If this is progress, just how much more of it can the U.S. economy afford? The myth of cheap prices conveniently seldom factors in the structural costs to society. Building an all-inclusive monopoly such as Amazon based upon a minimal number of employees and predatory pricing, is an affront to the long anti-trust history that helped create the middle class.
The last fifty years has demonstrated a systemic retreat from family prosperity, which has produced a vast and grotesque disparity of wealth between the haves and the very large and growing number of have-nots. And the enormous accumulation of market share that Amazon has steamrolled into place using ease in the selection of products, the placing of orders, timely deliveries, and, most of all, lower pricing, has caused the demise of much of traditional retail commerce.
This is not analogous to the replacement of horse and buggies with the model-T car. Henry Ford introduced a dramatic increase in pay for his workers, so they could earn their way to prosperity. No, Amazon is applying the Chinese model of coolie labor practices to stamp out competition combined with advanced technology that is based upon eliminating jobs from the work force.
Even that ultimate monopolist, John D. Rockefeller, fueled the Industrial Revolution with Standard Oil. The economy flourished, run on cheap energy. However, with Amazon, the consolidation of online purchases is mostly a discretionary choice. Sadly, by selecting to buy from Amazon, the consumer is putting a dagger in the backs of the Main Street economy.
Yes, this is the same process that for decades has seen Wal-Mart close down the mom and pop retailer. And now Amazon is bent on fracturing the sales from your friendly Wal-Mart greeter in the blue vest. Some may say it’s about time that the Wal-Mart gets it come-uppance, but the big difference is that all those Wal-Mart retail jobs will eventually become just one more statistic in the unemployment reports.
Some will say that the Seattle-based behemoth is becoming a major employer. Amazon has over 341,000 employees — adding more than 110,000 people in a single year. Wal-Mart employs 2.3 million “associates” around the world, of which 1.5 million are in the U.S. But as Market Watch reports, Amazon is going to kill more American jobs than China did: “But for retail workers, Amazon is a grave threat. Just ask the 10,100 workers who are losing their jobs at Macy’s. Or the 4,000 at The Limited. Or the thousands of workers at Sears and Kmart, which just announced 150 stores will be closing. Or the 125,000 retail workers who’ve been laid off over the past two years.”
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