This is Jeff Bezos, world's richest man, worth just spare change short of $100 billion, all self made.
He IS Amazon, Zapos, Audibooks, etc. and also The Washington Post newspaper among other incredible things now and to come.
Amazon, which he started in 1996, is valued at about $1 trillion (that's $999 billion, 999 million, 999 thousand, 999 hundred and 99 cents... plus a penny) and employs 600,000 people. He's pretty big... and impressive too.
Just recently Amazon expanded its Seattle headquarters to New York City's Bronx, Arlington Virginia and Nashville after hosting a one year bidding frenzy among 238 cities in the U.S, Canada and Mexico that want in on the action. Yeah, they picked three locations instead of one... more incentives and more opportunities opened for the giant, I suppose.
Cities went crazy trying to lure the still growing giant, offering everything from free zoo tickets (true) to billions of dollars in incentives and other crazy things to lure the giant plum.
"CHOOSE ME! CHOOSE ME!" they all cried.
In the end, Amazon's winning choices brought $5 billion in tax incentives from the "winners" with a few more bucks down the line in various other ways. All this is to be generated in lieu of taxing the giant... and shorting the revenue expectations of the municipalities who need money to fund education, repair subway systems and roads or other trivial things municipalities need to keep life flowing, especially now that each of the three new headquarters will house up to 25,000 employees.
Money talks. When you have money people, cities, government want to throw more money your way, whether you need it or not. For the rich and very rich, it's the game.
What this will mean for the people in those "winning" locations is not yet known, but for sure, growth will be a challenge to their way of life, cost of living and convenience. Best answer: We'll see.
The theory, of course is that Amazon will bring more jobs, more people and more revenue, which it will. But how will that play out for the common folk as lifestyles will be dramatically changed.
So the question: Why chase Amazon with dollars when Amazon needs them more than they need Amazon? It's an upside-down look at how the moneyed work the system as we fall into line.
Disclaimer: There is nothing wrong with being rich per se. It is amazing that the tech world has so dynamically changed our world and a great many of the top one-percent have earned their way to the top. But giving the richest of the rich "the farm" just doesn't seem like the way it should work. I suppose though, you can't catch a big one if you don't use bait.
Remember, It IS Nuts out there.
Now for fun, hum along with one of ABBA's best songs, the one that gave this post it's name:
|Agnatha, Benny,Anni-Frid, Bjorn|