Stacy Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance joined Chris Hayes this week on his “Why Is This Happening?” podcast to discuss Amazon’s history of shady business practices, and contrasting that with the convenience and cost savings that the company affords. I thought these two points Mitchell raised, in particular, were insightful:
They lost, in their first six years in business, they lost $3 billion, mostly losing money on books, which you talk to a local bookstore, they can’t lose money on books. They were not allowed to do that by the financial system. Why is it that Wall Street was willing to do that? A lot of it is because they saw this emergent monopoly.
It’s an incredible machine for concentrating wealth and having power over what happens. The implications are really profound because we’re moving from a situation in which traditional markets are open, they’re governed by public rules. That’s the nature of it. We decide who can participate in that market, there’s … At least there should be a level of equality and access. Amazon’s moving us to a situation in which the exchange of goods occurs in a private arena that it controls, it sets the rules for.
I think this is worth a listen, but there’s also a transcript if you’d prefer to read through it.