In which we quite aggressively tackle Amazon’s corporate treatment of its workers, and launch into a discussion of corporate ethics and responsibility. We also note that though we critique Amazon’s practices, we recognize that it has good effects in the world, some of them significant. The question is: at what point to the externalities associated with those benefits make dealing with any given company morally unjustifiable?
Before You Go
- The original piece which sparked this discussion: “Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace”
“Why the New York Times’s Amazon story is so controversial, explained” (Vox) – with a scathing and accurate comment on blue-collar workers as the real problem for Amazon:
The real workplace scandal at Amazon — and in the economy writ large — isn’t the treatment of white-collar workers with plenty of options. It’s the treatment of blue-collar workers with none.
Most of Amazon’s workers, after all, aren’t highly paid engineers or marketers sitting in a Seattle office. They’re contract warehouse workers rushing frantically to meet their packing quotas.
- “Full memo: Jeff Bezos responds to brutal NYT story, says it doesn’t represent the Amazon he leads”
- “An Amazonian’s response to”Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace“
- “Amazon: Friend of the Christian Family?” – an outsider praising the ethic itself as well as the results of that ethic in the American economy (First Things)
- “I Had a Baby and Cancer When I Worked at Amazon. This Is My Story”
- “Amazon as an Antidote to Life Inside the High-Technology Bubble”
- “The Case Against Full-Time Employees”
Takedowns of Amazon’s warehouse practices:
- “Inside Amazon’s Warehouse” (2011)
- “I Was A Warehouse Wage Slave” (2012)
- “My Week as an Amazon Insider” (2013)
- “Amazon workers face ‘increased risk of mental illness’” (2013)
- “Exclusive: Amazon makes even temporary warehouse workers sign 18-month non-competes” (2014)
- Previously on the show:
For just one of many articles on the Chinese nose dive last week, see “Global shares nosedive on China economic woes”. Notably, as we predicted it might, things substantially stabilized throughout the week elsewhere in the world.
- “it was gone” by orchid mantis. Used by permission.
- “Winning Slowly Theme” by Chris Krycho. The piano version is cool; somewhere in the future is a rock orchestra version that’s been playing in Chris’ head for years.
Many thanks to the people who help us make this show possible by their financial support! This month’s sponsors:
- Jeremy W. Sherman
- Jeremy Cherfas
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