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Overview

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and governments across the country ordered most businesses closed, people have increasingly turned to online services like Amazon to meet their needs. As a result, Amazon’s sales soared as the company reported a 37% increase in revenue in the third quarter of 2020, with total revenues north of $96 billion. This, in turn, has led to some increased scrutiny on people like outgoing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, whose personal net worth increased by at least $28 billion since the onset of the pandemic.

Voices like former Clinton administration labor secretary Robert Reich have pointed to this growth in personal wealth, complaining that despite this massive increase in their personal wealth, they have refused to provide paid sick leave, raises, hazard pay, and more to their employees, who are all suffering real hardships.

But is this an accurate picture of what is happening?

In this episode, we speak with David Hebert, director of the Center for Markets, Ethics and Entrepreneurship and chair of the economics department at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids. Hebert argues that people like Reich misunderstand, purposefully or not, what this “accumulation of wealth” means to both Bezos personally and to a company like Amazon, and how it has been a benefit to consumers and workers alike.

David Hebert - Aquinas College

COVID-19 pandemic economics - Acton Line

COVID-19 and crony capitalism - Noah Gould

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