Seattle Post-Intelligencer – November 30, 2016
by Daniel Demay
Though it’s hardly a secret that Amazon.com has become a major force in online retail, a new report found impacts of the company’s growth that go far beyond its “stranglehold” on the market.
The report, released by the Institute for Local Self Reliance (ILSR) — a nonprofit that promotes equitable and sustainable local economies — took a dim view of Amazon’s methods of doing business, arguing the company’s 46 percent share of the online retail market in the U.S. is not only stifling competition and displacing retail jobs, but also weakening community bonds.
“Amazon represents nothing less than a new wave of economic disruption,” said Stacy Mitchell, co-director of ILSR and one of the authors of the report, during a press call Tuesday morning. “We argue that Amazon represents a novel and dangerous threat to competition.”
But Amazon’s increasingly vertical integration — combining businesses like cloud computing, shipping, manufacturing and even generating its own electricity — is going past just making it hard to compete, the report argues; Amazon has a growing share of control over even accessing the market.
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment on the report.