Uber-economist Paul Krugman joins the long list of people applying the lash to Amazon for its anti-competitive practices (particularly the abuses heaped on Hatchette’s authors).
Krugman is perhaps the NY Times’ most-influential columnist, and he’s no stranger to blunt talk; witness the conclusions he comes to over the course of the piece:
So can we trust Amazon not to abuse that power? The Hachette dispute has settled that question: no, we can’t.
Which brings us back to the key question. Don’t tell me that Amazon is giving consumers what they want, or that it has earned its position. What matters is whether it has too much power, and is abusing that power. Well, it does, and it is.
Count me among the people cheering Krugman’s column.
Amazon may not be the Devil’s own helpers, but concentrated power pretty much always results in the abuse of that power. We’ve seen that in Amazon’s dispute with Hachette, where Amazon has been holding writers hostage.
Predictably, some writers pushed back.
And while Amazon may be “good” to its customers, the scene behind the curtain — the working conditions endured by its employees — is a lot less appealing.
I buy from Amazon only as a last resort. The list of corporations actively abusing workers and creative folks is a long, long one, but I still prefer not to support abusers.
In simple terms, I vote with my feet and my dollars. A small concession, but you do what you can. A universe where Amazon ruled the publishing world would not — eventually — be a good one for writers.