business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  The New York Times has a story about Tim Bray, the former Amazon vice president and engineer who created waves when he resigned from the company earlier this year and accused the company's culture of containing "a vein of toxicity."  Now, the story says, Bray is making the argument that Amazon needs to be broken up - an argument that is gaining currency as the company's founder-CEO, Jeff Bezos, prepares for testimony next week before a US House of Representatives panel looking into antitrust issues.

Bray says that Amazon is a symptom of concentrated capitalism. “We don’t really have an Amazon problem.  What we have is a deep, societal problem with an unacceptable imbalance of power and wealth.”  Bray argues that the reflection of this imbalance can be seen in the company's treatment of warehouse employees.

Amazon, of course, says that "it has spent billions of dollars to make its warehouses safe and that its workers are paid at least $15 an hour, plus benefits."

The Times quotes Bray as saying that "it's not obvious to me why the retail company, the manufacturing company, the voice recognition company, the cloud computing company and the Prime video company should be the same company.  They’re not particularly related to each other, and I think it’s actively distorting and harmful."

The Times goes on:

"The 'goodness' Amazon espouses for customers - low prices, endless selection, quick delivery - isn’t free,' he said. 'Right now, the downside of all this goodness is overwhelmingly being experienced by the warehouse workers'."