Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Bozo the Clown Purchases the Post

Yet another person with way too much money and too much time on his hands poses to create a lot of trouble. This despite assurances Bezos will be largely a hands-off owner of the Washington Post.

What he's done to the workers is unconscionable. What he is doing to publishing is equally as bad, with his eBook scheme making the ownership of books a thing of the past, since purchasers don't OWN the titles they download to a Kindle or a computer.

I only download free titles or titles of 1 or 2 dollars, while concentrating my book purchases to the real thing. Reading off a reader is an inferior experience to a real book.

About those Amazon working conditions:

His company, however, is notorious for paying poverty wages to its warehouse employees. The average warehouse associate starts at $11 per hour, or about $23,852 per year. The company has received major tax abatements in areas where it has set up warehouses. It has, for instance, received a sales tax waiver from the state of Tennessee for setting up a pair of fulfillment centers there, including one visited by President Obama last week.

Working conditions at the Amazon fulfillment centers are reported to be abysmal. The Financial Times reported in February that workers “might walk between seven and 15 miles” each day, and “must walk through a set of airport-style security scanners to prove they are not stealing anything” at the end of their shifts. The report noted that “a very large number” of workers are fired “frequently and with little warning or explanation.”

The Seattle Times on April 3, 2012 reported that Amazon workers were threatened and in some cases fired for reporting workplace injuries to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and a class-action lawsuit is currently pending against the company for short-changing workers’ paychecks.

Despite Bezos’ own claims that he will seek a “hands-off” role in running the Washington Post, the fact is that his purchase of the newspaper gives him control over one of the world’s leading news outlets and vastly increased influence over the flow of public information. It underscores the dominance of a small group of billionaires over all aspects of social and political life.

Bezos should pull out of the deal if he has a conscience. I am not counting on either thing happening, though.

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