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Jeff Bezos was the world’s richest person for a few hours yesterday

Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Treating workers like disposable automatons at every level of your supply chain apparently pays off, as Bloomberg reports that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was, for a few brief hours yesterday morning, the richest person on Earth. The cause for Bezos’ brief rise and subsequent fall from “richest” to “still rich enough to buy and sell your entire family” was a surge in Amazon stock in advance of the company’s quarterly earnings report, which briefly estimated Bezos’ net worth at $92.3 billion, ahead of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates’ $90.8 billion. Then Amazon‘s earnings report came in at 40 cents per share, well short of median estimates of $1.42 per share, leaving Gates with $89.8 billion and Bezos with $88.8 billion at the end of the business day, according to Deadline. Looks like it’s going to be regular old lobster and not the genetically engineered human-lobster hybrid kind at the orgy tonight.

It should be noted that, unlike Gates’ highly public philanthropic efforts, according to The New York Times, Bezos is the only one of the top five billionaires in the U.S. who has not signed Gates’ and Warren Buffett’s pledge to give away at least half of their fortune. Public records indicate he and his family have given away about $100 million to charity over the course of Bezos’ rapid rise to ultra-wealth, and although the Bezos Family Foundation is funded with Amazon stock, it’s run by Bezos’ parents with little involvement from Bezos himself. Instead, Bezos has been spending his money on arguably publicly beneficial but ultimately for-profit endeavors, like his purchase of The Washington Post in 2013.


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