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How Amazon is destroying the world and why i don't mind

Matthew Yglesias has the latest in the continuing saga of how Amazon is crowding out all of its competitors. I recommend following the link to the Charlie Stross article for the details (including how publishers screwed themselves on DRM) and also clicking on Yglesias' self-link for a little background.

For those who don't follow links, here's the simplified summary in two points. The first is that Amazon is so successful it's becoming a monopoly, both in book publishing and in retail. The second is that despite its "success" it's not actually profitable; Amazon's stockholders basically just don't seem to mind that Amazon isn't making any money, which allows it to continue on its world domination scheme.

The business model may be the equivalent of how Starbucks would put a store on every corner and reduce prices until every mom & pop coffee shop went out of business, losing money the whole time, and then when all the competition was eliminated they'd close stores and raise prices.

But in the meantime, at least, Amazon is awesome for consumers. Forget the prices; just being able to click and buy anything without having to leave the house is awesome. My supermarket stopped stocking the peppermint tea that i like? I'll just buy it on Amazon and while i'm there why not buy all my dry food goods from them and only go to the store for fresh vegetables?

But of course Amazon can't go on being unprofitable forever. So why am i not worried? Because by the time we have to pay the piper, i'll be Socialist Dictator For Life, and i'll just nationalize the company, pay off its shareholders, unionize the employees, and hand the whole thing over to the post office. Running unprofitable but useful-to-society ventures is just what the government is for, after all.

By fnord12 | November 5, 2012, 9:34 AM | Liberal Outrage