Break up Amazon before it does any more damage to America

Break up Amazon before it does any more damage to America, by Maureen Callahan.

How much praise does Bezos, recently crowned the World’s Richest Man, deserve while paying, as of 2017, a median Amazon income of $28,446? … Business Insider reported that as of this year, Amazon was among the top companies whose employees relied on food stamps. …

Author, entrepreneur and NYU business professor Scott Galloway has emerged as one of Amazon’s fiercest critics. … “We worship at the altar of innovators and billionaires.”

Galloway calls this “a perversion” that has occurred without our true realization. And Amazon, he says, is more responsible than any other tech giant.

In his best-selling book “The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google,” Galloway cites some arresting statistics: Far fewer U.S. households have a gun than Amazon Prime, by 30 to 64 percent. More Americans have Prime than voted in 2016 (55 percent), or earn $50,000 or more a year (55 percent), or go to church (51 percent). He calls Amazon’s ability to woo Prime subscribers at a $119 yearly cost the equivalent of “entering into a monogamous relationship” with its consumers, who as of 2016 spent, on average, $193 per month. (Non-Prime members average $138 per month.)

From 2006 to 2016 Amazon’s stock price growth surged by 1,910 percent, destroying Sears, J.C. Penney, Kmart, Best Buy, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Target and Walmart.

Perhaps most importantly: Since the Great Recession, Amazon has paid just $1.4 billion in corporate taxes compared to Walmart’s $64 billion. … In 2017, Amazon paid nothing in federal tax. …

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. …

Alexa and Echo, Amazon’s cloud-based voice-operated systems, sit in an estimated 40 million homes and spy on us, reporting our moods, tastes, wants, needs and fears back to HQ. Yet we don’t fear Alexa. …

Galloway says the future is in voice recognition — a future that once belonged to Apple and Siri. Today it’s Amazon. Tomorrow it might be Google. This should alarm us, he says, because Big Tech, “running out of excuses to abuse the commonwealth, will start saying, ‘But wait — if you do anything to us, the Chinese are going to take over with AI,’ ” Galloway says. Not so. China doesn’t innovate and hasn’t figured out how to launch a global product. If anything, he says, China has become America’s 3-D printer.

hat-tip Scott of the Pacific