Amazon, Whole Foods And Conflicts Of Interest

Robert Kuttner seems not to know about how retailing works. Then again, this is Robert Kuttner and business so who is surprised here?

The underlying claim is that Amazon – through Whole Foods – is throwing it’s monopolistic weight around. By not stocking the type of tea that Mr. Kuttner likes. This is, apparently, a conflict of interest:

There is a Whole Foods in my neighborhood. I shop there as little as possible, but once in a while, it can’t be helped.

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Amazon’s Results – People Will Still Whine You Know

The standard complaint against contemporary capitalism is that the corporates just pay out all their profits – and more – to shareholders. Leaving nothing to invest and thereby grow the economy. This is, of course, tripe as an analysis for the shareholders then have to make the decision of whether to invest or spend themselves. Rather than the corporate management. Same decision to be made tho’.

Then along comes Amazon. Which doesn’t pay out anything to investors.…

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NHS Alexa

From our correspondent in Swindon:

From The BBC

Worried about a lump? Got a nasty cough that won’t budge? Many people Google queries about such symptoms daily – but now they can get NHS advice instantly by asking Amazon’s Alexa.

The voice-activated assistant is now automatically searching NHS web pagesto find answers to medical questions.

And the government hopes it will reduce the demand on human doctors.

Sounds awesome. Especially if you’ve spoken to people involved with technology for the blind who say that the Alexa isn’t just massively cheaper than dedicated devices, but better.
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Why Does The Observer Think Taxpayers Should Build Fibreoptic?

That government has a hand in making sure that infrastructure is built seems sensible enough. They are, after all, the people who control the planning system that allows infrastructure to be built. But that government must build it? Why?

Consider, for a moment. Whether a motorway, where it goes if there is to be one, OK, why not government? But there’s nothing which says that it should be government workers wielding the spades. Or, say, government has a role in regulating the spectrum over which mobile internet signals travel.…

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Grandpa Jez And The TJN Terribly Confused About Amazon’s Tax Payments

Jeremy Corbyn has sent Amazon a 25th birthday card insisting that it should be paying more tax in the UK. He’s also insisting that it should be paying the staff more. Can’t really be both now, can it? If you pay the staff more then there are fewer profits to pay tax upon. The Tax Justice Network gets even more confused on the issue.

Amazon UK paid only £1.7m in corporation tax in 2017, its most recent annual public filing at Companies House, as pre-tax profits tripled to £72m.

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Matt Hancock’s Really Stupid Idea About Business Rates On The High Street

As we all know there’s stupid, idiot and then politics. The last being the worst because people propose things just because they sound good rather than because they solve – or even understand – the problem at issue. So it is with Matt Hancock’s idea about an Amazon tax to alleviate the rates burden on small shops. The thing being it’s not the tenants of the shops – even the operators of them – that carry the rates burden.…

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Mackenzie Bezos, As With So Many Female Philanthropists, Giving Away A Man’s Money

That headline might be a bit unkind for of course, women do just as much to build a family as their husbands do. Although, honestly, let’s be realistic. It’s Jeff that built Amazon, not Mackenzie. And It’s Mark who built Facebook, not Priscilla. Just as it was indeed Madame Walker, or Sara Blakely, that made the money not any of the men in their respective lives.

All of which makes this rather an interesting article. Because it’s celebrating the manner in which women are becoming larger philanthropists.

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Dear Tom Watson – What’s Wrong With Us Selling Our Data To Amazon?

Tom Watson is whingeing about how Amazon is investing in Deliveroo. This is not – not solely of course – just because he likes to see his name in the papers. Even a politician needs to have some sorta story to tell to manage that. It’s because Amazon desires our information. This is, apparently, a bad thing. For Tom Watson doesn’t actually believe in personal property – we shouldn’t be allowed to sell what is ours.…

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Truly, There Is No Poverty – Food Stamps Recipients To Get Free Home Delivery Of Food

It’s entirely true that in our current society there are those who have less than others. It’s also said that there is true poverty in our society. That second isn’t really true. Poverty is being measured as having less than others, not as having near nothing. Further, most American poverty is measured before all of the things that we do to alleviate poverty – Section 8, EITC, food stamps and so on.

It is though possible to just stop a moment and consider what people do call poverty in this modern day.…

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Under 1% Of Amazon Employees Ask Company To Adopt Climate Change Plan

We’ve headlines today announcing that 3,500, perhaps even 4,000, Amazon employees have signed a petition asking the company to adopt a comprehensive climate change plan. To which a useful answer is that you can get 1% of the people to sign up to absolutely anything at all. Rather more actually if the output of Simon Cowell is anything to go by.

The point being that Amazon has over 600,000 employees at the moment. 3,500, or even 4,000, is a trivial portion:

Thousands of Amazon employees ask the company to adopt a climate change plan

Or as we could put it, hundreds of thousands of Amazon employees don’t ask the company to adopt a comprehensive climate change plan.…

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