Items filtered by date: August 2015

Amazon, America's Dystopian Workplace

Thursday, 20 August 2015 23:28

Amazon’s workplace culture is an Orwellian edifice filled with sabotage, subterfuge and fear

As a technology and retail giant and forebear to the internet’s gilded age, Amazon was founded on the marriage of relentless technological innovation to volume driven discount pricing, and has brutally and efficiently eliminated vast categories of retailers, industries and product categories along the way. The retail carnage induced by Amazon has resulted in the closing of thousands of brick-and-mortar stores and even many “category killers”, but saved American consumers untold millions throughout the years. But, in a biopic reminiscent of the Grapes of Wrath, Amazon’s post-Orwellian dystopia was laid bare in an epic piece this week by the New York Times, here.

The Time’s Jodi Kantor and David Streitfeld systematically portray Amazon as a soul-crushing, often brutal workplace more akin to Orwell’s “1984” rather than an enlightened, creative twenty-first century workplace, complete with its own thought-police, doublethink, Inner Party, Outer Party and Proles. Even the headline banner within the Time’s piece suggests a highly toxic workplace environment and nineteenth century vestige rather than that of a free-wheeling, free-thinking paragon of collaborative synergy. The article notes that the “company is conducting an experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers to get them to achieve its ever-expanding ambitions.”

What Kantor and Streitfeld brilliantly exposed was the amazing deception occasioned on an unsuspecting public and consumer, who for years has been accustomed to Amazon’s cheery and nearly zealous religious idolatry of its brand and image. The Land of Oz is revealed as a mere, nineteenth century sweatshop and cult, its unsuspecting victims the tens of thousands of young-ish workers, most with advanced degrees, who have been brainwashed to drink the kool-aid brewed by resident sociopath and psychopath Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO.

The Bezos minions, called “Amabots” by fellow Amazonians, are encouraged to “become one with the system”. This is eerily reminiscent of Star Trek’s dystopian Borg Collective, which enforced the complete loss of individual identity to the greater “mother ship” and its goals and objectives.


Category: The Economy