Western world greatly values its billionaires and sends a clear message that their conduct and achievements need to be emulated. It encourages creation of wealth and does not consider it as a forbidden activity as Pakistanis often view it. In turn the western billionaires are not only financially productive but they also use their wealth for humanitarian and welfare purposes. The billionaires exceedingly involve themselves in philanthropic activities mostly terming it as the payback of their success.
The founder and CEO of the giant online retailer Amazon Jeff Bezos is estimated to be worth $113 billion, an astronomical figure as the purchasing power of US dollar is still very formidable. He was formally designated the wealthiest person in the world on March 6, 2018, with a registered net worth of $113 billion by Forbes magazine becoming the first centi-billionaire.
Bezos often displayed scientific interests and technological proficiency and true to his natural talent decided to start an online bookstore in 1993. He left his job and founded Amazon in his garage in 1994 after writing up its business plan on a trip from New York to Seattle. Bezos named his new company “Amazon” after the Amazon River in South America and also in part because the name begins with the letter “A,” which is at the beginning of the alphabet. He accepted an estimated $300,000 from his parents and invested in Amazon and the rest is history.
Bezos enjoys all luxuries of life but he also shows keen interest in futuristic endeavours that are aimed to bring betterment in human life. He is a space buff and invests quite a lot of his money in urge to get into space. His interest in space began in 2015 when he funded the recovery of two Saturn V first-stage Rocketdyne F-1 engines from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. They were positively identified as belonging to the Apollo 11 mission in 2013.
Elaborating his space interest he is reported to have said “The only way that I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by converting my Amazon winnings into space travel. That is basically it.” Accordingly Bezos terms his work on Blue Origin, his space company as “the most important work that I’m doing.” “Blue Origin is expensive enough to be able to use that fortune,” he says. “I am currently liquidating about $1 billion a year of Amazon stock to fund Blue Origin. And I plan to continue to do that for a long time. Because you’re right, you’re not going to spend it on a second dinner out.”
True to his intention, Blue Origin succeeded in launching its new Shepard rocket for the first time in 2018 from its facility near Van Horn, Texas. The rocket took off from the company’s West Texas launch site reaching an altitude of 347,485 feet (nearly 66 miles) and is rated to be its highest flight to date. The rocket also made a successful landing.
Bezos’ company is very hopeful that it will be able to send humans to space as early as the end of 2018. The purpose behind Bezos’ endeavours is vast as he is convinced that discovering alternate sources of sustenance are the only way to ensure the sustainability of human species on the Earth. His space programme is one string of such ventures but Bezos’ keenness could hardly be matched. He argues that the outer-space quest will be incredibly important for civilization in the long-term.
In his bid to add more to his philanthropy Bezos personally donated $10 million in 2009 and $20 million in 2010 to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre
In addition to funding space travel Bezos is planning to give some portion of his money to charity. Through a Twitter message he solicited opinion about how he could best plan a philanthropic strategy. Currently he has funded the Bezos Center for Innovation at the Seattle Museum of History and Industry for $10 million and Bezos Center for Neural Circuit Dynamics at Princeton Neuroscience Institute for $15 million
In his bid to add more to his philanthropy Bezos personally donated $10 million in 2009 and $20 million in 2010 to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre. Portraying his anxiety about hurdles enveloping free media he donated $1 million to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press that is considered to be the largest gift received by an organization that is devoted to the welfare of journalists. He further donated a large amount of $33 million to TheDream.US, a college scholarship fund for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States when they were minors and who, now labeled as Dreamers, are trying to shake the conscience of American immigration system.
Baqar Bilal Hussain is a social activist