Jeff Bezos is being blasted – both into space and by people who think he should keep both feet placed firmly on Earth.

The Amazon founder has attracted criticism for taking to space in the rocket New Shepard, owned by his company Blue Origin, because of the long-running complaints about working conditions at Amazon, and because his estimated fortune – $206bn – could probably resolve a lot of these issues.

Writing on Twitter, people showed how his jolly illustrates income inequality:

Amazon has been criticised for years over the conditions for its workers, with reports of staff urinating in bottles for fear of missing delivery rates and regularly working 14-hour days. Meanwhile, Bezos, who has stepped down as Amazon CEO, saw his net worth increase by $70bn during the pandemic.

Responding to his critics, Bezos noted that they had a point. They are “largely right,” he said.

“We have to do both. We have lots of problems here and now on Earth and we need to work on those and we also need to look to the future, we’ve always done that as a species and as a civilization. We have to do both,” he said.

Bezos is not the only billionaire looking to escape the trappings of his home planet. Richard Branson flew to space in his own Virgin Galactic aircraft earlier this month.

He said it was the “experience of a lifetime” and hit back at critics who said the resources could have been used differently.

Bezos’ launch took place today. In an interview with CBS News, he said: “I’m excited. People keep asking me if I’m nervous. I’m not really nervous, I’m curious. I want to know what we’re going to learn.

“We’ve been training. This vehicle’s ready, this crew is ready, this team is amazing. We just feel really good about it.”

The future is now.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)