Just How Rich is Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the Richest Man in Modern History?

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Just How Rich is Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the Richest Man in Modern History?

Illustration: Akshita Monga

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ongratulations to Jeff Bezos on becoming the Mukesh Ambani of the world. He is now the richest man the modern world has ever known. To get to the top, you have to make a few enemies – in Jeff Bezos’s case, they are called employees. One man’s progress is built upon another one’s misery. Because at Amazon, employee loo breaks are monitored and gruelling work conditions ensure panic attacks are more common than potholes on Mumbai roads.

Of course, all this information becomes white noise now that Bezos has been anointed king. In the time you spent adding a pair of sneakers to your Amazon cart, Jeff Bezos got richer by $2,30,000. That is the rough estimate of how much money he makes every minute. Bezos is minting money faster than it took France to appeal for a handball in the World Cup final. As Amazon’s stock soared over the years, we saw Bezos’s look change from sweet boy-next-door to Jason Statham on steroids.

While the world is orgasming over a 10 per cent discount on hand sanitisers during the 36-hour Prime Day sale, Bezos’s net worth has touched $150 billion – a number so huge, one has to count the number of digits using fingers like a five-year-old. When you ask Alexa how rich Jeff Bezos is, you get an automated reply that says, “Teri aukaat ke bahar hai.”   

Of course, we have our own Mr Richie Rich in Mukesh Ambani. But to put things into perspective, the Amazon boss’s net worth has soared by $52 billion this year alone, which is more than the entire fortune of the Reliance chairman, who is Asia’s richest man.

In the time you spent adding a pair of sneakers to your Amazon cart, Jeff Bezos got richer by $2,30,000

While $150 billion sounds like a lot of money, exactly how much money is it? To understand this, you don’t need a calculator, you need perspective.

– Jeff Bezos’s $150 billion net worth is more than the nominal GDP of Croatia, Estonia, Iceland, and Cambodia combined.

– It is more than the cost of the Apollo programme that put man on the moon.

– Jeff Bezos could bail out Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya, and 29 other fugitives who owe the Indian taxpayer ₹40,000 crore in total, 25 times over!

Still not clear how much money that is? Let’s try a fun test.

If you saw money lying on the street, how much value would it have to be to tempt you into picking it up? My guess, you’d let a ₹1 or ₹2 coin go. It’s probably not worth the effort. But what if you spotted ₹100 or ₹200? You might hate the design of the new ₹200 note but you might still pick it up. That’s a handy sum of money for most of us.

For a Bollywood star that monetary value could be ₹1,000. For Salman Khan, it might be ₹2,000. The value could be ₹50,000 for Patanjali CEO Acharya Balkrishna. As per Neil deGrasse Tyson’s wealth test, the amount that Jeff Bezos could let go and not bother to pick up even if it were lying on the street, would be roughly $1,35,000 which translates to ₹92 lakh. So basically, ₹92 lakh is Jeff Bezos’ ₹100.

While you were reading this article, Jeff Bezos just got richer by another $6,90,000. Have a good day at your ten-hour soul-sucking job where you’ll be browsing curtains on Amazon and looking for a 12 per cent discount.

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