Free-market Capitalism Gone Wrong. Is Amazon to Blame?

By Casey Ward | United States

By definition, taxes are immoral. If someone consents to certain working conditions or wages then it is fair, although in our current market it is unethical and should be considered disparate treatment of the highest degree towards Amazon’s competitors. Amazon continues to get tax cuts, government contracts, and subsidized workers even as they rake in massive profits. In the meantime, their competition is still being coerced into paying higher taxes, since we all know what happens if you don’t pay up. At the same time, Amazon’s employees do not see any of the increased profits that come from these reductions in expenses.

Amazon gets major tax cuts, and they continually get offers for more tax incentives, such as the battle for their second headquarters. Maryland and New Jersey each offered $7,000,000,000+ in tax incentives just to host the new headquarters. This is only making Amazon the new financial sector of 2008, too big to fail.

 Amazon’s position in the data industry is the main factor to their enormity. They control an enormous percentage of the market, which also makes them nearly bulletproof. When criticized for using foreign banks to dodge taxes, they merely shrugged it off. Contributing to Amazon’s brute strength is the biggest consumer of their data services, the federal government.

The corporation already has a government contract for $600,000,000, and is in the running for a $10,000,000,000 cloud contract. They are also rolling out many other deals with the military, intelligence community, and even local police such as their new facial recognition program. Many of these could hurt the public. One of the common concerns is that police will take a turn towards China’s current surveillance tactics. Essentially, police could use said facial recognition and send tickets for every minor infraction, such as jaywalking and littering. In a larger scale, such surveillance could also lead to the prosecution of protesters, effectively diminishing the first amendment.

Poor working conditions are also blamed as the cause of almost 25% of Amazon’s employees being sick or injured. On top of that, employees get below average wages, leading to higher turnover rates, since the employees cannot afford to live on such poor pay. Government assistance for Amazon employees is now extraordinarily high, with Arizona having one in three employees enrolled. This is the same tactic Wal-Mart has been using for years to save money. They pay low wages, and those employees then get SNAP, since they’re now struggling financially. They then spend that money somewhere they get the most out of every dollar, like Wal-Mart and Amazon.

Amazon is simply using the legal route to reduce cost and increase profits. But they are not killing industry competition; cronyism replacing capitalism is the real murderer.

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