Friday, June 16, 2017

Matt Stoller — America’s Amazon Problem


The objective of the tech industry is monopolization. The answer to it is anti-trust legislation and strict enforcement.
There is only one force that can stop Amazon from organizing and regulating basically all American retail commerce — our democratic institutions and our political system. We the people.

Bezos knows Amazon is a political enterprise at this point. The day before he announced his company’s attempt to buy this supermarket chain, he released a request on Twitter to have people offer ideas for where he can direct charity money. That is the kind of public relations undertaken by political leaders. And Amazon put out an ad for a Ph.D. economist-cum-lobbyist “to educate regulators and policy makers about the fundamentally procompetitive focus of Amazon’s businesses.” And he has put political fixers, like Ivanka Trump’s lawyer and ex-Clinton administration officer Jamie Gorelick, on his board of directors. He also bought The Washington Post.
However, Amazon is not the only offender.

The tech industry is not only disruptive technology but it is presenting fresh challenges to regulation in the public interest.

On the other hand, other companies are not going to rollover. Walmart is already awakening to the threat that Amazon poses for their business model. But thus far, Walmart has not developed a competitive tech game to challenge or even hold off Amazon.

Meanwhile, Sears is reeling on the ropes.

But Montgomery Ward (Wards.com) is trying to make a comeback.

Huffington Post
America’s Amazon Problem
Matt Stoller | Fellow at the Open Markets program, New America Foundation

10 comments:

Bob said...

Walmart, a retailer, is trying to get into the grocery business. They are a step ahead of Amazon, who are trying to get into the retail business.

Amazon is a glorified version of UPS. They are in the logistics business. When you look at retail, suppliers are often forced to compete for the business of retailers. This is because they are not able to sell directly to customers, due to geography. In the case of food, farmers are forced to sell to wholesalers, who take their cut and supply the supermarkets. Or farmers are forced to sell to the supermarkets, without the middleman, yet not necessarily on better terms.

There is dubious benefit to the consumer in the details of these arrangements. It's mainly a question of how much producers and manufacturers should get versus those who distribute the products (i.e. the logistics). UPS is not perceived as making out like bandits in the way that Amazon, Walmart and grocers are. That is due to their profit model.

MRW said...

Amazon, in my neck of the woods, is cutting UPS out of the picture by instituting their own delivery service. And they are not exactly adept at it.

MRW said...

Curbside service is far more popular (Smith's, Walmart). After all, you can't order frozen food or ice cream--or even fresh pork--with home delivery. Hard goods, maybe. Canned. Sure. But when your food can sit outside in the summer heat and ruin after a 10 AM delivery waiting for you to get home: who needs that?

Bob said...

Home delivery could be a solution to the 'food desert' problem, and for people who have mobility issues. During the summer months, some farmers load up a truck and drive slowly through the neighbourhoods, making sales along the way. This was done in an impromptu manner when I was young; nowadays social media could make these runs more efficient and popular. Perhaps it could be expanded to other foodstuffs and conducted year round.

MRW said...

Sort of like an ice cream truck only a farmer's market instead?

Bob said...

Yes. The farmer who made the rounds in our neighbourhood used a cube truck. It wasn't elegant, but it was popular when it showed up. Whoever spotted the truck would sound an alert: "the farmer is here!" Then the adults would drop what they were doing and literally come running outside.

Ironic that we don't have scheduled food runs, yet we do have garbage collection.

Bob said...

Now that I think about it, there was (and still is) a trailer park down the round from my childhood home. That may have been one of the farmer's key selling areas. Lots of small dwellings with people on vacation, and a higher likelihood that they'll be at home. The long summer days also help, as it remains light well after the usual work hours.

Bob said...

*road* not round lol

MRW said...

The long summer days also help, as it remains light well after the usual work hours. In Canada. ;-) Not at American latitudes, especially the southern ones.

Bob said...

12 hour days year round is not so bad. I'd miss the lingering sunsets and sunrises though.