BY FELIX SIPRA
Amazon is a powerhouse of a company. In the past ten years it has transformed the landscape of the world in the way people shop, eat, and even make decisions. It began as an online shopping mall but has transformed into its own shipping industry and is constantly innovating the way people view the shopping experience. Its far reaching influence has made shopping easier for many, but has left small business distributors in the dust. This trend can either continue or cease, but it is ultimately the consumer’s decision to support their local American, and shop small. Consumers should take a step back, and realize the long term dangers of supporting a single corporation. If consumers begin to advocate for diverse shopping options, the people will have more control over prices, not the company.
Many consumers may go to one’s local shop but not actually buy anything, in the hopes that the same product will be cheaper online, where many distributors can be ranked by price. This has led to a market where the consumer interests are dangerously more important than the seller’s interests, leading to low profits for small businesses and manufacturers. Amazon however, has boomed in this new market. By being the central online market and with no real competition as large as Amazon, distributors buy into the company without having any other options. This trend ultimately hurts small businesses and limits innovations for smaller companies.
Now Amazon has influenced another, much larger field, city economies. In the latter half of 2017 Amazon announced they would be building a second headquarters building in North America, and over 238 cities vied for Amazon’s attention. These pleas to Amazon from these cities came in the forms of state trees, tax cuts, city name changes, and video campaigns. Now that the list of potential cities has been skimmed down to twenty by the company, the competition only got fiercer. Yes, it is common for cities and states to try and outperform their neighbors to bring in large businesses, but never in this fashion. When cities are dedicating their resources to bringing in a single company, the company’s influence should be questioned. Amazon has influence over shipping, technology, books, television, music, food, and just about every other field of industry one can think of. Its teeter towards becoming a monopoly is remarkable as it has not had to buy out an extensive number of other companies, it just drives them out of business or forces them to pay into their services. If Amazon continues with this model, it is no different than the terrible monopolies of the 20th century, which triggered a depression.
Amazon, and its users are at a crossroads; the question has arisen as to whether as a society people are okay with a company having this much power over one’s consumption of goods, or that there ought to be a limit the people as a collective state that a company has gotten too large. Both arguments have valid claims, Amazon has the opportunity to create an unthinkable amount of jobs and give the economy even more security. Its well known brand gives it stability and respect among investors all over the world. Diversification of the industry however, has arguably more benefits and more value to a longstanding economy, it allows smaller businesses to grow and prosper, allowing for competition, natural economic ebb and flow, and for better businesses to innovate and arise independently. The success of Amazon is an American Dream, but its success should never hinder the ability of small business to grow and innovate.