Amazon is cool, right? Who wants to spend hours holiday shopping in a mall? For that matter, who wants to sift through a bunch of different websites when you can get everything you want from just one? Either way, who wants to pay more for the privilege of not buying through Amazon?

Rhetorical questions all? Maybe. But before you get back to your gift list, here are some other questions to consider:

Do you know anyone whose job or business got trampled by the raging online behemoth? What might be the potential implications for markets and prices over the long term, were Amazon’s growth march to continue indefinitely? At what point should the federal government start thinking about whether and how to limit the company’s capacity for anticompetitive influence?

The summary question is this: Is Amazon, on balance, good or bad for business and the economy?

As this package of opinionated articles demonstrates, there are loads of plausible arguments on both sides of the issue. Fortunately or not, as one of our contributing authors puts it, this genie isn’t going back in the bottle. Amazon is fundamentally changing not only the way business is done, but the way we think about the world.

Accordingly, here are a few more questions:

Is your company doing all it can to “Amazon-proof” the business? Are you trying to craft your versions of Amazon’s innovative approaches to markets and operations? Do the altered e-commerce and product-distribution environments wrought in large part by Amazon compel you to rethink your business model?

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2 responses to “Square-Off: Is Amazon Good for Business?”

  1. Amazon grew because it did not have to collect sales taxes. Equally, people could view and try items at brick-and-mortar stores before ordering from Amazon. Without these major advantages, I don’t think Amazon would be as big or profitable as it is. As more states require that Amazon report sales so they can collect sales taxes, the company now will face some of the limitations that other retailers do as well as the tax consequences of setting up distribution centers in states that now have a nexus for both sales and income taxes.

    • Amazon isn’t the problem. Taxes are. Taxes limit businesses and drive inflation and loss of purchasing power. For Amazon to be a true world -beater (and not just a modern version of the Sears-Roebuck catalog of yesteryear), it will have to cause the layoffs of millions of public sector jobs. Kill the parasite and watch our economy flourish for all businesses – digital and brick-and-mortar alike.

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