Mark Zuckerberg gets $700 million payday while we struggle to pay our rent

Rose Kwiecinska, East London Socialist Party

Tech company Meta, owner of Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp, reported that it will pay $1.25 billion of dividends to its shareholders every quarter. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who has about 350 million shares, will get an unimaginable payout this year of $700 million! 

But is this really surprising? Billionaires are getting richer and richer every minute, while most of us are getting real-terms pay cuts.

During the Covid pandemic, a time when people lost their jobs and struggled to pay rent, the ten richest men in the world doubled their fortunes, according to Oxfam.

In the USA, in no state can someone working full time and paid the minimum wage afford an average one-bedroom apartment without over 30% going to rent.

So how much are the richest people in the world paying in taxes? A lot less than you probably.

In 2007 and 2011, Jeff Bezos, the world’s wealthiest person and Amazon CEO, didn’t pay a dime in income taxes. Similarly, in 2018, Elon Musk, the second-richest man and the founder of Tesla, did the same.

The average American earns in their entire lifetime less than what Bezos accumulates in just 15 minutes.

Is better taxation a way to deal with this massive inequality?

Taxing billionaires is getting tougher in the globalised economy, where avoiding national taxes is easier than ever.

These billionaires don’t just hold power just because of their wealth; the economic weight they have behind them means they make important economic decisions without being elected or accountable to the public.

The wealth of these people is generated by the workers they employ. Workers generate more value than they’re being paid.  And this is the basis of capitalism. Without this exploitation there are no billionaires.

Socialists fight for the wealth and resources of society, including the means of production (factories, patents logistic chains etc) that produce goods and services everybody needs to be put into public ownership. It has to be put under democratic control of working people, to produce what we all need, not what makes a profit for a few.

Imagine for a moment a world without billionaires, where you could actually get a full value of your work, not have to worry about juggling rent and bills, and live life to the full.

Join us in that fight.