Jeff Bezos
Source: Getty Images

Jeff Bezos Could End U.S. Hunger With His Wealth, According to Estimates


Mar. 30 2021, Published 8:09 a.m. ET

In 2018, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said he would spend his massive net worth—then around $131 billion, now around $180 billion—on space travel through his company Blue Origin

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“I am very lucky that I feel like I have a mission-driven purpose with Blue Origin that is, I think, incredibly important for civilization long term,” he told Business Insider. “And I am going to use my financial lottery winnings from Amazon to fund that.”

That plan came as a disappointment to Dr. Harold Pollack, a public health and social services expert who wrote in a New York Times opinion at the time that Bezos “has done conspicuously less to aid humanity than have many other tycoons, even those who command far less wealth.”

Pollack went on: “Mr. Bezos’s comments and record regarding philanthropy reflect a surprising lack of creativity and strategic vision regarding what his fortune could accomplish.”

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Other people have had different ideas regarding what that fortune could accomplish, though, including the people who have asked how much Bezos could give to everyone in the world.

Jeff Bezos could give $23 to every person on the globe.

Jeff Bezos
Source: Getty Images

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the world population is around 7.75 billion. Bezos’ net worth at the time of this writing is $180.4 billion, according to Forbes

Therefore, Bezos could give everyone in the world about $23.27. Limiting that math to just the United States, Bezos could give each of the roughly 330 million people living in America about $546.66.

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He could have paid all of his employees a $173k bonus.

In February, when Bezos’ net worth was $196 billion, he could have given every one of Amazon’s 1.13 million employees a $173,628 bonus, Nexstar reported. 

The wire service had other statistics to share: Bezos could have given $25,764 to every resident of Washington, where Amazon is based. Or he could have spent $3.7 billion per week for a year. Or he could have spent $1 billion every day for the next month and still have had $165 billion remaining.

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Bezos could have bought 23 percent of Tesla.

The Verge took a more comical approach to hypothetical uses of Bezos’ wealth in February. The site reported that Bezos could have purchased 1,932 diamond-encrusted Damien Hurst skulls (worth $100 million a skull), or 64,000 Bugatti Chirons (at $3 million a vehicle), or 644 copies of Larry Ellison’s private island (which Ellison purchased for $300 million), 19 iterations of the James Webb Space Telescope (costing $10 billion per telescope), or even 23 percent of Tesla (valued at $818 billion at the time).

He perhaps could have ended hunger in the United States seven times.

Turning serious, The Verge also speculated that Bezos could have put that fortune toward ending hunger in the United States. Hunger Free America CEO Joel Berg said in 2016 that it would take $25 billion—which Bezos has seven times over—to solve U.S. hunger.

“Mr. Bezos will be remembered as a great businessman,” Pollack concluded in his 2018 New York Times op-ed. “It’s up to him whether he will be remembered as someone who used his wealth and talent to make our world a better place for his children, and for ours.”


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