In this era of daily, mind-boggling reports out of Washington, I sometimes feel as if my mind cannot boggle any further. And yet… Amazon.com taking over Whole Foods?? I thought I was dreaming when I heard it on the radio the other day. I do not like that Amazon is threatening to take over everything.
I have such mixed feelings about Amazon. As a customer, I find them easier and more pleasant to use than just about any other online merchant. As a writer, I am keenly aware that the ebook revolution they kickstarted with Kindle self-publishing is one big reason I have an active and growing readership, and am making more money from my books in backlist than I did when they were new. At the same time, I am keenly aware of their sometimes predatory practices in the publishing industry, and I worry about their growing power in the marketplace. As a viewer, I love some of their TV programming. As a citizen, I am both alarmed by their monopolistic tendencies, and pleased by some of the choices Jeff Bezos has made in spending his billions (keeping The Washington Post going strong, for example, and funding the development of private space-travel technology through Blue Origins). Also, I admire his willingness to take the long view on his investments, going for long-term growth and not just short-term profits. This is something the world needs more of, although not necessarily on such a gargantuan scale.
Amazon is truly a complex phenomenon, and my mind continues—against all odds—to boggle. I still sort of wish they weren’t buying Whole Foods, but here’s an interesting article on the reasons for his making the move.
Terry Bisson, in his SF novel Pirates of the Universe, depicted a future in which just about everything was owned and run by a corporation called Disney-Windows. Looks like he got the basics right; he just maybe picked the wrong company.