Amazon acquires 91,000 employees. Robots are coming, the human usurption begins

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“Amazon has no plans to use the technology it developed for Amazon Go to automate the jobs of cashiers at Whole Foods. No job reductions are planned as a result of the deal.” – Amazon Spokesperson
I am a capitalist. But what is that? It is a useless word without a definition. Here’s my meaning: I am a person who believes in creating opportunities, entrepreneurship, that a political operating system is more equitable to its consumers than any other form of government. I believe that companies have to be profitable to be sustained, that they have to pay their employees from those earnings, and those employees then pay their bills, their kids thru college, laugh, have wine.
Capitalism can also not be that, maybe it is really just a brand to be evoked and stoked by marketers. Who is a brand accountable too?
Surely the banks that wreaked havoc on the world’s economies would be comforted to be called capitalists, and those bankers that pushed all the fraudulent levers, ‘capitalists’ too. If a person is killed, then their wallet is taken, are they a murderer and thief, or a capitalist in a violent industry?
What is Amazon? 
So far Amazon has not tried to exploit consumers. In fact, it has systematically kept prices low, to reinforce its dominanceIn economics jargon, Amazon is not, at least so far, acting like a monopolist, a dominant seller with the power to raise prices. Instead, it is acting as a monopsonist, a dominant buyer with the power to push prices down – Paul Krugman Op Ed, OCT. 19, 2014
Amazon insists their stupefying success and industries domination had nothing to do with their multi-billion dollar tax avoidance but was strictly the result of the free choices of consumers in a competitive market and therefore must reflect the efficient results that markets always produce. But as law professor Eric Posner points out, “…[this] is a response that any monopolist could make…But whether or not Amazon does overcharge people now, sooner or later — once it displaces the industry sufficiently and dominates markets —it will.”
Amazon has been clever at avoiding taxes, just as our violent capitalist stole the wallet, emptied its contents and then threw that wallet away. Amazon set up an incredibly complex scheme in Luxembourg to reduce their tax liabilities. The Unites States I.R.S says Amazon owes 1.5 billion dollars in unpaid Federal taxes, keep in mind, that’s only their tax bill here, they emptied wallets in other countries too.
Last month Amazon announced it was acquiring Whole Foods, a retailer with 91,000 employees. Is there some share of Amazon that is a public asset, a societal good? Is WholeFoods a public asset?
The route I take from my apartment to the Whole Foods on 57th street are public streets, paid for with my tax dollars, the traffic lights that impede my movement, also paid for with my tax dollars. The electricity supply, the water, the sewage, all taken incrementally out of the pockets of taxpayers. They hired NY’ers that live in our city, went to our schools, we are their labor reservoir. The value of WholeFoods would be somewhat less if they had to pay for the improvements. I am a capitalist, I also think government destroys capital and, on the whole, only converts my money to themselves.
Amazon has too much power and it is abusing that power in many ways. It has been given everyIt needs to be constrained. It was allowed to get monstrously large by government that bestowed them extraordinary privileges, lax regulatory oversight, politicians plodding along bills in various parts of the Government that would have corrected the many of the tax loopholes Amazon squeezed through.
What is the public good of the acquisition? Perhaps consumers might benefit from hypothetical superior services, provide more grocery options, saving them time and money. Perhaps not, maybe the savings from Amazon increasing efficiency thru robots, artificial intelligence and lower wages will not be passed unto the consumer, it will be kept by Amazon and its shareholders.
WholeFoods, now Amazon, owe us in financial and ethical i.o.u’s that we have to call in. Yes, if they had not opened up their store in NYC then those people would not be working in Whole Foods, but another store would have taken its place, that is, exactly, how a capitalist system works.
Now all this will be Amazon’s, those streets, those people, kit and caboodle. Amazon bought the high margin business of Whole Foods, and soon, to improve shareholder value, under cover of distraction, lies, conflations and obfuscations, they will fire a vast number of employees.
Who are these employees? In my regular store on 57th street, the cashiers and service, stocking staff that I see, an imperfect methodology admittedly, are mostly women. Additionally, there are several people with disabilities.
They will be out of work. Being out of work in not an uncommon phenomenon, nor does it, in itself, infer a flawed civilization. We, collectively, are not cruel to that person by firing them, this is a capitalist country. We are cruel by allowing the employer to be too big to fail, by continuing to look the other way.
What commitments are being demanded of Amazon, what employee retention, what re-training, what outplacement assistance, what relocation benefits.
Where are the politicians, where are our elected leaders, where is Lena Dunham when we need her. Here is the patriarchy, let’s go get ’em.  Do Black Jobs Matter? The Whole foods I regularly go to has a largely Black workforce, soon to be unemployed. Where are the sloganeers ‘speaking truth to power’? Where are the protesters, what windmill are they battling? Where are the pussy hats!
Was it all performance art, theater for the faux liberals and Facebook warriors more concerned with seeming good than with doing good and splendidly abounding in symbols.
Real protest, like the voting rights act and the Vietnam war, is ‘against’ a system. The rallying kind today are advocating loudly for the system, no million person chants to end wars. Online petitions have been substituted for activism. If we were to protest in front of WholeFoods we would be lonely, our selfies joyless.
Counter arguments and inquisitions of Amazon has been evaporated. Amazon, aligned with other technology un-employers have crafted a well marketed, PR/propaganda campaign that tells the world that the Robots and Artificial Intelligence usurpation of humans is inevitable.
That PR/propaganda narrative was amplified by journalists following the tech industry, the effectiveness of propaganda campaigns does not depend on analytical rigor. It depends on their ability to get seemingly objective outsiders to amplify the message and give it greater credibility.
Amazon’s narrative exploited the myopia of tech industry journalists, pundits and economists friendly to Silicon Valley tribal culture that sees itself as the avatar of economic progress, who readily embraced Amazon’s framing of a heroic battle against backwards industries.
Journalists focused on the wealth and status of Amazon’s Silicon Valley investors. The presumption they must know what they are doing, Amazon’s critics are dismissed as #LudditesWhoOpposeTechnology.
Amazon’s vicious behavior towards local politicians, competitors and critical journalists tells the world that resistance is futile.
Resistance must target a specific problem, issue, or system to be called resistance at all. Real resistance includes tangible goals and objectives that materially benefit the people:
These are absolutes:
Pay all taxes due to the United States Treasury and State Governments
Disclose a precise schedule of planned, or likely termination by location, city and state and position
Employees must be given at least 90 days notice of any planned, or likely, termination
Disclose a precise list of planned, or likely hiring
Employees must be offered to be retrained to other positions within the company or that they foresee staffing up
And here again is Amazon’s statement, brokeninto smll pieaces for forensics:
“Amazon has no plans to use the technology it developed for Amazon Go to automate the jobs of cashiers at Whole Foods. No job reductions are planned as a result of the deal. Amazon ‘has no plans’. I had no plans to get root canal either, but these things do happen
‘…no plans to use the technology it developed for AmazonGo to automate the jobs of cashiers…’ This is not the generosity of spirit of Amazon. AmazonGo, in its own words is a “The technology lets people pay with smartphones without seeing a cashier or going to a checkout kiosk…” But, AmazonGo has met technological hurdles, it can’t handle significant volume. I’m sure that problem is getting attention and will be solved. But, that advance can’t be planned, it is not a party and the invitations have a date and time. The fix will happen, and when it does, cashiers get fired
to automate the jobs of cashiers… This is specific that there is ‘no plans’ to substitute cashiers for a specific technology. Will cashiers be termed and those positions no plans to be replaced by technology, and then, as our short term memories are exhausted, replaced by technology.
to automate the jobs of cashiers…What of stockers and all those other employees
No job reductions are planned as a result of the deal What job reductions are planned that are not ‘part of the deal’?
Amazon, Facebook and many other tech companies have are promoting what they calculate as a financial and societal fix, taxing the owners of robots and software, who it is presumed will bank enormous profits off automation. That money is then, possibly, added to all the money in Monopoly parking and is redistributed to those that qualify for assistance. It is a popular idea and well-reasoned by the un-employers, banks, bankers and other assorted capitalists. But in fact their loud advocacy of Universal Basic Income and its ‘right-hood’, is a stage device meant to  lessen, if not eliminate, political resistance to automation
But, Amazon has proved more than excellent at tax avoidance, perhaps criminally so.
We have to protest

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