Amazon has usurped Walmart as the unscrupulous capitalist king of industry — at least according to Business Insider.
Kate Taylor writes, “Walmart was seen as the biggest villain in American capitalism in the second half of the 20th century. Now, as e-commerce explodes, Amazon is becoming the new symbol for everything that’s wrong with big business in the US in the 21st century.”
A tale of two Amazons: Why Seattle’s boogeyman has the opposite reputation outside its hometown
Taylor cites Amazon’s silence on calls to stop streaming the NRA’s TV channel while Walmart raised age limits for purchasing firearms to 21. She also says that Amazon’s preference for government incentives, in its search for a second headquarters location, has revealed company’s mercenary culture. Meanwhile, Walmart has spent millions trying to rehabilitate its reputation.
These developments pile onto a 2015 New York Times exposé portraying a ruthless company culture (the validity of which Amazon has denied) and growing resentment in the company’s hometown, Seattle.
But Amazon has undoubtedly been a boon to Seattle’s economy and driven massive job growth, despite the related challenges. The company claims it has invested over $4 billion in Seattle, paying employees more than $25 billion over the past seven years. Amazon consistently gets high popularity and reputation ratings in customer surveys. The company has also partnered with Seattle non-profits, like Mary’s Place and FareStart, contributing $1 million match donations to both.
Despite those efforts, Taylor says Amazon’s reputation is suffering new blows.
“For a long time, Amazon’s progressive, tech-y reputation has shielded it from criticism of industry giants like Walmart,” she writes. “Now, that’s changing, with a series of incidents denting how Americans perceive the chain.”
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is a past investor in Business Insider, owning 3 percent of the publication at one time. Business Insider tells GeekWire Bezos is no longer an investor.