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What kind of world is Amazon selling?

You can say a lot about Amazon, both interesting and worrisome. But I’ve never really asked myself what kind of world it’s creating. It’s a big question, sure, and one with a myriad of answers. But it’s worth asking, given how influential the company is.

Thankfully, Anand Giridharadas has done it for me. He put it to Alec MacGillis, a reporter for ProPublica and author of Fulfillment: winning and losing in one-click America, a new book about Amazon.

Anand: If Amazon is left unchecked, what kind of world do you think it will eventually create?

Alec: A world where the fortunate among us fulfill most of our daily needs and whims by placing a one-click order, and where the less fortunate among us rush to fulfill those orders for us. And a world where the communities we live in — both the winner-take-all cities and the left-behind towns — become the poorer for it.

It’s a brief interview that covers a lot of ground, including how Amazon benefitted from the decline of manufacturing in the US and how they exploit tax breaks on local and national levels.

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