NOTED: Amazon Must Be Stopped

The lead article from the New Republic today, by Franklin Foer, is getting a lot of traction online today, and no wonder:

Growing profit margins depend, therefore, on continually getting a better deal from suppliers. At Walmart, this tactic is enshrined in policy. The company has insisted that suppliers of basic consumer goods annually reduce their prices by about 5 percent, according to Charles Fishman’s book, The Walmart Effect.

It’s hard to overstate how badly these price demands injure the possibility for robust competition. But when Amazon engages in the same behavior, it acquires a darker tint. Where Walmart is essentially a large-scale, cut-rate version of the old department store and grocer, Amazon doesn’t confine its ambitions to any existing template. Without the constraints of brick and mortar, it considers nothing too remote from its core business, so it has grown to sell server space to the CIA, produce original televisions shows about bumbling congressmen, and engineer its own line of mobile phones.

And as it amasses economic power, it also acquires greater influence in the cultural and intellectual life of the nation.
— Franklin Foer, "Amazon Must Be Stopped, The New Republic