Along the way, Amazon has taken a heavy toll on its blue-collar workers, suppliers and taxpayers – who foot the bill through incentives for warehouses, corporate campuses and data centers. Warehouse workers describe physically demanding and ruthless jobs that include miles of daily walking and grueling turnover rates, amid increasing automation. And while suffering a historic hiring wave – it’s now the country’s second-largest private employer – it has canceled several union campaigns and pushed its hourly workers to the brink of making Mr Bezos’ dream of a near delivery come true. instant.
Mr. Bezos’ disdain for taxes was one of the main reasons he started the business in Washington state, which at the time had a smaller population of buyers who had to pay the tax. sale, which gave it a price advantage over its traditional rivals. Armed with color-coded cards, company officials have spent years evading state officials for fear their customers would be forced to pay sales tax.
Amazon’s year-long pursuit of a second headquarters has sent local executives to bow down to Mr Bezos in an attempt to distribute taxpayer funds to fund an expansion the company may well afford on its own. But he got results – nearly $ 600 million in incentives from Virginia officials to build office towers in suburban Washington, DC.
While such authoritarian business practices are to be criticized, they are also a source of admiration and fear among business leaders, rivals and investors. Even a rumor that Amazon is entering a new industry can send competitor’s stock prices plunging. And Mr. Bezos’ disparate passions have grown like wild weeds to include Hollywood, banking, advertising, and law enforcement.
Despite his sharp elbows, or more likely because of them, Mr. Bezos has made Amazon a household name and fast, reliable delivery a benchmark for consumers. Many traditional flat-footed retailers are still trying to catch up, and many more will fall apart. When people talk about the ease of shopping online, they have Mr. Bezos to thank.
For better or worse, he remade Seattle, solidifying it as a technology hub and turning a former warehouse district into a thriving campus, though critics point out that Amazon has contributed to the price spike. housing and rising income inequalities.
In recent years, Mr. Bezos’ eye has turned to side projects, especially space. His Blue Origin spacecraft project will launch it next month, no coincidence miles from a host of earthly issues he and Amazon face.