Licking The Hand

There’s an article by John Naughton in the Guardian which points out that the founders and shareholders of online giants such as Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook et al, “are richly rewarded in salaries, stock options and lavish perks.”

But these are “only a minority of the workforces of the big tech companies and most of their colleagues have decidedly more mundane terms of employment – and remuneration.”

Most of us know that. What is of note is that these companies claim to employ vast numbers. Which they do – but only at peak periods such as Christmas. Amazon warehouses are sited in areas of high unemployment and the temps work long hours and are treated worse than robots. (Robots wouldn’t complain about having to walk umpteen miles per day wearing company-provided boots which give blisters, nor would they be warned about talking to one another by a  management keen to eliminate any form of time-wasting.)

Inside Amazon’s warehouse in Fife, Scotland

Naughton references a “terrific reportby Sarah O’Connor, the Financial Times’s economics correspondent, who visited Amazon’s vast distribution centre at Rugeley in Staffordshire, in the Midlands of England; her account of what she found there makes sobering reading.

Indeed it does, and my interest was sufficiently piqued to click on a link to a new FT ebook, The Amazon Economy, thinking that I might be tempted to download Barney Jopson’s startling account of the hidden influence and boundless ambition of Amazon, overlord of a mini-economy that goes well beyond online shoppers.

Although it’s not as yet listed on the page – go figure, I did read this:

It seems somewhat incestuous; a book which criticises Amazon sold by Amazon for £2.49, the “price was set by the publisher.” Eh?

Product Description
The company’s voracious expansion – into areas ranging from logistics and cloud computing to fashion and movie production – has made it the overlord of a mini-economy where it wields extraordinary power. Consumers flock to it while regulators, politicians and other businesses ignore it at their peril. But Amazon is still poorly understood.

Indeed. Anything for a buck, Amazon?

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