The rant against Amazon and the rant for Amazon

Wow! It’s unbelievable how hard you are working to deny that monopsony and monopoly type market concentration is causing all all these issues. Do you think it’s easy to compete with Amazon? Think about all the industries amazon just thought about entering and what that did to the share price of incumbents. Do you think Amazon doesn’t use its market clout and brand name to pay people less? Don’t the use the same to extract incentives from politicians? Corporate profits are at record highs as a percent of the economy, how is that maintained? What is your motivation for closing your eyes and denying consolidation? It doesn’t seem that you are being logical.

That is from a Steven Wolf, from the comments.  You might levy some justified complaints about Amazon, but this passage packs a remarkable number of fallacies into a very small space.

First, monopsony and monopoly tend to have contrasting or opposite effects.  To the extent Amazon is a monopsony, that leads to higher output and lower prices.

Second, if Amazon is knocking out incumbents that may very well be good for consumers.  Consumers want to see companies that are hard for others to compete with.  Otherwise, they are just getting more of the same.

Third, if you consider markets product line by product line, there are very few sectors where Amazon would appear to have much market power, or a very large share of the overall market for that good or service.

Fourth, Amazon is relatively strong in the book market.  Yet if a book is $28 in a regular store, you probably can buy it for $17 on Amazon, or for cheaper yet used, through Amazon.

Fifth, Amazon takes market share from many incumbents (nationwide) but it does not in general “knock out” the labor market infrastructure in most regions.  That means Amazon hire labor by paying it more or otherwise offering better working conditions, however much you might wish to complain about them.

Sixth, if you adjust for the nature of intangible capital, and the difference between economic and accounting profit, it is not clear corporate profits have been so remarkably high as of late.

Seventh, if Amazon “extracts” lower taxes and an improved Metro system from the DC area, in return for coming here, that is a net Pareto improvement or in any case at least not obviously objectionable.

Eighth, I did not see the word “ecosystem” in that comment, but Amazon has done a good deal to improve logistics and also cloud computing, to the benefit of many other producers and ultimately consumers.  Book authors will just have to live with the new world Amazon has created for them.

And then there is Rana Foroohar:

“If Amazon can see your bank data and assets, [what is to stop them from] selling you a loan at the maximum price they know you are able to pay?” Professor Omarova asks.

How about the fact that you are able to borrow the money somewhere else?

Addendum: A more interesting criticism of Amazon, which you hardly ever hear, is the notion that they are sufficiently dominant in cloud computing that a collapse/sabotage of their presence in that market could be a national security issue.  Still, it is not clear what other arrangement could be safer.

Comments

As a book author and book reader/buyer I'm very happy to be living in Amazon's world.

I thoroughly enjoy the vast amounts of cuckold literature on Amazon. Unfortunately its not a world I'm unfamiliar with.

We need a Marginal Revolution University video about monopoly vs monopsony with online retail as the case study ...

Jan-Michael Peters and his team at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) found that the structure of chromosomes is supported by a kind of molecular skeleton, made of cohesin.

Warsaw breakage syndrome~!

'Consumers want to see companies that are hard for others to compete with.'

Consumers are not customers. When it comes to customers wanting a variety of settings and cuisines, they are uninterested in just a single setting and cuisine becoming hard to compete against.

'Otherwise, they are just getting more of the same.'

Exactly the opposite in the example of above, but what would a typical economist know about how customers enjoy a market with a variety of settings and cuisines to spend their money on?

An online retailer ain't a restaurant. The end.

An online retailer is also not a well visited bookstore that attracts the sort of foot traffic that a number of restaurants rely on.

Of course, Amazon is impacting more than just book stores, including a variety of the type of retailers that attract the sort of foot traffic that a number of restaurants rely on.

And the cited text is a general observation from Prof. Cowen, not specifically about Amazon.

> they are uninterested in just a single setting and cuisine becoming hard to compete against.

Tens of thousands of small businesses sell through Amazon. If you're unapologetically liberal, Amazon is not so different from an actually well-run healthcare exchange. And if you're unapologetically libertarian, Amazon is what actual innovation that lowers prices.

Any way you cut it, I, the customer, wins with Amazon.
By the way, if you don't like it, have you tried not using it, and paying more elsewhere? It must surprise you to know that you can, in fact, buy almost anything on Amazon off Amazon as well.

Cheers

'have you tried not using it, and paying more elsewhere'

Absolutely - I value being able to deal with knowledgeable people who can be relied on to provide something beyond a delivery tracking number.

'It must surprise you to know that you can, in fact, buy almost anything on Amazon off Amazon as well'

No surprise in the least. What may surprise you, possibly because so much less is actually manufactured in the U.S. or UK, is how many high quality goods cannot be ordered through Amazon. For example, the 12v-240v inverter I use is not available on Amazon - having just checked to see if that was the case, not having bothered to check Amazon when I first bought it.

Reliability and quality come with a price - one that Amazon can never hope to match.

Does Point Four actually matter, given the respective states of the US book publishing industry and the absence of literary culture in the US today?

As to the former: what is the size of market share for print publishers of books these days (let's leave print periodical and newspapers out) compared to all other media outlets--compared to ubiquitous video, music, sports/gaming content, compared to internet and cellphone connectivity time?

That Amazon is chief procurement officer for American book buyers surely does nothing to enhance the quality of literary dross that American publishers throw at them, American publishers having consulted long and deep with American universities to produce stunning poor and eminently forgettable work, to see the regular marketing stories trotted out.

The US has no literary culture today: what our dysfunctional Educational Establishment has not accomplished with singlehanded ineptitude (QUICK--name the exact rates of adult literacy, sub-literacy, and illiteracy in the US today), our corrupt and corrupting Media Establishment has accomplished in living color. That any books (even some of quality) continue to get published and distributed in the US ranks as one underappreciated marvel of this 21st century.

"To the extent Amazon is a monopsony, that leads to higher output and lower prices."

Eh? What model of monopsony is Tyler using? The classic model is that the monopsonist artificially reduces their demand for a factor of production, thereby reducing the price of that factor as well as quantity supplied. The standard scenario is an employer reducing wages and the quantity of workers.

Fewer workers means less output.

As always, it depends on how you define the market. If it's product line by product line, sure, Amazon is not really close to a monopoly on much of anything. But if you define "online retail" as a market, Amazon is a titan. Amazon has dominated an entire medium of commerce. Whether or how that should be treated as the market of analysis depends on the question you are trying to answer.

For what question would Amazon be a monopoly?

Online retail, clearly. The barriers to entry are many: Amazon wins out on selection, shipping cost, shipping speed, and without question on name recognition. A competitor would have difficulty distinguishing itself on any of the first three, and the last would is insurmountable in the near future. This gives Amazon monopolistic price setting power for online retail. If there is a product that you have decided you want to buy online, Amazon is where you go to get it.

“If Amazon can see your bank data and assets, [what is to stop them from] selling you a loan at the maximum price they know you are able to pay?” Professor Omarova asks.

The most likely outcome is that Amazon offers marginal lending and saving to their prime customers. Their prime customers are prequalified and will get lower interest charges. Jeff has strategery and statergery is telling him prime customers can have a pure cash ;layer with automated matching between deposits and loans, a robot S&L exchange leaving no banking profits, just better logistics. Prime customer who do most of their purchases via Amazon will get deposits rates determined by the collection of fellow prime customers. He has locked the bankers completely out.

I thought the Amazon Lending program was business loans for vendors. Is there more to it than that?

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/14/amazon-and-bank-of-america-partner-for-lending-program-but-growth-has-stalled.html

Perhaps more importantly, basically no one in the world will give you a significant loan without looking at your bank data and assets!

If Amazon were forced to disgorge AWS, that would reduce the company’s overall power. Does it have enough power already?

I too found this comment incoherent and uninformed. But, like the anti-GMO, anti-Vaac, anti-frac and other such anti-science/logic agitators, while I believe them misinformed as to their immediate concerns, I do think they serve a useful societal purpose in that they make people think about the long tail risks of changes in technology and society. So while I can't see any reason for people to be concerned about Amazon being so good at internet marketing and most (all) of the people opposing them are loons and crackpots or are wanting to protect their current rents, I can't be 100% sure I am right. So a bit of mis-informed opposition could keep society alert.

'So a bit of mis-informed opposition could keep society alert.'

But a bit of mis-informed support can keep society lulled.

The classic example of this is how the concerns of anti-nuclear advocates were broadly dismissed. Many of the dismissals were fine of course, but one of the more interesting ones starting with the German Greens was actually cogent even before Chernobyl - after a reactor's containment vessel has been breached following a melt down, how do you handle the clean-up? (Allowing that the Soviet answer does work if you don't care about the value of individual human life.)

Anyone paying attention to what is going on at Fukushima (and fascinating just how completely that has fallen out of any notice at all) sees precisely just how reality based this engineering objection was. After all, it took six years to finally get an image of what the breached Unit 3 reactor looks like, and as noted here, the current status can be described this way - 'The IAEA notes the ongoing progress in the investigation of damaged fuel and fuel debris inside the PCVs and that the information gained from the investigation will help with planning the removal of fuel and retrieval of fuel debris.' https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/focus/fukushima/status-update

Notice that sequence - progress in investigating the actual conditions, helping to plan further steps. Those further steps are still undefined, because progress is still required in actually knowing that the conditions are.

It turns out that the people pointing out that the sort of damage that would occur in an event like Fukushima's would be beyond our ability to deal with, mainly because the immediate environment resulting from such an event completely outstripped our technology to handle it, were correct in their basic engineering appraisal of such an event's aftermath. Of course, the major dismissal of that particular concern from the early 80s was that a reactor having a meltdown was an utterly unrealistic concern. Which changed to a dismissal of flawed Soviet reactor design. Which has now changed to a dismissal of older reactors being built on sea coasts in areas where high water could impact their operation.

"Which has now changed to a dismissal of older reactors being built on sea coasts in areas where high water could impact their operation."

Fukushima was a one off design error not of the reactor itself but the placement of the back up power supply. The clean up takes time but nobody has died due to radiation and nobody will in the future.

'but the placement of the back up power supply'

That current nuclear reactor designs in operation actually require a back up power supply can be already considered a fundamental design error. Compared to how a thorium reactor can be designed to avoid that particular design flaw.

'but nobody has died due to radiation and nobody will in the future'

You are aware that the Japanese government does not agree with your conclusion, right? 'Japan has announced for the first time that a worker at the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant died after suffering radiation exposure.

The man, who was in his 50s, died from lung cancer that was diagnosed in 2016.

Japan's government had previously agreed that radiation caused illness in four workers but this is the first acknowledged death.' https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-45423575

The Japanese government has ridiculous work compensation laws in this area. The man who died of lung cancer was 56. His exposure would have increased his odds of getting cancer sometime in his life by 1% yet one doesn't get that until 25 or 30 years after enough radiation exposure. In that workers case, that would mean the lung cancer would have started just one to three years later and that doesn't happen. Lung cancer isn't even a type that is caused by radiation exposure.

(Thyroid cancer appeared in children that drank highly contaminated milk near Chernobyl and those cases appeared five years later - the exception to the 25 to 30 year period.)

'The Japanese government has ridiculous work compensation laws in this area.'

The man is still dead, and according to the Japanese government, the reason is radiation. You are welcome to dispute that conclusion as you wish, of course, but it is no longer possible to make an unchallenged claim that radiation killed nobody in terms of Fukushima.

Personally, I think the entire radiation aspect nuclear power is completely overblown, making it much easier to completely underplay the fact that uranium is a heavy metal which is actually not desirable to absorb.

Even if his death was because of radiation, how many people did mining coal or drilling for oil? An energy-intensive economy is going to result in some worker deaths.

sorry
=/=did =die
This board needs an edit function. I could program it in ten minutes.

"The man is still dead, and according to the Japanese government, the reason is radiation. You are welcome to dispute that conclusion as you wish, of course, but it is no longer possible to make an unchallenged claim that radiation killed nobody in terms of Fukushima."

Right. The Japanese government and you understand more about the effects of radiation better than thousands of health physicists. Makes sense.

I agree with the engineering criticism

But I would still say "so what?". Short of a Chernobyl style breach you just seal the whole glowing mess off and leave it for posterity to clear up. Long-term loss of a few dozen acres of real estate isn't a problem if the incidents are infrequent. So I don't find the criticism of engineering response capabilities a strong objection to Nuclear power per se.

Future Nihon generations genuflect to you for your care & responsibility of their environment.

Kind of like driving your Cadillac convertible around until the ashtrays are full.

Awesome analogy, carlospln!

Although a supporter of nuclear energy as the medium-term option for energy, I agree with this. The feeling before Fukushima was that this situation was so unlikely that we could forget about it.

However, we do that all the time and it's a matter of compromise. When we go into a plane, or into a car. But those cases don't imply a big mess as the one in fukushima. anyway, I think the price payed is not really big if we consider the amount of energy generated by nuclear energy compared with the accidents and consequences of those accidents.

In this case, do we want reliable energy that will generate waste that we can "handle" until is not dangerous, or do we want to avoid black swam scenarios and keep using fossil fuels and unreliable (due to generation process itself) renewable energy?

It seems to me, that we didn't make a decision at all.

Agreed; the cost of accidents is slight when judged against aggregate KWh generated. The logical response to nuclear accidents is to say "we simply accept them". We have good data on the background rate, and the rate is going down as it always does with mature technologies

Did we decide or not? A bunch of people on the left convinced themselves that nuclear power was not cost competitive and of course we have the engineering capacity to switch over to green energy in a short time frame as long as we set hard carbon emission requirements. Of course this was wishful thinking, but it is plenty easy to blame the many legitimately bad actors in the system that the climate activists did not get the outcome they desired.

For me, the energy costs in Germany are a pretty clear indicator that we need nuclear if we want to get really serious about reducing carbon emissions. I guess if you are okay to wait 30 more years eventually solar and energy capture technology will progress enough that it can start to absorb significant fractions of baseline power. It may also cost 2x as much.

Sorry PA, you are right I forgot the anti-nuke loons in my list.

I would suggest that when there are some doubts, go with the choice of respecting property, e.g.: do not steal value from the guy that built the business and innovated.

I am actually for the same approach even where there appears to be little doubt, but I realize it is a difficult position to sell to those taught with the public curriculum about the myths of the Sherman Acts, not to mention the wisdom and incorruptibility of the statist minions.

For those willing to consider a different way of looking at Amazon from the perspective of anti-trust, here is the link to Lina Khan's article: https://www.yalelawjournal.org/note/amazons-antitrust-paradox For those who don't have the time, here is a good summary from the NYT: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/07/technology/monopoly-antitrust-lina-khan-amazon.html

"A more interesting criticism of Amazon, which you hardly ever hear, is the notion that they are sufficiently dominant in cloud computing that a collapse/sabotage of their presence in that market could be a national security issue."

It is rarely mentioned because there is no national security threat there.

Amazon runs a whole separated cloud infrastructure just for the government.

He's a dullard.

TMC, can you be any more vague?

"“If Amazon can see your bank data and assets, [what is to stop them from] selling you a loan at the maximum price they know you are able to pay?” Professor Omarova asks."

What, you mean like universities do?

At least universities are now forbidden from actively colluding in their financial aid offers to prospective students:

https://www.nytimes.com/1991/05/23/us/ivy-universities-deny-price-fixing-but-agree-to-avoid-it-in-the-future.html

"Forbidden"

Fifth, Amazon takes market share from many incumbents (nationwide) but it does not in general “knock out” the labor market infrastructure in most regions.

And Amazon never will become a labor monopsonist anywhere. Why not? Because there's no point in putting fulfillment centers in isolated areas where they might dominate employment -- instead, they go near population centers where they can play the intended role of supporting fast delivery to large numbers of customers.

No issues with the substance of TC's post, but "net Pareto improvement" is a curious phrase.

TL;DR but I got just far enough to see that you consider Amazon a reasonably "successful" company. Don't "economically successful" companies make, more or less consistently, something called "profit"?

OK, I waded through your post. I agree with most of it - except as noted your apparent assumption that Amazon is some sort of rational economic role model - it certainly is a force, but for good or bad is the question. Jury is out, undeniably is has gone further than Walmart in squeezing the profits out of the supply chain, but is there too much (or too little, actually) of a good thing?

It amazes me when people over the age of 40 complain about Amazon (or Walmart, for that matter). It makes you wonder what planet they lived on before these companies existed.

My guess is that they complain about Amazon while they dutifully make monthly payments for their Apple products.

"It amazes me when people over the age of 40 complain about Amazon (or Walmart, for that matter)."

+1, Agreed. I remember the days before our town has a Walmart. There was a Sears and a K-Mart. Sears was much higher in costs and K-Mart was a dysfunctional organization that never in years of operation ever managed to have all of their store lights working correctly. Nor could they manage to stock their shelves to any degree of success.

Walmart vastly improved the medium to low end retail space for the consumer. Amazon has one upped that, with the ability to avoid 3 out of 4 weekend trips to Walmart.

They lived on the planet where first A&P, then Sears were accused of threatening to swallow all retail, before Walmart and then Amazon.

Retail is amazingly difficult to monopolize. One of the few things more difficult is the restaurant industry, I guess.

You shouldn't be amazed with people complaining about a big, successful company. Certain people naturally assume that it isn't possible to provide that much value to the world, so anyone who has that much profit must be stealing it. Plus, Amazon has the temerity to actually employ people near the bottom of the income scale while being really successful. This is just something a certain set of people cannot get their minds around.

I, for one, am happy to support Amazon if it means Bezos continues his investments in Blue Origin. It seems one of the better chances we have for ending stagnation and enabling further growth.

http://www.businessinsider.com/jeff-bezos-interview-axel-springer-ceo-amazon-trump-blue-origin-family-regulation-washington-post-2018-4

Apologies for the long excerpt:

[Bezos] First of all, of course, I'm interested in space, because I'm passionate about it. I've been studying it and thinking about it since I was a 5-year-old boy. But that is not why I'm pursuing this work. I'm pursuing this work, because I believe if we don't we will eventually end up with a civilization of stasis, which I find very demoralizing. I don't want my great-grandchildren's great-grandchildren to live in a civilization of stasis. We all enjoy a dynamic civilization of growth and change. Let's think about what powers that. We are not really energy-constrained.

Let me give you just a couple of numbers. If you take your body, your metabolic rate as a human, it's just an animal. You eat food, that's your metabolism. You burn about 100 watts. Your power, your body, is the same as a 100-watt lightbulb. We're incredibly efficient. Your brain is about 60 watts of that. Amazing. But if you extrapolate in developed countries where we use a lot of energy, on average in developed countries our civilizational metabolic rate is 11 000 watts. So, in a natural state, where we're animals, we're only using 100 watts. In our actual developed-world state, we're using 11,000 watts. And it's growing. For a century or more, it's been compounding at a few percent a year, our energy usage as a civilization.

Now if you take baseline energy usage globally across the whole world and compound it at just a few percent a year for just a few hundred years, you have to cover the entire surface of the Earth in solar cells. That's the real energy crisis. And it's happening soon. And by soon, I mean within just a few 100 years. We don't actually have that much time. So what can you do? Well, you can have a life of stasis, where you cap how much energy we get to use. You have to work only on efficiency. By the way, we've always been working on energy efficiency, and still we grow our energy usage. It's not like we have been squandering energy. We have been getting better at using it with every passing decade. So, stasis would be very bad, I think.

Now take the scenario, where you move out into the solar system. The solar system can easily support a trillion humans. And if we had a trillion humans, we would have a thousand Einsteins and a thousand Mozarts and unlimited, for all practical purposes, resources and solar power unlimited for all practical purposes. That's the world that I want my great-grandchildren's great-grandchildren to live in.

By the way, I believe that in that timeframe we will move all heavy industry off of Earth and Earth will be zoned residential and light industry. It will basically be a very beautiful planet. We have sent robotic probes to every planet in this solar system now and believe me this is the best one.

+1, a good optimistic post

"Now if you take baseline energy usage globally across the whole world and compound it at just a few percent a year for just a few hundred years, you have to cover the entire surface of the Earth in solar cells.That's the real energy crisis. And it's happening soon. And by soon, I mean within just a few 100 years "

You wouldn't have to cover the Earth with 2018 power solar cells in 2028.

I love the eternal optimism about solar power.

As far back as 1970, it's always been just ten years away!

"You wouldn't have to cover the Earth with 2018 power solar cells in 2028."

That's completely irrelevant over a centuries long time frame. The Sun only hits the Earth with approximately 1 kW per square meter. That's your theoretical maximum power output for a solar cell. Granted, you can do worse than that (and Thermodynamics indicates you will!), but you can't get higher than 100% efficiency.

Bezos is so full of shit on this and he has a physics degree from Princeton. Bezos somehow knows the Earth's future and energy supplies in 2518? Okay.

It's straight from here, from a real physics professor:

https://dothemath.ucsd.edu/2011/07/galactic-scale-energy/

Our current prosperity rests atop 400 years of remarkably consistent increases in energy utilization. Either growth stops in a few hundred years, or growth moves increasingly off-planet. Though he differs from Bezos in that he ultimately concludes that stasis, a "steady-state" economy, is the only solution, as space is "too difficult." I prefer Bezos' optimism. It is hard to see how stasis does not lead to terrible resource wars, the outlines of which are already being fought. It's not like energy resources are happily and equitably shared around the planet today. Why would that change in the future?

I think the best answer is yes to both.

Meaning, yes keep exploring how we might get resources especially energy from space.

But also beware of simple extrapolations. When a resource such as energy becomes more scarce, economies will react by substituting away from it. We'll stop driving cars that get 12 mpg and switch to Hondas, hybrids, mass transit, bicycles, and virtual meetings. Just because we're currently using 11K watts now doesn't mean that the civilizations of the future will have to use 11K, let alone 11K plus compounded growth of energy usage.

The issue as a cloud provider is a real one: Some might remember what happened when Amazon S3, their most popular storage service, went down in a single US region for hours, and that was just human error and procedural gaps. A hostile, well planned attack that hit all of their US regions would be troubling.

The good part is that, in practice, Amazon's weakness at managing workers and products in the cloud space is letting competitors catch up. There's plenty of cloud products where they lag behind, and many organizations don't move away just because of the one time opportunity costs of dedicating dozens, if not hundreds of developers for months to such a migration.

I expect that the market will be far better balanced in the not too far future. A recession, followed by a new wave of startups that get to decide where they will be hosted from scratch, would not be kind to Amazon.

"A hostile, well planned attack that hit all of their US regions would be troubling."

Can you give a little detail to this fantasy attack scenario?

Start here:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/27/us/politics/russian-hackers-electric-grid-elections-.html
Then here:
https://www.zdnet.com/article/dreamhost-web-host-of-controversial-sites-hit-by-ddos-attack/

The idea of malicious private or state actors launching a cyber attack on web infrastructure systems is very real.

You can't be serious.

Isn’t the concern about Amazon that they’re gradually creating a monopoly that they will exploit *later*. That is the concern seems to be that Amazon will run the competition out of business and jack up prices once they’re gone. Bezos has made statements to this effect, and the market seems to buy some version given amazons P/E ratio.

Isn't the interesting question here really "Just what is Amazon?"

When people start talking about monopoly/monopsony it seems the presumption is that the entity is operating within an assumed market setting. In many ways Amazon is the market setting supporting multiple markets and market participants.

How well the concepts and tools in analyzing a monopoly or monopsony within a market compared to analysis of a monopoly market itself.

In the later case isn't the comparison really between something like Amazon and any country -- maybe think protectionist state?

Amazon sells books.

Other brick and mortars and online retailers sell books.

Amazon’s sells streaming content...

Other providers sell streaming content...

Amazon’s sells music...

Other retailers sell music...

Amazon’s sells retail consumer goods...

Other brick and mortar and online retailers sell mostly the same goods.

Amazon is going to sell groceries.

Other retailers and online stores sell groceries.

So given all of this it’s hard to think of amazon as THE MARKET itself unless you are talking about streaming content that is specifically created by amazon studios...

"Book authors will just have to live with the new world Amazon has created for them."

I would add that there are some upsides to this world; many books that would not otherwise have been published (including mine!) are now available: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/sep/15/french-bookshops-revolt-after-prize-selects-novel-self-published-on-amazon

EXCELLENT COMMENT. Nonsense is Nonsense no matter how well written and needs to be called out for what it is.

“If Amazon can see your bank data and assets, [what is to stop them from] selling you a loan at the maximum price they know you are able to pay?”

Who do they think they are, American colleges? You fill out a FAFSA and they tell you how much they'll charge you. Though they euphemize it as how much they'll take off the list price.

"Addendum: A more interesting criticism of Amazon, which you hardly ever hear, is the notion that they are sufficiently dominant in cloud computing that a collapse/sabotage of their presence in that market could be a national security issue. Still, it is not clear what other arrangement could be safer."

Whoever never hears this criticism is utilizing the wrong news sources. My favorite podcast, http://www.noagendashow.com/ , mentions the terrible carnage if AWS were to disappear tomorrow on almost a monthly basis.

This podcast deconstructs the newsmedia, and how they are pretending to back up various assertions, but often the logic is sorely lacking.

Interesting. Can you defend this statement with a source or a deeper explanation?
"Fifth, Amazon takes market share from many incumbents (nationwide) but it does not in general “knock out” the labor market infrastructure in most regions. That means Amazon hire labor by paying it more or otherwise offering better working conditions, however much you might wish to complain about them."

I don't have any strong position on the question but it does seem like fairly weak sauce to point to monopoly/monopsony in other sectors and say, "We tend to see these effects of monopoly/monopsony." Amazon et al are a different animal than steel, oil, soybeans and I would say you generalize those case at own risk

I'm in agreement with TC against dumb regulations or rhetoric against something so net positive as Amazon but find his religious/neocon awakening disconcerting.
Something straight out of National Review or NYT "centrist-neocons" on the warnings that the slightest inconvenience to big business is an irreversible step down the road to serfdom – YET you see the occasional diatribes (e.g. marijuana) about how mass-market commercialism creates an empty degenerate culture.
And strangely enough, then he’s got to check the neocon block and add some non-sequitur concern about national security and possible harm to one element of the MIC.
How does one rectify these beliefs? Don’t give me this “straussian” hand waive bs...

This post requires a lot of unpacking but its "off the cuff" style seems to reveal quite a bit about the underlying prejudices and assumptions of market fundamentalism. Mr Wolf's comments are self-evident in practice but unfortunately do not work in theory.

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