FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For media inquiries, please contact: Reggie Rucker, ILSR Communications Director
“One of the most important antitrust cases in U.S. history.” Stacy Mitchell Reacts to the FTC’s Amazon Lawsuit
WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 26, 2023) – Stacy Mitchell, co-director at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), made the following statement on the Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit against Amazon over its monopolization of e-commerce:
“Today’s action to break Amazon’s monopoly control over online commerce is great news for Americans. For too long Amazon has been allowed to maintain a stranglehold on the online market. It’s used its power to thwart competition, bleed small businesses dry, exploit workers, and take advantage of consumers. At the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, we’ve long warned of the threat Amazon’s monopoly poses. Today, we applaud the FTC and its dedicated and valiant staff for taking action to end Amazon’s monopolization. The filing of this lawsuit is a victory for freedom and self-governance; it marks a crucial rekindling of public authority to check unaccountable private power.
“This is one of the most important antitrust cases in U.S. history. Amazon’s market power originates online, but it wields that power along every Main Street in America. Countless companies, producing and selling everything from books to apparel, prescriptions to electronics, and so much more, must submit to Amazon’s bullying and extortion, or lose access to the online market.
“E-commerce should be a dynamic sector with numerous marketplaces vying to attract both sellers and shoppers. Yet it is utterly dominated by a single firm. This is not an accident of history. As the FTC’s lawsuit details, Amazon has employed a set of calculated and illegal strategies to block competition. At the heart of the case is Amazon’s exploitation of the independent businesses selling on its site. Amazon traps these sellers and preserves its market dominance by impeding sellers’ ability to grow their business on other sites. Amazon then steals sellers’ revenue: it now pockets 45 cents of every dollar they make in sales, up from 19 cents in 2014.
“Amazon’s monopolization has come at a steep cost. It’s squeezed brands and publishers, stunting their ability to develop new products. It’s fueled the closure of tens of thousands of independent retailers by denying them the ability to sell online at fair terms. Now Amazon is flexing its monopoly against consumers too, by raising prices and degrading its search results with paid listings, fraudulent products, and chaos.
“This historic lawsuit aims to free the online market from Amazon’s grip. If the FTC succeeds, it will open the way for new competitors, creating choices for consumers and businesses alike. Amazon will be compelled to strive and compete, ending its bad behavior and improving its shopping experience. But the stakes are even higher than this. No corporation has ever centralized this much power across so many crucial sectors. Left unchecked, Amazon’s power to dictate and control threatens the rule of law and our ability to maintain open, democratically governed markets.
“The filing of this lawsuit is a major milestone in our work. For more than a decade, ILSR has been raising the alarm about Amazon’s outsized power and its implications. Our team has produced ground-breaking analysis, including the first report to illuminate Amazon’s monopoly strategy; testified before Congress as part of its Big Tech investigation; and helped build coalitions and advocacy strategies to challenge Amazon’s power. Our work has been profiled by the New York Times and featured in numerous publications.
“Throughout this time, we have urged policymakers and antitrust enforcers to restructure Amazon by spinning off its major divisions into separate companies. Breaking up Amazon is key to repairing the online market and opening the way for competition. As this lawsuit shows, Amazon’s anticompetitive tactics largely hinge on leveraging the interplay between its retail division, third-party marketplace, and logistics operation. Separating them would eliminate Amazon’s ability to monopolize the market. We are encouraged that both the scope of this case and the FTC’s request for the court to consider structural remedies show that the agency intends to tackle Amazon’s monopoly power at its root.”
Stacy will take questions at a press call today at 1:00 p.m. ET, joined by several third-party sellers and small business owners.
- Latest report on seller fees: Amazon’s Monopoly Tollbooth in 2023
- Issue brief: How Amazon Exploits and Undermines Small Businesses, and Why Breaking It Up Would Revive American Entrepreneurship
- Deeper dive: Amazon’s Toll Road
And you can always follow Stacy Mitchell and ILSR on social media for continued commentary on this and other Antitrust news.
About the Institute for Local Self-Reliance
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) is a national nonprofit research and educational organization founded in 1974. ILSR has a vision of thriving, diverse, equitable communities. To reach this vision, we build local power to fight corporate control. We believe that democracy can only thrive when economic and political power is widely dispersed. Whether it’s fighting back against the outsize power of monopolies like Amazon or advocating to keep local renewable energy in the community that produced it, ILSR advocates for solutions that harness the power of citizens and communities.
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