Amazon has established itself as an e-commerce giant in the retail world, offering customers whatever products they need with fast shipping options.
But is Amazon so big that it’s now negatively affecting society? I’ve conducted research on Amazon’s impact on the economy, the environment, and society as a whole. So, here’s everything I found out!
Is Amazon Bad For Society?
Amazon’s negative effect on local economies, the bookselling industry, retail, and the job market makes the e-commerce giant bad for society in several ways. Additionally, Amazon doesn’t employ as many people as other larger retailers, and numerous employees report they’re not treated ethically.
To learn more about how Amazon impacts local economies as well as the company’s environmental effects, keep on reading!
Is Amazon Bad For the World of Bookselling?
Amazon initially began as a company that only sold books, making it simple for people to find any kind of book they desired.
However, Amazon is now seen as a destructive force in the bookselling world because of its business practices.
For example, Amazon’s massive size undermines the ability of independent bookstores to survive.
With that, it makes it difficult for independent, progressive, and multicultural literature to thrive.
Overall, the publishing world suffers because Amazon skims the profits authors and publishers can earn due to the low book prices it offers.
Does Amazon Pay Taxes?
In most states, Amazon refuses to pay taxes, which negatively impacts the entire country’s economy and society.
Due to the company’s massive size, Amazon’s failure to pay taxes resulted in a loss of government revenue.
The loss in revenue then leads to an adverse effect on educational funding, Medicaid funding, and police and fire funding.
However, several states are starting to create a movement to charge Amazon for past-due sales taxes.
You may be wondering how Amazon has continuously avoided paying taxes. In exchange for tax exemptions, Amazon promises to build warehouses and create jobs.
However, the tax exemptions have cost states hundreds of millions of dollars that could be assisting society.
Does Amazon Treat Employees Ethically?
There have been differing opinions when it comes to whether or not Amazon treats its employees ethically.
For example, some current employees report they enjoy working for Amazon because of the numerous health and financial benefits. However, other employees don’t see the company in such a great light.
Some former Amazon employees report dangerous working conditions, especially in the summer months.
For example, Amazon warehouses don’t have air conditioning, so warehouse employees get very hot.
In fact, some Amazon warehouses have ambulances waiting outside in case employees suffer from heat exhaustion or dehydration.
Additionally, several former Amazon employees say they have to keep up with unrealistic production rates, which isn’t seen as ethical.
How Does Amazon Impact the Country’s Inflation Rate?
Some argue that Amazon even impacts the wages employees at other companies earn. Without storefronts, Amazon can cut down on its overhead costs, making them significantly lower than other retailers.
These cost savings allow Amazon to undercut rivals on prices and operate at a thinner profit margin.
Then, Amazon’s lower prices limit the ability of other companies to pass on wage increases to employees.
How Does Amazon Impact the Job Market?
Amazon impacts the job market significantly because of the company’s size. By the end of 2020, Amazon reported about 1.3 million employees worldwide.
While that may seem like a lot, Amazon actually doesn’t hire that many people compared to its size.
With that, some criticize Amazon for not hiring as many people as possible, which would positively impact the job market.
Is Amazon Bad For Retail?
Over the past 15 years, the number of retail businesses in the US has dropped by 40 percent, largely due to Amazon.
Because Amazon is so big and can offer consumers any product out there, smaller businesses cannot compete.
More retail companies shutting down leads to more counterfeit and unsafe products being purchased on Amazon’s website.
Although some businesses have liability for dangerous products, Amazon doesn’t have as many rules regarding its liability for unsafe products.
Additionally, Amazon copies many designs of successful products, which reduces the incentive for retailers to innovate.
Is Amazon Bad For the Environment?
When it comes to its impact on the environment, both good and bad things are to be said about Amazon.
Amazon’s warehouses, factories, and large cloud storage on the internet are largely powered by fossil fuels, and some environmental agencies are pushing for it to use cleaner energy.
However, Amazon has taken several steps recently to make a more positive impact on the environment.
For example, Amazon uses solar power and electric delivery vehicles at some of its warehouses and focuses on emitting zero carbon emissions in its supply chain.
Amazon is a huge company, so it’d be nearly impossible for it not to have some impact on the environment.
Overall, Amazon has been taking huge steps compared to other large retail companies regarding its positive environmental impact.
How Does Amazon Impact Local Economies?
Amazon has a significant impact on local economies, whether there is an Amazon warehouse in the area or not.
Because Amazon resists tax laws that would support local economies, the company has a negative effect on local economies.
In one instance, Amazon worked to destroy a business tax in Seattle that would have created affordable housing in the city had it passed.
What Good Things Does Amazon Do For Society?
However, not everything about Amazon is bad, as the company is currently doing several things to help society.
In the US, several military veterans have difficulty getting jobs after returning home from service.
Amazon intends to help solve this problem by offering military veterans jobs at the company’s warehouses.
Over five years, Amazon intends to hire 25,000 military vets and their spouses.
Amazon scored a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index.
This index measures how well companies treat their LGBTQ employees through the policies and benefits in place at Amazon for these employees.
Compared to other companies, Amazon offers generous parental leave. For example, Amazon provides a 20-week paid parental leave, including up to four weeks of pre-birth leave.
Additionally, Amazon allows parents to donate up to six weeks of paid leave to their partners, which isn’t common in the retail industry.
To learn more about Amazon, you can also read our posts on whether or not Amazon is reliable & safe to shop on, 15 reasons why Amazon is so successful, and if Amazon reviews affect sales.