Re: Amazon Must Be Stopped: It’s too big. It’s cannibalizing the economy. It’s time for a radical plan. (Franklin Foer, New Republic, Oct. 9, 2014)
All humans are self-serving and short-sighted to some degree; most humans are self-serving and short-sighted to a large degree. Wal-Mart’s Sam Walton and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos understand this; thus, their business models thrive, and despite all the whining, more and more consumer products are Made in China or other enclaves of cheap labor, while our employment base evolves from manufacturing and production jobs to comparatively lower-paying service jobs.
We, as consumers, reward these business practices when we buy their products.
Pogo’s celebrated quip come’s to mind.
In terms of the book biz, I laughed out loud at the comment about “dilettantism.” Let’s see, dilettantes E. L. James and Amanda Hocking (among others) pen best-selling ebooks that take Amazon by storm, then the “antediluvians,” who earlier had refused to publish these authors’ subliterate tales of sex and paranormal phenomena, jump on the band wagon and offer them wheelbarrows of dinero for these tomes . . . and peddled a significant number of them through Amazon, the very demon they want reined in.
I believe there’s a word that describes that type of behavior, and, if I’m not mistaken, it begins with “h.”
If the establishment book oligarchy doesn’t like Amazon’s policies, it can stop offering its products to Amazon and sell only to brick-and-mortar stores or Amazon’s competitors.
As to the predatory, monopolistic and antitrust allegations regarding Amazon’s business dealings, Foer makes a valid point. We know that unfettered, free-market capitalism does not benefit a modern society in the long run because unregulated or lightly regulated businesses tilt the scales in their favor, and more often than not resort to deceptive, fraudulent and corrupt practices to line their pockets by seducing unsuspecting (or self-denying) suckers.
But who’s going to run with this regulatory ball that Foer suggests? The Chamber of Commerce?
Again, I can only laugh. We have businesses whose greed-driven executives typically decry government intervention and regulation who are now whining about the lack of oversight and regulation of the evil Seattle juggernaut.
The business community has no one to blame but itself, whether it’s books, shoes, diapers, subprime mortgages or stocks and bonds. It wants to have its angel food and munch on it, too.
Sorry, you C-suite boys (and a few girls), you can’t have it both ways.
As for me? I have my reservations about Amazon, but being a self-serving, greedy, indie publisher with a mortgage to feed and bills to pay, Amazon has offered an opportunity that I will exploit to its fullest as long as this train stays on the tracks.