I mean it’s trivial to float a scheme in which Jeff Bezos’ max net worth taps out at $100 million and then you have to commit to the idea that no, not only this dude but no one will bother starting a new venture if they can only earn 10% of a billion from it; then since essentially nobody earns that much why the hell does everyone else still go to work.

It’s not that nobody would start ventures.

It’s that when those ventures have produced $100 million of value to the world, they’d stop.

I don’t know when Bezos crossed the $100 million mark, but I do know that I’ve used Amazon this week, so I’d be rather cross with any scheme that killed it in 2007 because somebody was annoyed that a company that produced enormous value was incentivized to provide even more value.

why would they stop? if Bezos gets hit by a bus tomorrow does Amazon shutdown?

Of course not, he sold off the assets when his net worth + the expected value of the assets equalled $100 mil.

Or are we positing our current world, where companies are structured differently because they can keep making money?

EDIT: You sound like a Go analyst who wonders when AlphaGo decides to forsake large territories – the explanation is simple enough: AlphaGo isn’t trying to make as large a territory as possible, it’s trying to be as certain as possible of winning by at least half a point, which does not create the same strategies as “make as many points as possible.” If companies were only allowed to make $100 mil for each of their investors, they’d make a lot of choices very very differently from companies tasked with making “as much money as possible.”

Amazon can keep making money, but Bezos’ beneficial ownership is diluted as his net worth increases; he’s free to stay on as a well-compensated manager, and if a decent salary and earth shattering power isn’t enough to keep his attention then fuck him.

Amazon can keep making money

For who? Investors? He’s an investor. The state? Why would he – and the other investors – ever take any further risk to bring the value above $100mil if further rewards all disappear into the state? Or is it $100 mil per investor ? What if they have unequally sized stakes in the company? When it’s worth $300 mil, the guy who owns a third of the company no longer wants to take any risks at all, bu the 4 other people who each own only $50 mil each want to double the size of the company – easy to arrange when everybody stands to make money from it, astoundingly immoral when they’re risking the majority investors money on a scheme he can never benefit from.

I realize “or maybe don’t stick your beak where it doesn’t belong” has no truck with you, but since you believe in taxes, maybe just tax the people involved instead of doing all kinds of nonsense to soothe your ruffled feathers.

you seem to think he’s doing this just for money, if he liquidated now he would never be able to spend it all in his lifetime, if he just wanted money he would never have started Amazon in the first place.

why does anyone go through so much crap running for president when the salary isn’t even a measly million dollars a year? money isn’t the (only) motivation!

you can tax Bezos directly via a wealth tax, or you can incrementally nationalise Amazon over time, or any number of other approaches, and there will still be a competitive market for online shopping with efficient delivery, this isn’t some magic thing that disappears if Jeff takes his ball and goes home.

you seem to think he’s doing this just for money

Obviously the fuck not, you don’t make $150 bil that way either.

But if you believe fines work for anything at all, you should be able to extrapolate from there. If you disincentivize certain things, you’ll get fewer of those things.


no one will bother starting a new venture if they can only earn 10% of a billion from it

No one will take risks that might turn their 8% of a billion into 8% of a trillion if they’re not allowed to profit from it, and stand to loose their current 8% if they guessed wrong. Like, that’s the very driving engine of Capitalism, the thing that makes it so much better than every other system – you get to reap the rewards, but you have to risk your own money so you’ll only do it when it makes sense. Remove the first and you get stagnation, remove the latter and you get boundless inefficiency and waste.

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