In the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s stunning new report, Amazon’s Stranglehold: How the Company’s Tightening Grip is Stifling Competition, Eroding Jobs, and Threatening Communities, they aimed to pull back the cloak of invisibility and reveal the hidden costs and stark consequences of this rising online mega-retailer. And we believe they have done just that. 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Then closes with 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.