Amazon Won’t be the Downfall of Our Country
Amazon Won’t be the Downfall of Our Country
Long before we had Trump Derangement Syndrome, we had Amazon Derangement Syndrome (ADS). Amazon was blamed for everything from the demise of locally owned, independent bookstores to the demise of publishing as the world had known it. Now that the circus surrounding Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing is over, ADS is once again in the news. Despite Jeff Bezos’ announcement his company was raising the minimum wage to $15/hour, those “woke” and concerned citizens have decided to eat their own. ADS wins again and conservatives everywhere are buttering their popcorn and sitting back to watch the show.
For those not familiar with ADS, it first appeared among traditional publishers and other online booksellers. In 2012, the Feds brought suit against Apple and five of the then-Big Six publishers for price fixing. Despite claims that agency pricing was the only way to save publishing and other arguments, the charges were upheld. Amazon prevailed and that should have been the end of it. But ADS continued.
Authors took up the cry that Bezos and company were responsible for the demise of so many of the independently owned local bookstores. They overlooked the fact most of those stores closed long before Amazon opened for business. The culprit? Big box bookstore chains like Borders and Barnes & Noble. They had the buying power necessary to force publishers to sell at lower prices, allowing them to price books and related merchandise at prices the indie bookstores could not match. Bye-bye indie bookstores.
And the lamentations of those suffering from ADS continued. Every time Amazon announced a new innovation or service, those lamentations grew louder and louder.
Enter the “woke” generation.
Instead of praising Bezos for doing exactly what they’ve been clamoring for, liberals gave him the squint eye. There is no applause for raising salaries without government interference. Instead, they ask questions like, “What is Amazon eliminating to pay for this?”
Amazon's hourly workers lose monthly bonuses and stock awards as minimum wage increases https://t.co/Mydn6vvuYL
— CNBC Tech (@CNBCtech) October 3, 2018
Another question being asked is, “When did we become The United States of Amazon?”
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting very tired of the screechers demanding something and then, when they get it, deciding it isn’t enough. Amazon didn’t have to give the raise to its employees. It could have turned a deaf ear on the demands from some employees and from a number of outside forces and continued with the status quo. It didn’t and now it finds itself being attacked for following the party line.
Amazon faces criticism after revealing changes to employee compensation tied to its minimum wage hike. They announced it will boost minimum wage to $15/hour for all U.S. employees. But the company will also change a stock program and end bonuses for existing warehouse workers. pic.twitter.com/1rwiscgzQP
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) October 4, 2018
Author and business professor Scott Galloway is one of those leading the battle cry against Amazon. Part of that has been to warn of the “threats the company poses not just economically but philosophically and morally.”
Yes, that’s right. ADS sufferers now believe Amazon is a threat not just economically but philosophically and morally. Wow. Who knew buying a book online or listening to music or streaming video could take such a toll on our country and our psyches.
According to Galloway, “our society is effectively going through this very uncomfortable transition that is bad for our youth, bad for America and bad for the planet where we no longer worship at the altar of character and kindness. We worship at the altar of innovators and billionaires.”
Well hell. There’s the problem. Those who aren’t sufferers of ADS are supporters of capitalism and invention. I guess we ought to settle for what we already have and not strive to better our lives and the lives of everyone else. Bad free thinkers. Evil inventors. Sinful moneymakers.
Isn’t it interesting how this sounds so much like what we have been hearing from the liberals on the political scene? The rich should redistribute their wealth to those “less fortunate” than they. Successful companies must be punished for their success. How do we do that? Through more laws and more government interference. It’s the socialist way, after all.
Another of Galloway’s complaints about Amazon center around the tax breaks it enjoys. That is part of the “perversion” Amazon has supposedly inflicted upon us. What he so carefully ignores is that Amazon didn’t get these breaks in a vacuum. Nor is it the only business to have negotiated with local, state and federal taxing authorities. ADS blinds its sufferers to the reality of business negotiation in this day and age.
And Amazon has made itself such an indispensable part of the supply chain that it sets the price points of just about everything. If you are someone who makes something or sells something, from books to fire pits to flat- screen TVs, Amazon tells you what the market — its market — will bear. Its limitless supply of cash means it can undercut any other retailer in any space it wants to dominate.
Except that’s not exactly true. Amazon sets its own prices but those businesses and entrepreneurs who sell through Amazon Marketplace can and do set their own prices. Sometimes they are lower than Amazon and sometimes not.
As for Amazon being an “indispensable part of the supply chain”, eh. Not really. There are tens of thousands of Americans who do not use Amazon for anything. Others only use it for books or its streaming services. They might buy reading material from Bezos and company, but they would never consider buying clothing or furniture or, gasp, food from there. But they don’t count because they don’t fit the metrics of the ADS sufferers.
Outer space aside: Amazon wants to feed, treat, entertain, educate and medicate America — and that’s just what it’s told us. Nothing Orwellian here, right?
My question is what is Orwellian about it? Where were the objections to Walmart when it moved into towns and sold food, books, videos, music, auto parts, medicine and so much more? No one objected then and few object now, even though so many mom and pop businesses were driven under by Sam Walton and his “new” vision for stores.
If you look, and you don’t have to look hard, you can find more examples that put the lie to the Orwellian scare language. But isn’t that always the case with the liberals when they are “only looking out for us”?
At least Galloway isn’t limiting his attacks to only Amazon.
“Our tectonic shift was the death of Steve Jobs in 2011. We were already on the path of technology replacing religion, but Jobs, in dying young, “became our Christ, Apple our religion, and the iPhone the cross,” says Galloway.
But don’t fret. He quickly turns it back to Amazon. Evil Amazon makes billions in revenue, but many of its employees barely manage to get by. Still, when Amazon raises its minimum wage, it isn’t enough. The subtext, which isn’t well disguised, is simple. Bezos and Amazon need to redistribute its wealth to the worker bees and punish the innovators for being, well, innovators.
Amazon is evil because it is mechanizing much of the work being done. That means it isn’t employing as many people. Bad Amazon. Now it is taking away jobs, jobs that most don’t want to work. But that doesn’t matter.
Galloway’s conclusion is that we must break up Amazon. That’s another common demand of those suffering from ADS. “We don’t break companies up because they’re evil or take jobs or don’t pay taxes. We do it because it’s time.”
Funny, he spent most of a very long article explaining exactly why Amazon is evil. The problem is, his arguments are much the same as all too many Democrats (cough—Socialists—cough) cite when it comes to any big business or successful businessman. The fact they are now turning on one of their own should be a wake up call to every other businessman. If they are going after Bezos today, how long before they go after Zuckerberg and Facebook or Sundar Pichai and Google, just to name a few?
As dangerous as Trump Derangement Syndrome is, Amazon Derangement Syndrome may possibly be worse because of how it can be expanded. No one is saying Amazon is without fault. No company is. But to lay the problems of publishing or retail at its figurative feet is to overlook all the other causes, most of which existed long before Amazon came onto the scene.
We should be very wary of anyone, especially politicians, who claim they only have our best interests at heart when they start mucking about with our economic structure. It is up to use to keep an eye on what happens and to hold those responsible accountable. Otherwise, we just might wake up one day to find the only businesses around are those owned or operated by the government and the black market. Trust me, that is one nightmare none of us want.
Featured Image: Jeff Bezos/The Financial Times.