Back to top Jump to featured resources

Featured from Independent Business

Photo: Amazon.
Featured Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Independent Business | Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 25, 2017

Amazon Is Trying to Control the Underlying Infrastructure of Our Economy

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/amazon-is-trying-to-control-the-underlying-infrastructure-of-our-economy/

Companies that want to reach the market increasingly have no choice but to ride Amazon’s rails.

This article was first published in VICE’s Motherboard.

We often talk about Amazon as though it were a retailer. It’s an understandable mistake. After all, Amazon sells more clothing, electronics, toys, and books than any other company. Last year, Amazon captured nearly $1 of every $2 Americans spent online. As recently as 2015, most people looking to buy something online started at a search engine. Today, a majority go straight to Amazon.

But to describe Amazon as a retailer is to misunderstand what the company actually is, and to miss the depth of the threat that it poses to our liberty and the very idea of an open, competitive market.

It’s not just that Amazon does many things besides sell stuff—that it manufactures thousands of products, from dress shirts to baby wipes, produces hit movies and television shows, delivers restaurant orders, offers loans, and may soon dispense prescription drugs. Jeff Bezos is after something so much bigger than any of this. His vision is for Amazon to control the underlying infrastructure of the economy. Amazon’s website is already the dominant platform for digital commerce. Its Web Services division controls 44 percent of the world’s cloud computing capacity and is relied on by everyone from Netflix to the Central Intelligence Agency. And the company has recently built out a vast network of distribution infrastructure to handle package delivery for itself and others.

Companies that want to reach the market increasingly have no choice but to ride Amazon’s rails. With Prime and digital assistant Alexa, from GE appliances to Ford cars, Bezos has lured a majority of households into making Amazon the default provider of everything they order online. Most Prime members no longer comparison shop. This has forced competitors of all sizes—from major brands like Levi’s and KitchenAid to small-scale producers, e-commerce innovators, and independent brick-and-mortar stores—to abandon the idea of reaching consumers directly. Instead, they have to rely on Amazon’s platform to sell their goods.

Amazon exploits this dependence to dictate terms and prices to suppliers, and it uses the data it gathers from companies selling on its platform to weaken them as competitors. A company that designs a popular product and builds a market for it on Amazon’s site can suddenly find that Amazon has introduced a nearly identical version and given it top billing in search results. One study found that, after a retailer becomes a seller on Amazon, it’s only a matter of weeks before Amazon brings the merchant’s most popular items into its own inventory.

Being both a direct retailer and a platform for other sellers gives Amazon novel weapons for shaking down suppliers. …

Continue reading:  Read the full article in Motherboard.

Related: Statement: Regulators Should Block Amazon’s Acquisition of Whole Foods

Photo: President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Featured Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Independent Business | Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 20, 2017

The Rise and Fall of the Word ‘Monopoly’ in American Life

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/the-rise-and-fall-of-the-word-monopoly-in-american-life/

If “monopoly” sounds like a word from another era, that’s because, until recently, it was. The term was reliably used through the middle of the 20th century in newspaper headlines and State of the Union addresses alike, but starting in the 1970s, it began to retreat from public consciousness. The story of why carries lessons for how an economic policy’s effectiveness can be its own undoing — and about how people are thinking about corporate power today. Because monopoly is back.

In this piece for The Atlantic, ILSR’s Stacy Mitchell looks at the history of the anti-monopoly movement in the U.S., and how today, as economic concentration soars, monopoly could again be just the word we need. Continue reading

Monopoly Report: Cover Image
Featured Article filed under Independent Business | Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Jun 12, 2017

ILSR Report on “Monopoly Power and the Decline Small Business” Receives Award for Antitrust Scholarship

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/ilsr-report-on-monopoly-power-and-the-decline-small-business-receives-award-for-antitrust-scholarship/

A report published by ILSR is recognized as “Best Antitrust and Small Business Article” as part of the annual Jerry S. Cohen Award for Antitrust Scholarship. Continue reading

Featured Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Independent Business | Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Jun 16, 2017

Press Release: Regulators Should Block Amazon’s Acquisition of Whole Foods

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/press-release-amazon-whole-foods/

The Deal Would Lessen Competition and Allow Amazon to Expand Its Dominance of Online Commerce FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday June 16, 2017 Contact: Nick Stumo-Langer, stumolanger@ilsr.org, 612-844-1330 In response to Amazon’s announced acquisition of Whole Foods, Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) and co-author of Amazon’s Stranglehold, made the following statement: “Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods… Continue reading

Featured Article, Resource filed under Broadband, Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States, Independent Business | Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Jun 1, 2017

The Monopolist’s Playbook: Strategies To Retain Overwhelming Economic Power – Episode 21 of the Building Local Power Podcast

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/monopolists-playbook-episode-21-of-the-building-local-power-podcast/

This week in Building Local Power, we’re discussing how concentrated economic power responds to communities that are supporting their own local economies. Guest host Nick Stumo-Langer discusses how these corporations fight against local communities with a number of ILSR’s experts. He speaks with Stacy Mitchell, John Farrell, Christopher Mitchell, and Lisa Gonzalez in order to get… Continue reading