Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

The Amazon free-for-all reveals the selfish myopia of the investor class.  §

The educated class is busy bemoaning the way in which Amazon is taking over the economy and destroying retail and cutting through competitive markets like a buzzsaw and a bunch of other phrases that indicate general panic about The State of Things[TM].

They’re not speaking hyperbolically—Amazon is wildly successful and is growing apace. It is putting anyone and everyone else out of business and gobbling up ever-larger chunks of the spending landscape. Woe is us! Amazon is a ravenous monster!

They’re also tut-tutting about the current shitshow that involves dozens and dozens of localities basically committing tax base seppuku to try to get Amazon to come to their neighborhoods. Three billion in offers here, seven billion in offers there, money that they can’t afford in hopes that Amazon will come and bring jobs. The well-off talkers point out that this money will go toward helping an already gigantic behemoth of the worldwide economy to grow and profit even more, rather than being used to invest in cities and neighborhoods in any badly-needed number of ways. Tut. Very tut. And so on.

Thing is, this very same class, many of them in the upper echelons of the productive economy, is busy investing in companies that are quarterly-bottom-line focused and opting to live in areas that are the most financially advantageous for themselves in the meantime, all in the ruthless service of expanding their already exponentially-more-handsome-than-average retirement plans.

The thing that none of them bother to mention is that Amazon stands almost entirely alone in today’s economy as a company that refuses to offer lavish dividends, engage in stock buybacks, and so on, or even take profits and revel in them. Instead, Amazon does what the localities won’t, what the tut-tutting class won’t, and what the businesses that the tut-tutting class won’t: it turns around and invests heavily, almost to a fault, in its future.

Amazon rolls pretty much everything it earns right back into the business. It’s not as successful as it is because of some force of nature or dark quirk of fate. It’s in the position that it’s in because it can afford to invest in itself, and it does, which creates a virtuous circle in which this investment improves its position ever more, allowing via resulting profits for ever more investment.

And then everyone else in the pundit-and-policy class that’s already well off and generally exploiting the other 95 percent of the population for their creature comforts while running economies into the ground… complains about Amazon.

You people refusing to invest in your own communities or in companies that invest—whether you are well-off pundit or well-off policymaker—and then bemoaning either Amazon’s heady growth in countless column-inches or telling your citizens that it’s sad but this is how the game is played in a ruthless economy…

We can see your self-serving hypocrisy. Amazon isn’t the problem. Amazon should be the example, and it’s only as dominant as it is because instead of following that example, those privileged enough to be in positions to do something about it are busy serving themselves at the public trough.

So how about instead of doing something about Amazon, we do something about the way the rest of the economy is run, about your own selfish and greedy investment practices, and about how tax dollars are used when Amazon isn’t coming to town?