Bleedin’ idiocy

Jeff Bezos, chief executive of Amazon, is by most accounts a mild mannered sort of guy with classic West Coast liberal views. There is one thing, however, that makes him as ballistic as one of his Blue Origin space rockets – and that’s any mention of subjecting Amazon to a break-up.

He may, on the other hand, have to get used to it. On both sides of the Atlantic, the invasive market power of his business creation is the object of ever closer political and regulatory scrutiny.

Amazon is successfully bankrupting old retail models. Therefore we must break it up.

Sodding idiocy. If we’ve a new and better way of doing something then we want to have more of it. We want it to bankrupt the old and less better way because that’s how that works, that’s how we get more better. And whether it is better is defined by how much of the old way it bankrupts.

Sigh.

19 comments on “Bleedin’ idiocy

  1. There is nothing much new about doing business by mail order.

    Bezos is a freakoid who started out looking like a bald Hiram Holliday and who now thinks he is an emaciated Napoleon save for the fact Napoleon was less ambitious and egotistical.

    He does deserve to be taken down more than a peg or two–as do all the left-sucking computer freaks- but it should be in the form of much more free-market competition.

  2. As someone pointed out to me recently – people have been buying online for about 20 years now. Plenty of time for “traditional” retailers to get used to it and develop their own strategies.

  3. Dunno, Tim.

    Something Must Be Done about the internet oligarchs in general, though not neccer-celery Amazon in particular.

    We now face the greatest concentration of power ever known in human history – the ability to determine what billions of people may see, hear, say and transact in the digital public square – vested in a tiny number of incestuous California businesses which are increasingly openly hostile to conservatives, libertarians, Christians, and white people.

    The traditional glibertarian response of “well, build your own website, duh!” isn’t really an option any more. For two reasons: if Google, Facebook and Twitter decide to bury you, you might as well not exist online. And because even getting a domain hosted is now subject to a radical left-wing veto. People can and are seeing their domain names being stolen and their websites effectively blacklisted for badthink.

    In the 90’s we naively assumed the internet would be free and open. Yet here we are, with an internet that’s rapidly catching up with the universities in terms of ideological capture, policed by people who are inimical to the survival of Western Civilisation.

    Jeff Bezos doesn’t just want to sell you cheap Chinese crap on his website. He’s invested his wealth in acquiring vast media power, which he uses to press antisocial agendas such as unlimited Third World immigration, the destruction of American constitutional rights, and the election of leftwing identity politics hucksters.

    Why should Americans let him do that?

  4. I’m calling for the mass re-introduction of horse transport for haulage. All those lorries are polluting and have put stables out of business across the country.

    Think of the extra jobs it will create, and all of the land currently wasted of growing food that can be returned to growing grass for horse feed.

  5. J.G.Graves practically invented mail order buying in the UK about 150 years ago, and it was mail order purchasing (plus the railways) that allowed settlement of the American plains.

  6. jgh said:
    “it was mail order purchasing that allowed settlement of the American plains.”

    And gave them a nice fat catalogue twice a year with lots of pages to wipe their arses on.

  7. Mr Ecks,
    How can you belittle the image of Hiram Holliday? His “Adventures of Hiram Holliday” was required viewing when I was growing up, being thin and weedy and bespectacled. I also had a talent for languages but never tried ancient Etruscan as my local library had no books on the subject. Sadly, I did not have a reporter following me around to cover my (lack of) adventures.

  8. “And because even getting a domain hosted is now subject to a radical left-wing veto.”

    Whatever the anecdote (and I recall a recent incident exactly as you say) there is loads of competition in the hosting market.

    I would have thought the threat to on-line retailers (versus amazon) was the search engine?

    Amazon will always come up early on in the search, but if alternative retailer web sites also come up, there is competition. If I see an alternative (and it’s not got red flags when I check), I will try and take that route. If others can’t be bothered, should I be trying to dictate to them and tell them they must – not sure?

  9. I can’t be tased getting round their attempts to stop me reading the article.

    How does breaking up Amazon protect high street retailers? The bits of Amazon I buy from/through will still exist as will the rest of the on line retail businesses.

    I buy on line because I dont like wasting time going in to towns and cities or even out of town retail parks. I also value my time which I don’t like wasting interacting with retail staff who are either obsequious or rude. And don’t get me started on parking charges.

  10. @BIND

    Indeed, I wouldn’t mind shopping at a place where I felt I was benefiting from the retailer’s expertise or eye for quality. But many “respectable” stores sell cheap (and not-so-cheap) junk with a very short working life, so the fact that stuff bought online can sometimes disappoint hasn’t become a critical weak point for it. And in many places the retail assistants do not seem to have finished sixth form yet, or have much interest in the produce they are selling.

    Goodness knows how the old man with the hardware shop in a quiet corner of the high street keeps trading but the fact you could talk so someone who knows what he is talking about and can almost certainly sell you the correct item and size must be at least part of his success. Other than him and the trusted local pharmacist, I can’t off-hand think of anyone else working in a retail industry who I would be positively desirous of interaction with.

  11. MyBurningEars – I don’t even bother going in my pharmacy now. Poor service, hostile environment – I send the wife and I sit in a chair outside the pharmacy and read a book or stay in the car.
    Usually a queue of a half dozen in my pharmacy, have clocked up over half hour reading time sometimes.

  12. I buy on line because I dont like wasting time going in to towns and cities or even out of town retail parks. I also value my time which I don’t like wasting interacting with retail staff who are either obsequious or rude. And don’t get me started on parking charges.

    This. Plus all the (expensive) parking spaces are too small for my truck, so will end up with dents, scratches and damage.
    And they’re too busy. Never enough staff, who seem completely incompetent.

  13. “There is nothing much new about doing business by mail order.”

    The big difference is the size of the catalogue.

    World Books couldn’t do what Amazon did when I was there because the catalogue was printed. You couldn’t send out a catalogue showing 10s of thousands of prices. So the focus was the top couple of hundred sellers.

    But mail order was always cheaper. It’s just a lot more efficient. I worked in shops as a kid and you spend about half the week not serving customers. OK, you put some stock out, maybe tidy the store a little, but there’s a lot of wasted time. Plus all the shipping stock out and back again, paying expensive rents.

    It bugs me that people assume that the Hallowed High Street is how things should be.

  14. BIND,

    “How does breaking up Amazon protect high street retailers? The bits of Amazon I buy from/through will still exist as will the rest of the on line retail businesses.”

    It won’t.

    Even if we destroyed Amazon and had hundreds of companies, each in a particular market, the High Street is kinda fucked (women will still buy dresses and make up pencils and not much else soon).

    I know a bloke who had an online bike spares company. He’s a nerd and he’s also into cycling. It was doing pretty well. And he reckoned he could sell as much as dozens of shops with 2 people and a couple of part-timers. That’s how much it lowers costs. And the reason he wound it up was that he was getting killed by Amazon resellers.

    It’s like I knew people in the early 2000s who were selling computer books at around 40% off. Mostly, nerds. They made good money from it. Again, they got wiped out by Amazon. But before then, no programmers were buying books from Waterstones.

    You destroy Amazon, you won’t get the high street. You’ll just have lots of online retailers.

  15. BoM4

    Ie, the old high street analogy, for now destroying Amazon, is for the local town not to have allowed the one big supermarket (which knocked out lots of small local shops)?

    Lots of supermarkets, sure, but maybe only one in a smaller town, so a reasonable like for like comparison.

  16. PF,

    Not sure I understand the 2nd part.

    Also worth noting that Amazon kept 3rd party sellers. So, my friend wasn’t so much destroyed by Amazon as other bike shops on there. A lot of small commerce sites just opted to use Amazon’s platforms of site, warehousing and despatch.

  17. @Ivor Chestikov, June 10, 2018 at 9:56 am

    Spot on.

    I was booking flights online mid-late 1990s; Dabs computers IT history was mid-late 1990s too.

    Yet MSM & some Politicians still throw around excuses as if online sales started post 2010 – did something change in 2010?

  18. I think the focus is wrong. Competition is good, and as already pointed out [mail|online] order isn’t going away. Where Amazon (the online tat bazaar bit) is bad is the distinctly shady business practices they allow. For example, allowing sellers to sell directly to end users without having to charge VAT or even comply with EU/UK product safety regulations.
    If it were simply a high st vs online issue, then as pointed out – online means avoiding those high st costs – which councils don’t seem keen to do anything about as they up the business rates and then complain about the empty shops ! But this is like Uber – claim to be just an online version so something, but in reality just ignore all the rules that cost money.

  19. Amazon is the 2nd biggest site for resellers. Ebay being slightly higher in sales (about $15 billion a year a couple of years back).
    Split up amazon and there’d still be hundreds of billions of dollars worth of internet sales, including by the split up amazon company.
    Amazon is a big retailer and a big umbrella of multiple companies owned by them. While some companies were focusing on issuing dividends and trying to add a tenth of a percentage point of a particular market, amazon were busy buying up different companies in different markets and adding to the customers they were serving.
    The process seems to have worked, zero to $120 billion a year turnover in 20 years.

    Anyone else trying to do what amazon are doing starts from further back but can also avoid the mistakes the first mover has made.

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