Jeff Bezos Defends Spending His Fortune on Space Travel

He is obsessed with risk-taking and big ideas.

Personal finance is regarded as, well, personal. Free from a governing body and external sources, the average citizen is permitted, sometimes encouraged, to spend their money without regard to others.

However, this principle doesn’t extend to all, especially not to Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who tops the list of the world’s richest billionaires.

Public opinion is such that the collective should have a say in how the world’s richest person spends his Forbes-estimated $150.4 billion fortune.

Bezos’ Commitment to Philanthropy vs. Buffett’s and Gates’

Among his fellow members in the billionaires club, Bezos’ commitment to philanthropy has been called ill-defined and even suspicious. He’s yet to add his name to The Giving Pledge, a campaign created by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, for the world’s wealthiest individuals to donate their money to charitable causes. Bezos’ recent announcement of a $2 billion fund, which will support nonprofits dedicated to serving homeless families and fund preschools in underserved communities, was criticized for being too scant relative to his fortune.

See: How Jeff Bezos’ $2B Charity Compares to Buffett, Gates and Zuck

Perhaps adding fuel to the fire is that Bezos’ top-ranking spot on the richest-people list carries a whopping lead of more than $53 billion over runner-up Bill Gates’ estimated fortune.

Bezos’ Investment in Himself

Instead of philanthropic causes, Bezos invests his money back into his other company, Blue Origin. Dedicated to space travel and tourism, Blue Origin is the fully realized childhood dream of Bezos.

Related: Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson Says Space Tickets Could Fall to $50K

Bezos defended his spending habits to the audience at Wired’s 25th anniversary summit in San Francisco earlier this week after he announced that he’ll put “a little more” than $1 billion into Blue Origin next year. The fact that Bezos can effortlessly siphon off a billion dollars without feeling a pinch set off a wave of criticism on Twitter.

Bezos Defends His Spending

During the summit, Bezos defended his spending habits, which veer from those of his fellow billionaires, and declared, “You want risk-taking. You want people to have visions that most people won’t agree with. If you have a vision that everybody agrees with, you probably shouldn’t do it because someone else will do it first.” As well, Bezos claimed that “the real needle-movers are driven by being right when most of the world is wrong.”

He argued that governments are better off solving institutional problems like poverty, healthcare and education. “My Amazon stock is tiny compared to the resources of the U.S. federal government,” he said.

Click through to see 20 more billionaires like Bezos who have big, bold ideas.

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