history has there been equality, that you demand it is pure stupidity and ignorance.

He is not being a hypocrite, he is different to 99.999999999% of humanity, Bezos is the most wealthy man in ALL human History! He does not give a rat’s A*s if you think he is a hypocrite, he is so far above you you are nothing compared to him, he has entirely different rules.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

“In the words of Mark Twain, “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.””

it is also a Liberal’s thoughts on the human condition.