Amazon’s malign power has grown to the point where for several years now, it has declared its own holiday, Prime Day, which is essentially centered around giving it huge amounts of money while ignoring that it is maybe evil. This year’s Prime Day is especially special, because the Bloomberg Billionaires Index has declared Amazon’s tyrant CEO Jeff Bezos the richest individual in modern recorded history when adjusting for inflation.
Bloomberg reported that as of Monday, with Amazon shares closing at $1,822.49, Bezos’ wealth is now estimated at over $150 billion. That shatters Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ prior record of $100 billion in 1999, which would be around $149 billion today:
Bezos, 54, also has topped Gates in inflation-adjusted terms. The $100 billion mark that Gates hit briefly in 1999 at the height of the dot-com boom would be worth about $149 billion in today’s dollars. That makes the Amazon chief executive officer richer than anyone else on earth since at least 1982, when Forbes published its inaugural wealth ranking.
Of course, one does not become worth $150 billion by generating it out of thin air so much as taking it from others. Amazon’s rise to the top has been accompanied by widespread allegations of a brutal corporate culture and poor treatment of workers (some of whom went on strike this week). It’s also coincided with a broader culling of the brick-and-mortar herd. Astute observers may remember that it was only some eight months ago in late November 2017 when Bezos’ wealth broke the $100 billion mark, which is a nice little reminder that wealth inequality is skyrocketing.
As CNBC noted, Bezos has yet to eclipse one final record: John D. Rockefeller’s early-1900s valuation at 2 percent of national GDP, which would be $350 billion in today’s economy. He’ll just have to wait another year or two for that one.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that John D. Rockefeller’s obscene wealth was estimated at 2 percent of America’s GDP in “the early 1990s.” That valuation was actually made in the early 1900s, when Rockefeller was alive. We regret the error.