Online trading A life without Amazon is possible, but difficult
Anyone who buys from the online retailer has a guilty conscience but does what he wants – at a fair price. About the phenomenon Amazon.
The stock market reflects not only economic success and power relations, but also the state of society. The five most valuable companies in the world are Apple, Amazon, Alphabet (ie Google), Microsoft and Facebook. Except for Facebook, the other four in the stock market value in each case in the area of one trillion dollars. The oligarchic Five associates that without the Internet, they would not exist, and that without them, the Internet would not be what it is today. There is no event, no development, and no process in the history of humanity that has changed and influenced so much the entire world, but also the individual lives of billions of people, as the Internet has done in two decades. Even the scientific and technological revolution that began in the eighteenth century – mechanics, electricity, mass production, transportation – has dragged on for a long time.
On the one hand, one may see the net as a consequence of this slow revolution. On the other hand, the world has been in a new age for about 20 years. More and more people live, love, hate, work with and through the web; Politics, working life, travel, communication are now taking place in ever greater proportions in a completely different way than was the case in 1998. A man of the eleventh century would have made his way somewhat after some getting used to in the fifteenth century. But if someone fell through a time-fold from 1850 to 2018, he ended up in an incomprehensible, incomprehensible world.
Amazon is one of those phenomena that define the beginning of the digital age. One no longer buys localized, but does that over Klugtelefon and computer. As far as the acquired does not itself consist of data streams (films, series, music, electronic books), the delivery is still in a mix of new time and technology – poorly paid messengers bring the assembled from mostly poorly paid packaging workers stuff. Again, this will change in the foreseeable future through automated logistics and delivery systems, controlled by a sufficient proportion of intelligence, called “artificial” intelligence from a human point of view. At least the younger ones among us will probably experience machines distinguishing between their intelligence and human intelligence.
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In any case, about one-third of online commerce in Germany is already accounted for by Amazon. Possibly stationary stores and the local trading over the net will still exist side by side for quite some time. Pragmatically, however, you need less and less sales outlets in certain locations. Shops will survive where they can convey an experience – one does not speak with Alexa when shopping, but with one person; one strolls; You go through a shopping street as a social experience. This is similar to the progressive replacement of listening to music on sound carriers by streaming music. Amazon does both: it sells vinyl records and CDs, but also offers music at a ridiculous price – compared to recordings – over the internet. No wonder that Amazon has now also opened bookstores here and there, right bookstores with shelves. In a sense, an Amazon bookstore is sort of a re-enactment group for history-minded people: they put on new, old uniforms and pretend to live for a few hours like they did during the American Civil War. The re-enactor believes he is experiencing something that used to be normality, the present. Anyone entering an Amazon bookstore is a 20th-century re-enactor.
Amazons exemplify another development: when the human world was even younger and more straightforward, people first did things and then dealt with them when they made enough things and wanted other things. Production came before trade, trade was a function of production. Amazon is different, Amazon was the first trade. After the placeless business model of this trade functioned so well, Amazon found that it was possible to further promote trade through its own production. The result: there are plenty of things that Amazon now produces in-house, ranging from films to foodstuffs to textiles.
You have a bad conscience, but Sir Richard F. Burton on the reader
Incidentally, the same principle prevails in another area that Amazon cultivates, as far as Amazon maintains something beyond the money-making service concept. Almost anyone can publish a book on Amazon. You do not need any spooky agents anymore, no arrogant editors, no publishers and no bookstores – just because Amazon is all that. If the writing sells, it is fine. If not, the self-publishing author can claim that Franz Kafka had only very small editions.
No, for people who have been socialized in the 20th century, the rule of digital corporations does not sound good. And yet: Who except maybe those who see by conviction Bible-TV (even this is a digital transmitter), does not use a pocket phone, no Internet, still photographed on film, never buys at Amazon?
The latter, so much personal is allowed, I once tried. Amazon destroys bookstores, and because I think bookstores are more important than grocery stores (books are groceries), I have not ordered from Amazon for a while. But then I wanted the fourth season of a series and also the collected works of the explorer and adventurer Sir Richard F. Burton, who cost three fortunes in beautiful antiquarian editions. Amazon costs 18 350 pages of collected Burton 99 cents. You load them on the electric reading machine from Amazon and then always has them with you. So the bookstores are broken, Amazon is worth a trillion dollars, and the human has a guilty conscience, but also A Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah & Meccah on the Reader.