Saturday , April 17 2021

The dictatorship of the Amazon

Ammy GoodmanBy: Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan

Amazon announced this week its long-awaited announcement: the release of where its second headquarters will be located, called HQ2 (for its acronym in English).

The selection process faced more than 200 cities that disputed the possibility of housing the company's new campus, promising 50,000 high-paying jobs. In their competition to offer the company as many tempting public subsidies and attractive tax exemptions as possible, politicians prostrated themselves before the Internet sales giant and its founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world. Each of these local authorities expected the winning city to thrive with increased tax collection and the emergence of a thriving technology center that could compete with Silicon Valley itself. Finally, Amazon announced that the new headquarters would be split into two smaller sites: one in Queens, New York and another in Crystal City, Virginia. While the details of the publicly funded subsidies that will be granted to the Amazon remain undisclosed, what is known so far is enough to confirm the worst fears of many Amazon critics: the HQ2 proposal was at best a waste. Another example of corporate welfare, where working-class taxpayers' money is transferred to a business giant and its multimillionaire owner.

The following day, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the details of the city's winning bid for the Reduced Amazon Headquarters, Ron Kim, a member of the Legislative Assembly of New York State and a progressive Democrat, said in an interview to Democracy Now!: "It gives me great indignation that New York, under the Cuomo government, is willing to grant up to $ 3 billion dollars of taxpayers' money What's the point of having a Senate with a progressive Democrat majority, for which we work so hard in New York state, if we can not stop a man from transferring $ 3 billion of taxpayer money to the richest man in the state. Rep. Kim is referring to the Democratic Party's victory in New York State in last week's election that allowed him to take control of the Senate. for the third time in the last 50 years. Kim is optimistic and believes that, between the new Senate composition and the State Assembly, of which he is a party and which is largely controlled by the Democrats, generous subsidies can be rescinded.

Time magazine calculated that Jeff Bezos, chief executive of Amazon, takes just nine seconds to earn $ 28,000, which the average Amazon worker earns in a year. Greg LeRoy, of the business advocacy organization and the government's responsibility for the economic development of working families, "Good Jobs First," has been monitoring for a long time what he calls "persistent megatransaction." "As the dating New York and Virginia did for Amazon's HQ2 headquarters.In an interview for Democracy Now !, LeRoy explained," This is a new example of Amazon getting paid for doing what it would have done for any way. I wanted to be in the financial capital of the world, in the country and in the political capital of the country, so there is no surprise in the chosen place. Once again, we are heavily subsidizing a company to do what I wanted to do anyway. "

Mayor Bill de Blasio welcomed Amazon's decision to locate the headquarters in Long Island City, Queens: "Here we will have an opportunity for tens of thousands of ordinary New Yorkers, children attending our public schools, young people attending our community colleges and universities. four years ". Prior to these sayings, Greg LeRoy replied: "We know that four out of five of the new workers in a project like this will not be current residents of New York or Arlington. [Virginia]. They will be people who move to the outside area. And that means there is a great expansion, that many schools need to be expanded and that infrastructure and public services are built. " All this is paid by taxpayers, not by Amazon.

LeRoy also said, "Most of the profits, which include all the profits of a few years, come from its cloud computing services, from Amazon's Internet services, and are the largest online services computer company in the world. market is about 40 percent. And among its most profitable customers in this space are the Pentagon, CIA and other US federal agencies. Amazon is aggressively pushing for more control over federal acquisition lines and state and local acquisition lines. People do not realize that the location of HQ2's headquarters in Crystal City, Virginia, is very close, literally a few feet away, from the Pentagon. "

"Amazon does not just want to dominate the market, it wants to become the market," says the headline of an article in the weekly The Nation by Stacy Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Sufficiency. In an interview for Democracy Now !, Mitchell said, "Currently, Amazon is capturing one out of every two dollars that Americans spend online." Also, eliminate small businesses. "We are losing about two retail jobs for every job generated in an Amazon warehouse. But I think that instead of considering Amazon as the dominant player in those markets, the way to understand what that company really means is that Amazon seeks control of the essential infrastructure that other companies need to use to reach the market. With its online platform, more than half of all Internet product searches now begin on Amazon's website. a company that produces or sells retail, if you want to reach out to consumers, you should increasingly rely on sales on the Amazon platform, and that means Amazon now controls these businesses. "

At first, Jeff Bezos had called his company "Cadabra," as in "abracadabra." However, according to legend, his lawyer told him that it sounded a lot like "corpse." It remains to be seen whether this new Amazon headquarters will spark a high-tech magical era in Queens, or eliminate small businesses, toss rents high, and leave nothing but the corpse of this neighborhood. working class.

More by Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan

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