Conundrum Press

New Study Examines Amazon’s “Stranglehold” on Local Economies

December 2nd, 2016  |  Published in Blog

unhappyamazonAs if we all needed another reason to shop local and support small presses, but here’s more fuel for the fire:

Amazon’s increasing dominance comes with high costs. It’s eroding opportunity and fueling inequality, and it’s concentrating power in ways that endanger competition, community life, and democracy. And yet these consequences have gone largely unnoticed thanks to Amazon’s remarkable invisibility and the way its tentacles have quietly extended their reach.

Our new report, Amazon’s Stranglehold: How the Company’s Tightening Grip is Stifling Competition, Eroding Jobs, and Threatening Communities, aims to pull back this cloak of invisibility. It presents new data; draws on interviews with dozens of manufacturers, retailers, labor organizers, and others; and synthesizes a broad body of previous reporting and scholarship.

It’s organized into four main sections:

In the first section, Monopolizing the Economy, we look at how Amazon is using its market power to eliminate competition and take control of one industry after another, leaving us with an economy that is less diverse and innovative, and which affords fewer opportunities for businesses to start and grow.

In the second section, Undermining Jobs and Wages, we examine Amazon’s labor model and find that work inside its 190
distribution facilities resembles labor’s distant past more than a promising future, with many workers performing grueling and under-paid jobs, getting trapped in precarious temporary positions, or doing on-demand assignments that are paid by the piece.

In the third section, Weakening Communities, we explore how Amazon is upending the longstanding relationship between commerce and place, changing the way that our communities feel and threatening the revenue streams and social capital that they depend on to function.

In the final section, The Policy Response to Amazon, we begin by looking at how Amazon’s rise has been heavily assisted by government support, including subsidies and tax advantages worth billions of dollars.

And finally, we turn to what to do about it, sketching the steps policymakers should take to check the company’s power and bring about a more competitive and equitable economy.

 

Read the full report, with maps!, here: https://ilsr.org/amazon-stranglehold/

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Golden, Colorado-based Conundrum Press publishes fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, focusing primarily on authors who live in the Rocky Mountain region.

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