The US economy has become increasingly centralized in the 21st century and Jeff Bezos’ monopoly is at the center of it all, suppressing competition from the marketplace. Amazon is now a marketing platform, a delivery and logistics network, a payment service, a credit lender, a fashion designer, an auction house, a major book publisher, television and film producer, a hardware manufacturer, and a leading host of cloud server space. After acquiring Whole Foods for $13.4 billion, Bezos has signaled to the world that his empire isn’t done taking over the economy. With Whole Foods now merging with Amazon, Bezos has monopoly control over the health products industry. This is only the beginning of companies folding to Bezos.
Not even the iconic Nike shoe and clothing company can compete with Bezos’ growing monopoly. For the first time ever, Nike has been pushed to enter into a deal with Amazon. Amazon has become an open door for unauthorized third party sellers. These unauthorized sellers sell Nike products indirectly on the Amazon website. Nike is now the top clothing brand sold on Amazon even though the company itself doesn’t directly sell through the online retailer.
This is the sad state of economics that Amazon has wrought upon the American people and the rest of the world. Gone are the days of innovative entrepreneurs coming uep with their own ideas, products, and companies. Instead, entrepreneurs are buying up large stocks of big name products like Nike, only to resell them, unauthorized, on the Amazon website.
The problem has grown so immense, that the world’s largest sportswear maker has no choice but to give in to Amazon and begin selling their products directly with the Bezonian behemoth. This is the only path forward for Nike to crack down on the widespread unauthorized selling of their products – by folding to the giant online retailer that has created the conditions for this kind of market control in the first place.
In the new Nike-Amazon deal, Amazon agrees to finally monitor its website for illegal third-party sales of Nike products. Nike must agree to offer a certain amount of product directly for Amazon. In either event, Amazon has used their position to grow more powerful. How will companies be able to compete if they are being sucked into this Amazon power play? Who will be able to step up and stop this?
“I think of Amazon as serving almost as the essential infrastructure for the American economy at this point, when it comes to commerce. And that affords Amazon a lot of power and control,” says Lina Khan, a member of the think tank New America’s Open Markets team. Khan calls on Amazon to receive more anti-trust scrutiny in The Yale Law Journal.
Amazon gets away with its monopolistic endeavors because, on the surface, they don’t seem to be interested in charging enough to make a profit. This has made Amazon popular with consumers and helped the giant online retailer skirt anti-trust regulations. Nevertheless, Amazon has become one of the largest retailers, boasting $107 billion in sales in 2015 and consuming an estimated 46 percent of the online retail space. Instead of focusing on generating large profit margins, Amazon has instead focused heavily on expansion. Since anti-trust laws have historically viewed low consumer price points as a sign of sound competition practices, nothing is ever done about Amazon’s dominance. Unless the anti-trust laws adapt to Amazon’s shrewd monopolistic practices, Bezos will continue slyly squeezing out the competition in the marketplace and stifling American businesses.