Thursday, December 26, 2019

"How Amazon Gains Control & Domination" (AMZN; BDSM)

Among the egregious perversions of platform capitalism is the cross-subsidization of various enterprises under one corporate identity.
Amazon has taken that perversion and dressed it in assless chaps and similar couture.
And is trying to strap the gimp hood on as much of the economy as they can.

Hmmm looking at that, it's possible I took the author's "Control and Domination" the wrong way
From Wolf Richter at Wolf Street, Dec. 25: 

Amazon takes over the last mile and everything else.
Amazon just gave us an update on how rapidly its own delivery system is replacing UPS, the US Postal Service, FedEx, and other carriers in delivering packages from an Amazon fulfillment center to the door of Amazon’s customer.
The numbers show how big this system is already after practically no time of starting it up, how big the package volume is already, and how many drivers are already working in this system.
This has huge consequences for the US logistics business, the companies that slug it out in it, such as UPS and FedEx, and that keep raising their published rates despite the dynamics of the market, which is facing Amazon’s creation, the mushrooming companies that Amazon is building up to get around the established carriers. Its purpose is twofold:
  • One, bring down delivery costs.
  • And two, gain control.
Delivery costs have always been a primary issue in ecommerce. And gaining control became a primary issue for Amazon in the 2013 holiday season. The flood of Amazon orders was such that it overwhelmed UPS and FedEx, and packages were delivered after Christmas, which created a huge debacle for Amazon.

So, to gain control and bring down costs, it has to become the number 1 gorilla in the logistics business and surround itself by thousands of small logistics companies that it totally controls and that are eating the lunch of today’s giants, UPS and FedEx. And that’s what’s happening at an astounding speed.
Amazon didn’t invent ecommerce. But from day one, it has been pushing the envelope in every direction to make itself the dominant player in just about all related fields, some high-tech, some low-tech, from cloud computing to delivery, to bring down costs and gain control.

To do this, Amazon is helping create thousands of smaller companies. It’s enticing potential entrepreneurs with attractive entry deals. These companies have non-unionized drivers, and they have no fancy corporate headquarters and overhead, and they can operate for less, especially if they can use Amazon’s purchasing power for vehicles and insurance, which Amazon has set up for them to do.
The first time I noticed it enough to where I chatted up a delivery driver was in early 2017. Amazon packages used to be delivered to our building in San Francisco by the US Postal Service, by UPS, or by FedEx. But then I noticed that Amazon packages were being delivered by people in regular clothes. Some of them came in unmarked vehicles. Others were marked with Amazon logos.
One of them pulled up in a small white van with an Amazon logo. And he wore a vest with an Amazon logo. So, I asked him if he worked for Amazon. He said he worked for a delivery company with about 20 vans in Oakland that’s delivering for Amazon.
At the time, Amazon was setting up two programs in select cities, for which it was actively recruiting gig workers and “entrepreneurs.”

One program was “Amazon Flex”: Amazon billed it as a way to “make $18 to $25 per hour delivering packages with Amazon.” It was app-based and allowed gig workers to choose a block of time during a day in which to pick up and deliver packages. The pick-up location could be an Amazon facility or “a store or even a restaurant,” it said. Gig workers could use their car or bicycle or whatever. And they were contractors, paid by Amazon.

The other program was dubbed Amazon Delivery Providers. “Whether you have one van or a fleet, our volume and your business could be a great match,” Amazon said at the time....