Amazon is the poster child for everything wrong with post-Reagan anti-trust enforcement


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/08/07/economists-so-fragile.html


#2

But of course Cory Doctorow and Boing Boing will continue to provide affiliate links to Amazon at every possible opportunity, because his radical principles do not extend as far as his own personal income.


#3

Jeff Bezos is now one of the world’s richest men, after only about 20 years of Amazon being in business.

The famous robber barons of the 19th century were also fond of monopolies.


#4

Maybe in future the old joke will be reborn as…

“Pardon me, sir, can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Bezos Hall?”

“Practice, son, practice.”


#5

“The problem with Amazon isn’t that it’s now really easy to get a wide variety of goods without having to shlep all over the place trying to find the right widget (or book). The problem is the effect that this has on workers, publishers, writers, drivers, warehouse workers, and competition.”

I see this sentiment everywhere alternatively about Walmart or Amazon or Microsoft. Where would be now if in the past, the development of the car was shut down because of the huge segment of the economy that was involved with the care and feeding of horses at the time? What did the availability of electricity do candle makers and chimney sweeps ad the sellers of lamp oil? What did air travel do to the trans-Atlantic passenger ship business? There used to be buildings full of telephone operators and typewriter repairmen. There used to be a cobbler on every block. Men used to make a living cutting blocks of ice out of lakes and rivers. Gone. History moves forward. You may not be able to do the thing you do now forever. Best to keep your eyes and ears open and not be the last one to realize you are in a dying business.

Some of the segments being killed off will hardly be missed by anyone not currently getting a paycheck from that area. Publishing? Blech. The music “business” blech again. Both are parasites living off of the creatives they cleverly trap with a system they themselves built and control. They are no longer necessary.


#6

I think it’s a good idea to carefully hone a particular critique-- focusing of the missteps of the Chicago school, because it would be unwise to form any alliances with a certain short fingered vulgarian.


#7

I’ve been a prime member for several years. Prime Video has its peculiar charms.

In the beginning, I rationalized my use of Prime as “an alternative to using the car I don’t own,” No longer hemmed in by minimum order sizes, I could shop for small things and be assured that the final price would be competitive with what I could find hiking to the various shopping establishments-- if they had it in stock.

Now, I’ve been finding that many of those small items that prime made economical to buy are appearing as “add on items”. And we’re back to minimum order sizes.


#8

Part of the problem with Amazon being a giant, monopolistic corporation that drives 43% of online sales is that it can be hard to avoid doing business with them. Sometimes it’s a Hobson’s choice: you can do this by supporting Amazon, or you can not do it.

It may be hypocritical of BB to criticize Amazon while driving traffic to their site, but it’s also not that different from bitching about your boss.


#9

As always we work with the system we have, not the one we dream of.

“There you are criticizing Capitalism, but what’s this I found in your wallet? A twenty dollar bill! Shame!”


#10

Some advice for all you “makers” out there courtesy of The Onion:


#11

Sigh. I do get tired of people who act as if Amazon were the only online retailer in existence (they’re not), or the only one that provided affiliate links (they’re not).


#12

Don’t even start with the buggy-whip argument. Henry Ford, asshole though he was in some regards, at least tried to pay his workers enough to afford his product. Bezos relies on public welfare and private charities to keep his workers alive.


#13

They’re just the one with the largest user base and inventory, which makes their money that much harder to walk away from. I’d love to see BB do it, but I also understand that the fatter Amazon grows, the harder it becomes not to feed the beast.

And then there’s always the question of whether the alternatives are necessary more ethical.


#14

As someone who chose to spend 15 years living at least an hour away from the nearest big box store, Amazon Prime was a godsend. I was even able to get stuff from overseas that without them I’d would have had to travel 4 hours to be price gouged by a specialty import store that could increase their markup just because they were the only one who sold the stuff in the state. And Christmas shopping was a breeze.
Have you ever seen those old Sears catalogs from 100+ years ago? They sold everything (cradles to caskets) and shipped them to near where you were. Amazon is the modern version of that. I don’t really see them as a Monopoly, I see them as the main competitors to Walmart, Target, Costco, etc.


#15

Of note is that even the entry level warehouse positions pay decently, come with affordable benefits, and receive stock. Educational benefits are popular to the point that some sites have community college classrooms. It’s hard work but far from the hardest I’ve done, and for far better pay. Feel free to conflate Amazon with McDonald’s and its use of govt assistance to subsidize, but know that you are mistaken.

Source: First hand knowledge.


#16

Beeeyotching about Amazon aside, this pretty much takes the cake for weirdest Doctorow headline in 2017.


#17

Yeah,Henry got really generous with his famous “five dollars a day” right after some of his plant guards machine gunned a bunch of union organizers.


#18

What am I missing? Doesn’t look weird to me.


#19

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