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Thread: buying stuff from Amazon?

  1. #21
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    Most corporations are, at best, amoral, and often far worse.

    I applied for a job at Amazon around 1996. I had to submit my college transcripts (embarrassing) and, I believe, my SAT scores. Then I completed a series of e-mail customer service simulations and finished up with a phone interview--for an entry-level clerical job paying ten dollars an hour. In the end, my contact indicated all that remained was a 30 WPM typing test which I would have passed easily, but there were only two shifts available, neither of which worked for me transportation-wise. Goodbye Amazon millionaire. When I was studying techwriting/editing in 1999, a lot of classmates were freshly laid off from Amazon, so it seemed I dodged a bullet.

    At any rate, Amazon is my lifeline at the moment, and I appreciate their prompt service, their locality, their effortless refunds (I think I've submitted two), and their diversity of services. I don't like their stinginess with employees or their anti-union stance, and I was disappointed to find such a blatant lack of diversity at the top. But until Amazon has a benevolent competitor--Costco for some items, certainly--I'm happy to give them my business.

  2. #22
    Senior Member GeorgeParker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkytoe View Post
    I am canceling my Prime membership - at least for now. It is just as easy to order from other places and on principle, I have issues with amazon. I don't know of this can be accessed by non-subscribers but I found this article about Mr. Bezos very interesting: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine...-wants/598363/
    That article starts with a deliberate "lie by ommision".

    "Andrew Carnegie’s hearths forged the steel that became the skeleton of the railroad and the city. John D. Rockefeller refined 90 percent of American oil, which supplied the pre-electric nation with light. Bill Gates created a program that was considered a prerequisite for turning on a computer....Rockefeller largely contented himself with oil wells, pump stations, and railcars; Gates’s fortune depended on an operating system."

    Carnegie underpaid and abused his workers and justified it by saying they were too stupid to spend the extra money wisely and it was better for him to decide what they really needed. Yes he built libraries and other good things, but he did it by robbing and abusing his workers. Here is Carnegie's philosophy in his own words and putting the best possible spin on it: https://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/rbannis1/AIH19th/Carnegie.html

    Excerpt: "the best means of benefiting the community is to place within its reach the ladders upon which the aspiring can rise--parks, and means of recreation, by which men are helped in body and mind; works of art, certain to give pleasure and improve the public taste, and public institutions of various kinds, which will improve the general condition of the people; in this manner returning their surplus wealth to the mass of their fellows in the forms best calculated to do them lasting good."

    Rockefeller created his oil empire by buying up small oil companies and using them to drive competitors out of business by selling oil products for less than it cost to produce them while making it look like there was an active competitive market by hiding the fact all these different oil companies were actually owned and controlled by him. The antitrust laws and anti-monopoly laws in America were mostly created in response to Rockefeller's unethical business practices.

    And Bill Gates is famous for the ruthless tactics he used to create the Microsoft empire. It's well known that anyone who came up with an interesting new program would be quickly approached by Microsoft and told "That's an interesting program, in fact we've been working on a similar one we're going to include in the next version of Windows." Sometimes that was a lie, but the mere threat that Microsoft would make it impossible to sell your product by including a similar function in Windows for free was enough to put most people out of business. Microsoft would also sometimes buy small software companies or buy the rights to a certain program, and it was always done at a price very favorable to Microsoft. If the owner didn't want to sell at that price Microsoft would simply say "Well, if you're not willing to sell, we'll just have to develop our own version of that program."

    Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Gates are not the benign captains of industry and benefactors of society that the first paragraph of that article makes them out to be. They were ruthless cutthroat businessmen intent on building personal wealth and a monopoly empire at the expense of their employees and consumers. The only difference between them and Jeff Bezos is that he's been more successful at it.

    And has it occurred to you that Elon Musk's head would look pretty much the same as Bezos' head?

    I'm not defending Bezos or anything he's done, but realistically if you want to sever your ties with Amazon because of what you've read about Jeff Bezos, you should also sever your ties with Walmart, Disney, Google, and most of the other big corporations that currently make or sell almost everything we buy, watch, or read.

    BTW: Disney? Do you actually know how much of the world Disney owns or controls now? To get the full impact you need to look at the enlarged version of the Disney map in this article. https://www.titlemax.com/discovery-c...wns-worldwide/

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeParker View Post

    And Bill Gates is famous for the ruthless tactics he used to create the Microsoft empire. It's well known that anyone who came up with an interesting new program would be quickly approached by Microsoft and told "That's an interesting program, in fact we've been working on a similar one we're going to include in the next version of Windows." Sometimes that was a lie, but the mere threat that Microsoft would make it impossible to sell your product by including a similar function in Windows for free was enough to put most people out of business. Microsoft would also sometimes buy small software companies or buy the rights to a certain program, and it was always done at a price very favorable to Microsoft. If the owner didn't want to sell at that price Microsoft would simply say "Well, if you're not willing to sell, we'll just have to develop our own version of that program."
    Another tactic they used:
    Friend went to work, developing for a company and had an interest in that company. He warned the others about Microsoft, yet was outvoted by the others, when Microsoft wanted to "invest". They doled out money for a bit, while development continued, but stopped when they were getting close to market. Company couldn't raise the extra they needed and went bankrupt, where MS stepped in and bought the rights.

  4. #24
    Senior Member GeorgeParker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToomuchStuff View Post
    Another tactic they used:
    The list of Microsoft tactics is endless. One of the best known is "Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish" which is so well known it has it's own Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrac...and_extinguish

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkytoe View Post
    Do you buy things from amazon without concern?
    It is absolutely my source of last resort.

  6. #26
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    but realistically if you want to sever your ties with Amazon because of what you've read about Jeff Bezos, you should also sever your ties with Walmart, Disney, Google, and most of the other big corporations that currently make or sell almost everything we buy, watch, or read.
    but mostly one has no ties with these things (I use some Microsoft stuff and I go to Target sometimes). I don't do anything with Walmart or Disney and Google well work gave me a chromebook, and I use the maps sometimes, that's about it. Amazon is a bit harder to sever ties with as is Whole Foods (aka Amazon) for a few things.

    But I don't really accept the premise anyway, I mean I admit to limits to my knowledge of all that goes on behind closed doors, but I don't think all corporations are run as cruelly to their employees etc.. One could say it's a matter of degree, but even then degree matters.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

  7. #27
    Senior Member GeorgeParker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ApatheticNoMore View Post
    But I don't really accept the premise anyway, I mean I admit to limits to my knowledge of all that goes on behind closed doors, but I don't think all corporations are run as cruelly to their employees etc.. One could say it's a matter of degree, but even then degree matters.
    Who we choose to do business with or not do business with is a matter of personal choice, personal opinion, and personal ethics.

    As a committed pragmatist, I buy books and videos at Amazon. I have money invested in Disney stock, which has paid off quite well BTW. I shop at Walmart sometimes. And I have no aversion to buying something made by Elon Musk, other than the fact that afaik he doesn't sell anything I want. And I have a Gmail account and use the Google search engine. However I do avidly avoid all Microsoft products because there is Free Libre Open Source Software available that does everything I want it to do, and therefore I don't have to do business with that particular despised company. And I reserve the right to despise the methods of all those other greedy monopolistic companies, even though I more or less have to do business with them sometimes.

    I don't object to people making whatever choice they want to about who they will or won't do business with based on ethical factors. What I object to is people singling out one greedy monopolistic tycoon for shunning while ignoring all the other equally greedy monopolistic tycoons who control most of the commerce in this country.

    The article pinkytoe pointed to: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine...-wants/598363/ makes it sound like Gates, Carnegie, and Rockefeller were virtuous entrepreneurs who built their wealth by creating and selling useful things that benefited America's prosperity. They were no such thing. It also ignores the fact that Elon Musk, Google, and Disney have very similar profiles to Jeff Bezos' empire. Holding Bezos up as an arch villain who is somehow different from all the other villains is what I objected to.

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