back to article I've got way too much cash, thinks Jeff Bezos. Hmmm, pay more tax? Pay staff more? Nah, let's just go into space

Poor, poor Jeff Bezos. The Amazon chief executive has complained he has so much money, the only thing he can think to blow it on is his Blue Origin space tourism project. Bezos was in Germany last month to pick up the Axel Springer Award for being such an innovative person, and gave an extensive interview to the German …

I disagree...

... With basicaly everything in this editorial rant.

I'm sorry, but I wish more people would put resources into space, and Government won't be the ones to do it. I don't care if its a total mouth-breathing dickwad who does it, as long as it gets done.

The sooner we can get off this ball of mud and leave behind the stupidity ("oh, this particular piece of mud/sand/blade of grass is *special* because... reasons") the better.

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Re: I disagree...

Yes, it would be better if we had a presence in space to an extent of a viable population on one or more planets/moons.

No, I'm not impressed with the rest of it. You seem to misunderstand the concept that while we only have one planet and while said "blades of grass" etc keep it limping along - they are indeed special along with everything else that does so. An example being the American wolf. It indirectly improves the health of its habitat - which benefits its prey (which rednecks love to pepper with armour piercing bullets), but rednecks still shoot, poison, trap them. Personally I'd solve the problem by culling the rednecks who break the law by killing them. That way every one wins.

The wolves - no more illegal culling, generally by or instigated by crusty bigoted geriatrics.

The health service - less crusty bigoted geriatrics to treat.

The environment generally - less clapped out trucks owned by crusty bigoted geriatrics (a stove bolt six were good enough fer yer great grandpappy so it's good enough for you...)

Human society - less people getting infected with the CBGs bigotry and buck toothed retardedness.

There really is a circle of life, and while grass might not be important in your opinion - it is to the animal kingdom. Tell you what, why don't I razee your home, take your car, smartphone and money and leave you to survive on your own wits. You'd be dead in a week. That's what happens to the animals when some nerk with your sort of attitude wipes out a distinctly unspecial area of woodland or grassland..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I disagree...

When you say the sooner "we" who do you think that "we" will be? What do you think will happen once we can terraform planets to make them habitable? Do you think you will going? It'll be the rich and their slaves (in all but name).

I think before we even start looking to other planets we need to sort our own out first or we'll just repeat the same mistakes all over again. The stupidity you speak of is ourselves and we only have ourselves to blame for letting it get to this point.

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Re: I disagree...

But the question is, should Amazon do all it can to avoid paying taxes, which could be used to solve social problems in the very cities that it has presence, just so Bezos can complete with Musk to see whose rocket is biggest?

I don't think it's an either/or situation. With that much money to burn he could do both.

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Re: I disagree...

> I think before we even start looking to other planets we need to sort our own out first or we'll just repeat the same mistakes all over again.

With respect, I disagree. I see this argument all the time "lets fix our current home first before messing up any others", in reality, humanity has reached that "inconsiderate teenager" phase of it's existence. You know the phase, doesn't care, does their own things, leaves mess all over the place, can't be arsed to clean or help with the housework. It's only when you leave school and you're expected to move out, pay your own way and actually find yourself HAVING to do your own washing, cleaning and such, because there's nobody there do just do it for you, that you finally develop an appreciation for the need to do it.

The same applies here, we're only going to develop an appreciation for cleaning up our own mess (and so "fixing up our home") when we've got an appreciation for not taking things for granted. When you're forced to live on an inhospitable rock, thousands of miles away from any help, with no guarantee of clean water, clean air or even food unless you get your act together, pitch in and do your chores. That's when mankind will finally develop an adult appreciation for what we're doing to the environment, and a want to correct the mistakes of the past in the process.

Not to mention, the technology we need to develop to do such things can be of just as much use here on earth as well.

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Re: I disagree...

Do you want to live in a planet where Jeff Bezos is the supreme emperor?

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Re: I disagree...

I'd say this ball of mud is pretty special, after all it's where we live and it keeps us alive.

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Anonymous Coward

" I wish more people would put resources into space,"

Face it: chemical rockets are expensive, slow and little reusable. You can put a rover on Mars, maybe a couple of people to plant a flag, and nothing else. The expense to set a colony - if it could survive, are prohibitive, and you just waste ginormous, non replaceable, resources to bring a small payload to an hostile environment - which again would require enormous resources to be kept habitable - and where those resources should come from? How much H2 and O2 - water - are we going to burn in space? Kerosene and methane won't last forever too.

Sure, interesting science, but a dead-end until someone finds a more economical and far more powerful propulsion system, and a way to survive very long time in space. Loot at astronauts after six months in the space station. And if the speed of light is an unbreakable barrier, mankind won't go anywhere in space.

Terraforming, space arks, and interstellar voyages are still just the realm of FICTION. Even a lunar outpost would be a big issue. A colony on Mars is not like colonizing New England or Australia, albeit I can see Amazon bringing slaves there too, if only they could.

There's a good chance we're going to destroy this planet before being able to go back and forth a new one. And people like Bezos won't be able to escape on their rockets.

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Do you want to live in a planet where Jeff Bezos is the supreme emperor?

As opposed to one with Trump in charge? Ohhhh... Tough one.

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Re: I disagree...

"The sooner we can get off this ball of mud and leave behind the stupidity ("oh, this particular piece of mud/sand/blade of grass is *special* because... reasons") the better."

You might leave this ball of mud. But you'll never leave the stupidity behind.

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Re: I disagree...

Can't figure out if the up vote for this is an official vote from me for Supreme King Bezos or a vote for a 'Not in any world would I want that greedy, tax dodging, wage slave owner to be supreme emperor'.. gave you an arrow up either way - take that Jeff!

At least we can all smile that the king of the world is called JEFF!

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Re: I disagree...

You know, wanting technology to advance and hoping that we can one day stick a colony on the moon/mars that is relatively (and increasingly) self sustaining is fine. I want that to happen and so do most tech types.

I'd also like people working for Amazon on earth to actually earn enough food to be able to buy food, water, a roof over their head and still have some disposable income for entertainment etc so those people can have a decent quality of life. Preferably without relying on the states social safety net to make sure their staff can eat. Yeah, that bit of public services that Amazon does not pay any taxes towards.

Oh, and i'd like Amazon to pay money in taxes to pay for those public services that they and their staff rely on, too.

There is no need for any of these points to be exclusive and it should be something that everybody but Amazon's PR staff can get behind because regardless of how the "divide and conquer" crowd try and spin it, this is not a left/right issue or even an issue that really relates to politics.

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@Dan 55 Re:"But the question is, should Amazon do all it can to avoid paying taxes....."

Indeed, a very good question. I have to admit that when I contemplate the attitudes of the super-rich and the behaviour of BigCorp (pretty much all of them) when it comes to having in general any sense of obligation to the society they make their eye-watering sums of money in and their attitude towards paying a fair wack in tax in particular is concerned I begin to develop an odd affection for piano wire and lamposts. See icon.

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Re: I disagree...

Listen - Theres nothing out there.

Just a load of floating rocks. we've got rocks here, and a good few other things that will be handy sustaining ourselves.

"Getting off this rock" because its a bit broken , is like a bunch of drunk teenagers on a party boat thats now wrecked and covered in sick saying "Lets get off this wreck" to find nothing but water in every direction and the odd rock to sit on . In fact theyd be a lot better off having heat and water and food - out there its Just Rock.

Terraforming? Colony ships? get your head out of the clouds. If we cant even do the comparatively simple task of living on this planet withoit poisoning ourselves in our own shit , there is no chance we will survive long enough to do those things

Now I like space , and spaceships .Its a great place for a day out but i wouldnt want to move there.

Last time I posted something like this , along with "whats the point?" I got a couple of responses:

- All the inventions that go along with it: Teflon etc

- safety from Asteroids , eggs basket etc

and that was it

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@Dan 55 Re: I disagree...

I don't think it's an either/or situation. With that much money to burn he could do both.

Which, of course, he is. If he pays the wages of some rocket engineers then he's paying their income taxes (and sales taxes on all they buy etc.). If he buys rocket gizmos from some supplier then he's paying towards the corporation taxes of the suppliers (and the taxes of their employees etc.)

It's not like he's loading the rocket up with 100 dollar bills and blasting them into space.

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Re: I disagree...

"It's only when you leave school and you're expected to move out, pay your own way and actually find yourself HAVING to do your own washing, cleaning and such, because there's nobody there do just do it for you, that you finally develop an appreciation for the need to do it."

The history of people going to far-off places, where either there weren't any people or they killed a lot of the people through enslavement, where technology was not advanced enough to connect these places, effectively making it similar to the planet scenario, is not on your side. Those places aren't doing dramatically different from other places. The problem you run into is that there are a lot of things that could cause you difficulty getting there in the first place. If, for example, some resources could be put into making life feasible for more people here on Earth, the likelihood of a major war with major weapons obliterating your launch sites before sufficiently advanced craft can launch you to a new planet will be decreased. Even if you consider travel to other planets being a major concern for right now, you might want to look at earth a bit before you go all in on the new tech.

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Re: I disagree...

Actually, itis a left/right issue.

The question is whether it's right for one hyper-rich guy to decide where to spend his billions, or whether some of that money, which was generated by a business that's subsidised by the rest of us in the form of transportation, environmental management, education, defence, and all other other public services that enable his business to continue operating, should be spent in a manner determined collectively, so that its benefits can be distbuted to those who need it most.

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Re: I disagree...

The guy makes a comment about getting off of earth, and you go on a rant about rednecks. You must be fun at parties.

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Re: I disagree...

The sooner we can get off this ball of mud and leave behind the stupidity ("oh, this particular piece of mud/sand/blade of grass is *special* because... reasons") the better.

You're deluded. We get off this ball of mud and guess what? Our prejudices, stupidity and arrogance will go with us.

And if you think he's doing great things for space, think again. His little spaceship isn't about exploration, satellites, or colonization. It's about giving the rich a few minutes "up there" and a maybe a certificate, 8X10 color photo, and a lapel pin.

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Re: " I wish more people would put resources into space,"

For water.

Doesn't mars now have confirmed water?

Also arn't comets pretty much ice.

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Mushroom

Congratulations! (was : Re: I disagree...)

You just repeated the argument against colonizing the New World. Half the point of new worlds, be they continental or planetary, or asteroidal, or, hopefully some day, in another solar system. . . . is a fresh start.

FDISK /MBR and install the OS of your life from scratch, as it were. . .

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Re: I disagree...

Oh, and i'd like Amazon to pay money in taxes to pay for those public services that they and their staff rely on, too.

Yes, it does rather raise the question of how (one of) the world richest can be running a company that has paid no federal taxes while taking home one of the biggest annual salary + bonus in the world. Yes, it's apparently legal, yes, it's the loop holes in the tax system, but that doesn't make it right.

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Re: I disagree...

"biggest annual salary + bonus in the world"

I guess he pays tax on that though?

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Olds

An American CEO is an utter unmitigated slimy borderline criminal bastard.

How exactly is this news, they've all, without exception, been like that since 1776.

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Re: Olds

Usually they have buildings named after them and are hailed as "great founders" too - I think history will also be as kind to Elon and Jeff, except they'll have cities on Mars named after them

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Re: Olds

At least, Carnegie founded libraries.

Bezos is just pissing away the money on space-travel - as if space there wasn't enough space-debris in the atmosphere already.

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Re: Olds

Bezos is just pissing away the money on space-travel for rich people. What musk is doing, on the other hand, is the real deal.

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Re: Olds

Bezos is just pissing away the money on space-travel for rich people. What musk is doing, on the other hand, is the real deal.

It's just 'Tourism'.

It's not going to really solve any earthbound problems as the moneyed mostly useless parasites will be coming back down again.

When colonies happen, they'll be driven by either mining and the hard life and austere conditions that come with it or future tyrannical employment overlords like Bezos packing people off to run warehouses or call centres off planet to avoid employment laws, followed by some sort of Red Faction and eventually fragmentation into independent states with a whole new set of mindless bigots farting their nonsense over the communication channels.

Progress? You can take humanity into space, but don't expect evolution into higher lifeforms, just 'cause they fell out of the cradle reaching for the shiney baubles on the mobile.

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Re: Olds

New Shepard is a space tourism vehicle.

Blue Origin is NOT a space tourism company.

New Armstrong is going to be orbital, and it is slated to be comparable or better than Falcon Heavy.

He's just using space tourism as a stepping stone, whereas SpaceX are using cargo transfer as their first stepping stone.

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Anonymous Coward

they've all, without exception, been like that since 1776.

Without exception? Nary a one?

I've seen some serious cases of butthurt in my time, but there isn't enough Preparation H in the world to remedy this.

It is true that the love of money is the root of all evil. Covetousness isn't particularly virtuous, either.

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Re: they've all, without exception, been like that since 1776.

Dunno if 1776 was really the starting point...

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Re: they've all, without exception, been like that since 1776.

I worked for Sun for many years .... I rather liked Scott Mcnealy ......

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Coat

I think history will also be as kind to Elon and Jeff, except they'll have cities on Mars

I think the actual survivors in that environment will name their capital something more appropriate.

"New Mecca" springs to mind.

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Re: Olds

I assume you dropped your Amazon account then, eh?

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Re: Olds

When colonies happen, they'll be driven by either mining and the hard life and austere conditions that come with it or future tyrannical employment overlords like Bezos packing people off to run warehouses or call centres off planet to avoid employment laws, followed by some sort of Red Faction and eventually fragmentation into independent states with a whole new set of mindless bigots farting their nonsense over the communication channels.

Progress? You can take humanity into space, but don't expect evolution into higher lifeforms, just 'cause they fell out of the cradle reaching for the shiney baubles on the mobile.

youve been watching Firefly! or bladerunner.

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Crumbs...??

It is people like this (who pay their people little) that cause loons like Nancy Pelosi cause to celebrate with silly comments. I also note that he supports such causes all while keeping the $$$.

Well in some cases, yes crumbs (*SIGH*).

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The US is currently at full employment (4.1%). If conditions at Amazon were really that unbearable employees would just move on.

That said, "Millions of people living and working in Space" is a grand vision that somebody has to pursue. If we always push it out to tomorrow, it will never be done.

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If you live in a small-ish town with an Amazon Warehouse, and you're pissed off with the wages, where do you move to? It's likely that the only place in town with vacancies is the one with low wages and poor conditions - i.e. the one you're already working for.

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1. National unemployment figures mean squat. There are pockets of high unemployment and poverty that Amazon actively exploit.

2. Zero hours contracts. If you’re on one, you’re not unemployed! Gov loves this. “Look at the record employment figures, aren’t we awesome?!” they crow. Meanwhile people are starving because they’re employed, but not actually getting paid a dime because they’re not needed this week.

The idea these ppl could just move on if they don’t like it is a fallacy. To what exactly?

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The US is currently at full employment (4.1%). If conditions at Amazon were really that unbearable employees would just move on.

The US employment rate is a notoriously unreliable figure. It has been remarkably constant even while jobs have been created because the US saw a significant portion of the labour force leave the employment market after 2008 and some of them have been returning. Nevertheless, wages are starting to rise but that still doesn't mean that the new jobs are where the people are, or that the people are suitable or qualified for them. Indeed, Amazon's push into automation is presaging the next wave of layoffs for warehouse, delivery and store staff.

So, what's not to like?

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What?

You mean workers are people like corporations and not just a fungible resource?

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The Labour Participation Rate in the US is 62.9%, compared with 78.8% in the UK, where unemployment rate is 4.2%.

That means that in the US, in addition to the 4.1% who are unemployed, there are another 37.1% who don't have a job, but aren't classified as unemployed for one reason or another, compared with "only" 21.2% in the UK.

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"If conditions at Amazon were really that unbearable employees would just move on."

Yes, the US is at full employment on the whole, but that employment is not evenly distributed. That's why Amazon tends to set up warehouses in economically depressed areas where people don't have a realistic option to "just move on".

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Its like that and that's the way it is.

Should have gone to school, should have learned a trade, but you spent all your time in the bum cafe, now your crying that your underpaid....

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Anonymous Coward

"If you live in a small-ish town with an Amazon Warehouse, and you're pissed off with the wages, where do you move to? "

...... If you live in that same small-ish town without the Amazon Warehouse, and you're pissed off with not having a job, where do you move to?

“The misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing compared to the misery of not being exploited all.”

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Re: Its like that and that's the way it is.

Should have gone to school, if you could find a way, for to get that degree, you have to pay. If you had a rocky start, good luck to you, you have a chance, but I have two. When money's there, you have a choice, but if it's not, you have only your voice. If they can shout, over your talk, the only way to leave, is to try and walk.

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That means that in the US, in addition to the 4.1% who are unemployed, there are another 37.1% who don't have a job, but aren't classified as unemployed for one reason or another,

In the US the only number that counts towards "the unemployed" are those drawing unemployed benefits. There's folks whose unemployment has run out that aren't counted. More than we'd like to admit. There's those that haven't been employed because they're "unemployable" due to health, drugs, or criminal record. It goes on but yes, the number is higher, a lot higher.

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But whilst they can't move on presumably there wasn't anywhere for them to work pre Amazon...

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Compare Bezos to Reinhold Würth

See the German Wikipedia: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinhold_W%C3%BCrth

He's also a billionaire, but he founds museums and art-galleries (free admission) in various countries and pays for an orchestra in his home-town.

People always complain about Apple being the big tax-cheat - but in reality, Amazon is much worse. And at least, Apple didn't hold a silly contest about where to build campuses.

Bezos acts a lot like a late-19th-century capitalist, who thought all workers were lazy bastards that needed to be held down and kept on the short-leash, else they would spend all the money on booze and stop coming to work a few days.

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Re: Compare Bezos to Reinhold Würth

Those nasty capitalist like Joseph Rowntree who paid his workers well and built great houses in York.

Then there's the beautiful town of Bournville. Plus Port Sunlight (named after the soap). etc etc

You need to learn more facts and read less propaganda.

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