Predator capitalist Amazon strikes again. Strengthened by Wall Street money, a ruthless vendor’s ignorance of anything of value beyond spreadsheets and our collective unwillingness to get off our increasingly fat asses to buy stuff or pay a cent more than we must, the firm recently challenged one of the world’s large publishing houses Hachette by basically barring their books from their site.
Anyone who has the guts to look at the real face of Amazon knows what’s behind this: Amazon wants more money from Hachette for offering their books on their site, even though most publishers cannot give more without jeopardizing their entire operations. But Amazon knows this, of course. It’s part of a strategy the company has been pursuing for years, and it’s ultimate goal is the annihilation of all the other publishers and complete control, or, in other words, a 100% monopoly on books.
Since Amazon, although it’s not able to make a profit with their low prices, enjoys an unlimited cashflow from Wall Street that no other publisher or book vendor can hope for, it’s in an unrivaled position. Amazon can go lower and lower until its competitors are on life support and eventually die, because it found a magic potion protecting it from the “natural market forces” neoliberal thinkers of the Wall Street creed seem to value so much. What does this make Amazon, then? What is a company that thrives because the money decides that losses don’t matter? But losses don’t matter only because it gets the money? The answer is simple: It’s a virus. An unnatural, malevolent force in the system gulping up all the fools (=honest companies who play by the “rules”).
What can stop Amazon? Only one of two things:
1) Legal action breaking up their monopoly by ending this despicable price war that makes everyone who loves books the loser. Yes, even the customer. Although he/she may not have to get of his/her ass anymore and save a few dollars on each book, the valued consumer will ultimately be the loser when Amazon controls the entire book market. The variety will die and the prices will increase again once Amazon has the ultimate power to dictate them. Point one is unlikely, but still more hopeful than point 2.
2) The customers decide that they are not the lazy, ignorant, cheap fools that Amazon assumes they are. The entire bet of Amazon rests on the image of panem et circenses, bread and games. Keep the mob for the moment happy and satisfied and the world is yours. Even though what you do to keep satisfied will ultimately hurt them, they will accept it, because they’re lazy and foolish and don’t care for their dignity. Sadly, it seems that Amazon is winning this bet. It probably doesn’t hurt that Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, buys up newspapers like the Washington Post as a powerful mouth piece.
But, ultimately, it’s fine. It doesn’t matter. If Amazon wins its bet, then this world no longer deserves the book. Electronic or printed.