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Old 9th October 2019, 12:20 PM   #191
Bob001
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 9,409
Originally Posted by blutoski View Post
Essentially yeah. Any asset that passes a minimum threshold of surplus sufficient to hire an army of lobbyists can find enormous leverage through rent seeking. There's an estimate that lobbying returns are in the fifth order of magnitude percentagewiese (eg one paper estimates 76,000% return in the USA, considering all levels of government).

And there's public engagement as well, such as his investment in the Washington Post. I'm confident that an equal dollar value invested in Renoirs would not have the same political returns as this newspaper purchase does.
Not to digress too far, but by all accounts Bezo's purchase of the Washington Post was a near-heroic act of public service. The Post was losing around $100 million a year when he stepped up, and the Graham family couldn't support it forever. They could have put it up for auction, and Rupert Murdoch or the Gannett chain might have been the new owners. By all accounts Bezos has hired tough, aggressive editors and journalists and stayed out of their way, allowing them to pursue multiple investigations of Trump, and in response Trump has disparaged Amazon and Bezos, and threatened Amazon's government contracts. If Bezos just wanted to make money, he could have done a lot better with fewer headaches than saving a failing newspaper.

The question still remains whether tax and social policy should allow any one person to hold a personal fortune of around $160 Billion bucks.

Last edited by Bob001; 9th October 2019 at 12:21 PM.
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