Should We Break Up With Amazon? A Discussion About Morality and Capitalism

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Image Credit: Jill Stein Dank Meme Stash

I know, guys. I love Amazon, too. I’ve been acquiring gently used books for free thanks to Swagbucks, an online survey site that rewards me with Amazon gift cards in exchange for market research feedback.  Indeed, at the end of my Blog entries there is even a link to an Amazon wishlist where my fans can buy me a gift, such as my signature knee socks or Swedish weaving kits. I got the idea of a gift list from webcam models, who typically have a shopping list where their fans can send them sexy outfits or a pair of heels for them to model in future videos. My shopping tastes run more on the reclusive cat lady side of the spectrum, obviously.

However, it has come to my attention that the working conditions in Amazon’s warehouses are alarmingly awful for their employees. One can argue that if the employees didn’t want to work there they don’t have to, but as consumers we have the power of “voting with our dollar” on what companies to financially support with our hard-earned cheddar. Boycotts have long been an effective means of direct action ( http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/boycotts/successfulboycotts.aspx ) for strong-arming powerful companies to “act right.” Myself personally have not shopped at a Walmart in years due to their business practices, (and even participated in a Black Friday protest) most notably that many of their employees require government assistance in order to make ends meet, despite working two or three part-time jobs in addition to Wally World. It is with a sad, disappointing sigh that I’m going to have to break up with Amazon as well.

We’re a first-world developed nation; I’ve yet to see a single good argument for somebody who works full time (or more than full-time!!) to need to rely on government benefits in order to survive. If a company is raking in billions annually, in addition to all those corporate tax breaks our legislators love to bestow on these oft-parasitic entities, the least they can do is pay their workers a living wage or give them some decent health insurance. What happens to a capitalist society in the long term when the consumers can’t afford to consume anymore? That’s a big question I’ve been pondering lately. I don’t have an exact answer for that yet- perhaps companies will re-target their efforts to developing nations once the proletariat of western nations are thoroughly fleeced? I try not to read into doom-and-gloom, alarmist reports too often, but when 3 individuals are wealthier than half of our population it feels like something might be very wrong here (source: http://time.com/5122375/american-inequality-gilded-age/ ) Do we really want to live in a world where the rich get richer and to hell with the rest of us? (For a look into some ideas I’m attempting to integrate into my own life that might form a partial solution to our woes, refer to my previous article: https://planethaleyblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/01/create-the-means-of-production-comrade/ )

How big is Amazon, anyways? As of September 2017, Inc.com (source: https://www.inc.com/business-insider/facts-about-amazon-jeff-bezos-seattle-2017.html ) reported that Bezos’s baby is now the 4th most valuable company in the world; a huge leap from the tiny online bookseller they started out as. 43% of all online sales are on Amazon, larger than any other e-commerce retailer.  That’s not quite large enough for me to consider them a monopoly, but in 2017 they netted 178 Billion in revenue (source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/266282/annual-net-revenue-of-amazoncom/ ), which we all can agree is an absolutely insane amount of money, larger than the average GDP of well, entire countries (source: https://knoema.com/nwnfkne/world-gdp-ranking-2017-gdp-by-country-data-and-charts ). More interestingly, in 2017 it was reported that 64% of US Households have an Amazon Prime Membership (source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/shephyken/2017/06/17/sixty-four-percent-of-u-s-households-have-amazon-prime/#6c5ed5f24586 ). If Amazon is making so much money, why are their working conditions so awful? (source: https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/12/7-examples-how-amazon-treats-their-90000-warehouse.html ) Surely, they can afford to do better by the boots on the ground that make the magic happen!

The other thing that really bothers me about Amazon is Alexa, and how quickly we collectively jumped to get the digital assistant into our homes and businesses. Is our information and data safe? It hasn’t been for a while, actually (source: http://www.seattleweekly.com/news/alexa-and-the-dawn-of-so-what-surveillance/ ), but I think we’ve been more-or-less aware of that and kind of accepted that unfortunate part of our Brave New World. I, for one, will not be purchasing an Alexa. Or a Smart TV. Or fancypants video game console any time soon. Smartphones are a necessary evil, but the rest I can live without.

I’ve decided I won’t be buying anything from Amazon any longer, or buying gifts for family and friends on the platform anymore. Nor will I be posting that wishlist in the footnotes on any future installments of this Blog.  I’m planning on replacing it with an Etsy Wishlist, to celebrate and recognize the artists of the world.

We can’t fix everything overnight, but we can start saying “no” to the things that harm us on our collective journey to become better humans, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Amazon is quite harmful. You, fellow human with free will, are free to make your own conclusions and encouraged to decide for yourself weather or not to support Jeff Bezos’s empire.

Next thing I want to purge from my life? Fast food.

But that’s another article, and another story about my favorite frenemy: Taco Bell. Stay tuned for more Millennial Misadventures from yours truly!

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PLANET HALEY is an independent editorial publication directed towards Millenials with the goal of promoting serious conversations about finance, business, technology, and politics in a 24 hour, digital world with the eventual goal of all our mutual successes. We strongly support a free and open Internet, knowing that it is essential to transmit knowledge, collaborate with like-minded individuals, and spread unique, valuable ideas around the globe to educate and empower the citizens of the world. This article is free to share, just please post a link back to the site so my readership can grow, and maybe donate to my college fund? :3

Money burning a hole in your wallet? You can always give me some of it to say “thank you” for informing or making you smile today: https://www.paypal.me/planethaley . Your donations will be assisting with paying for my college education, since student loans suck ass and we’re not going there unless I absolutely have to. Planet Haley will ALWAYS be free to read; I will shut this shit down before ever forcing my audience to go through a pay wall, end of net neutrality be damned.

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