Jon Stewart once told Jeff Bezos at a private dinner with the Obamas that workers want more fulfillment than running errands for rich people: ‘It’s a recipe for revolution’

Jon Stewart once told Jeff Bezos at a private dinner with the Obamas that workers want more fulfillment than running errands for rich people: ‘It’s a recipe for revolution’

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22 replies on “Jon Stewart once told Jeff Bezos at a private dinner with the Obamas that workers want more fulfillment than running errands for rich people: ‘It’s a recipe for revolution’”

As Stewart tells it, Bezos discussed what he sees as the economy of the future, one that relies on service workers to perform tasks. Stewart said he disagreed, that people want to feel proud of their work, and feel like they’re contributing to society and not just “running errands for people that have more than you,” Stewart said he told Bezos.

“I think he views everybody as like a part of a fulfillment center,” Stewart said. “And so I said, ‘I think that’s a recipe for revolution.’ And then, like, kind of a hush falls over. And then you hear Obama from across the couch go, ‘I agree with Jon.'”

Worked at Amazon for a couple of years starting in 1997, in customer service. In my interview, I was told that all employees started in customer service, spending their first few months learning the business and then moving up into other divisions. But by the time my cohort was ready, those pathways upwards had mostly closed off. Then they outsourced the customer service to Kentucky, then India, and laid off the entire customer service department in Seattle. A select few were allowed to stay on in Seattle to manage/train the new/non-promotion-worthy CS staff in other time zones.

Eff Bezos. That guy’s always been an ass.

Perhaps – and this is just thinking outside the box – the future should not include just the rich people and their peons. Almost as if there should be some sort of middle. A stratus of economics that is neither rich nor poor, maybe in the center. Without it, Jon’s right, revolution is inevitable.

Edit: and just like magic, a bunch of rich people apologists appear. Amazing how that works.

I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness…

The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance

Carl Sagan

Meh. We are so far from a revolution in this country. Bezos knows he’ll be long dead before that. He couldn’t care less.

Well, yea.

Society works when people believe it works, and believe it’s reasonably fair. When that belief goes away, shit gets progressively uglier.

This sort of thing is cyclical. We’ve had robber barons before, but a few generations pass and people forget why we taxed the shit out of them, and now we’re learning the lesson again.

And this is why I’m the I.T. lady for a bunch of rural libraries. Because those who may not have the resources at present can find a working PC with internet at the library, and take comfort in the fact that all their data gets wiped when they log off. Could I make more somewhere else? Probably, but would I be as satisfied with my job, probably not.

I don’t care about fulfillment in a retail or task job tbh. I just want more money. Fulfillment is nice, but I also need to not live in a cardboard box.

No not really. I like work and physical work. I just don’t like the paycheck. I want to have a house and a family but that’s just not possible in today’s economy. I have to get into a computer related job to have a decent salary.

Sometimes I want fulfillment from my job. Sometimes I want my job to just compensate me enough and demand less of my time so I can find/have fulfillment outside of my job.

Bezos is never going to take a guy like Jon Stewart seriously. Bezos is always going to have an inflated view of himself due to his insane success. There’s no way a guy like Jon Stewart rates in his world.

We’re not going to acknowledge or question why these four people were casually having dinner together?

“It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it!” – George Carlin

This is also not just a Bezos thing. The rise in “gig economy” work or the “precariate,” or the increase in calling workers “independent contractors” is a problem across the modern world (but especially in the us rn). Companies have been shunning long term hires for more part time employees or other sources of labor. This has been a major neoliberal trend along with declining labor power. In the us especially, we have millions of people who have no benefits, no long term stability and very few govt services to fall back on. Not to mention, the pay of these jobs has been atrocious. We’re seeing some mild gains in pay since the pandemic for some workers but this doesn’t really add up to a healthy labor force or a happy population. Jeff Bezos has a hand in the terrible practices of Amazon but this is a widespread problem.

These rich people out here forgetting how to be real people. It’s so sad how far away from reality these people are shouldn’t we be outcasting them?

Obama like “Uhh, I agree. I wish there was somebody with the power to make this happen. It would have been good to see this attitude shift between 2008 and 2016.”

I run errands for rich people. You get hired as a high profile private chef but in reality your just their little shopping bitch.

It’s mind boggling to think about the sheer work being wasted right now. I don’t think all gig is economy stuff is bad. I worked horrible jobs when I was younger and would have loved some of these. But at a high level, we have robotic legs to build for paralyzed people, trees to plant and oceans to clean, a green grid to build, lead pipes to retrofit, healthcare to create, schools to fix, etc. And we are wasting so much labour on dumb shit like this. So many people working these jobs, working call centres to spam people, working shit retail jobs. WTF?

Further compounded by a shallow and lifeless popular culture. It’s not just a work thing. It’s a life thing. Collectively.

I think they are both wrong. They were talking about the future and what people want and what will happen. I see it occurring in 2 ways. Automation thankfully will slow down and kill the need for people to do trivial tasks. We won’t need service workers, delivery people, and most factory workers. What we will need are very intelligent people who design, create, and fix things. Those people will likely work way more than they should, make good money doing so. They will have bosses like Bezos and he will make even more money. Then you’ll have a starving lower class that grows and grows. Until the pivotal point at which that class either fights back OR is taken care of. The level of violence doesn’t really matter as much as there will be a point where we have to decide if the lower class doesn’t work but lives like everyone else or if they don’t.

All the time I see a smaller and smaller group of people thinking they need to work for some reason (which isn’t true, we aren’t work and we can be fulfilled without it).

The whole key to making this work is figuring out how to disperse both income and requirements. One answer is to increase the educational level of the country and decrease the time worked in a week. Unfortunately I think almost every way of fixing this requires all classes of people to adapt and I think many people simply won’t.

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