The Cost of Free Shipping
Amazon in the Global Economy
'Amazon Capitalism' grows ever stronger. This book provides the answers on how to fight the company's terrifying omnipotence.
**Winner of the UALE Book Award 2021**
Amazon is the most powerful corporation on the planet and its CEO, Jeff Bezos, has become the richest person in history, and one of the few people to profit from a global pandemic. Its dominance has reshaped the global economy itself: we live in the age of 'Amazon Capitalism'.
'One-click' instant consumerism and its immense variety of products has made Amazon a worldwide household name, with over 60% of US households subscribing to Amazon Prime. In turn, these subscribers are surveilled by the corporation. Amazon is also one of the world's largest logistics companies, resulting in weakened unions and lowered labor standards. The company has also become the largest provider of cloud-computing services and home surveillance systems, not to mention the ubiquitous Alexa.
With cutting-edge analyses, this book looks at the many dark facets of the corporation, including automation, surveillance, tech work, workers' struggles, algorithmic challenges, the disruption of local democracy and much more. The Cost of Free Shipping shows how Amazon represents a fundamental shift in global capitalism that we should name, interrogate and be primed to resist.
Jake Alimahomed-Wilson is Professor of Sociology at California State University, Long Beach. He is the author of Solidarity Forever? Race, Gender, and Unionism in the Ports of Southern California (Lexington Books, 2016), and the editor of Choke Points (Pluto, 2018).
Ellen Reese is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Riverside, and author of They Say Cutback, We Say Fightback! and co-editor of Wages of Empire.
'Drawing on deep and wide-ranging scholarship, this compelling collection provides heartening evidence of push-back by communities and organised labour against Amazon. Essential reading.'- Kirsty Newsome, Professor of Employment Relations, Sheffield University
A must-read for scholars and activists alike. This stellar collection of essays documents exploitation and resistance at Amazon across the globe.- Carolina Bank Muñoz, Tow Professor of Sociology, City University of New York
'This important and timely book on Amazon's global empire is a must read for those who are concerned about economic inequality, massive public surveillance, and the threat to worker rights and democracy around the world'- Kent Wong, Director, UCLA Labor Center
'This brilliant compilation of essays shows us how, like Walmart before it, Amazon has risen to global dominance through shrewd use of technology, data systems and supply chains, and also by skirting and breaking laws'- Professor Stephanie Luce, School of Labor and Urban Studies, CUNY
'More than a book about Amazon. It is about the transition in global capitalism and its implications not only for Amazon's workforce, but on the global working class'- Bill Fletcher, Jr., executive editor of globalafricanworker.com
'An excellent book … it is clearly written and contains a stack of information about Amazon’s practices and the resistance they are generating'- Socialist Book Reviews
'Those hoping to build more power for workers have much to learn from this book’s examination of organizing within Amazon'- Labor Notes
'Offers important insights into Amazon’s insidious nature, the challenges of organizing, and also some glimmers of organizing success at the local and national levels'- Jonathan Rosenblum, Jacobin
'Absolutely essential reading for every driver, warehouse associate, and tech worker at Amazon'- Anonymous Amazon worker, Stansbury Forum
List of Figures and Tables
Preface: Amazon and the Future of Work in the Global Economy - Ruth Milkman
Introduction: Amazon Capitalism - Jake Alimahomed-Wilson, Juliann Allison, and Ellen Reese
PART I - AMAZON’S RISE IN GLOBAL POWER
1. Amazon: Context, Structure, and Vulnerability - Kim Moody
2. Power Accrues to the Powerful: Amazon’s Market Share, Customer Surveillance, and Internet Dominance - Dana M. Williams
3. Transnational Amazon: Labor Exploitation and the Rise of E-Commerce in South Asia - Jeb Sprague and Sreerekha Sathi
PART II - EXPLOITATION AND RESISTANCE ACROSS AMAZON’S GLOBAL EMPIRE
4. The Amazonification of Logistics: E-Commerce, Labor, and Exploitation in the Last Mile - Jake Alimahomed-Wilson
5. Automation and the Surveillance-Driven Warehouse in Inland Southern California - Jason Struna and Ellen Reese
6. Gender, Race, and Amazon Warehouse Labor in the United States - Ellen Reese
7. A New Industrial Working Class? Challenges in Disrupting Amazon’s Fulfillment Process in Germany - Nantina Vgontzas
8. A Struggle for Bodies and Souls: Amazon Management and Union Strategies in France and Italy - Francesco Massimo
PART III - COMMUNITIES CONFRONTING THE E-COMMERCE GIANT
9. Company Town: What Happens to a City and its Democracy when Amazon Dominates? - Katie Wilson
10. Lessons from New York City’s Struggle Against Amazon HQ2 in Long Island City - Steve Lang and Filip Stabrowski
11. What Happens When Amazon Comes to Town? Environmental Impacts, Local Economies, and Resistance in Inland Southern California - Juliann Emmons Allison
12. Worker and Community Organizing to Challenge Amazon’s Algorithmic Threat - Sheheryar Kaoosji
PART IV - STRUGGLING TO WIN AGAINST AMAZON
13. Amazon Strikes in Europe: Seven Years of Industrial Action, Challenges, and Strategies - Jörn Boewe and Johannes Schulten
14. Bursting the Bubble: The Emerging Tech Worker Movement at Amazon - Spencer Cox
15. The CEO Has No Clothes: Worker Leadership and Amazon’s Failures During COVID-19 - Dania Rajendra
16. Think Big: Organizing a Successful Amazon Workers’ Movement in the United States by Combining the Strengths of the Left and Organized Labor - Peter Olney and Rand Wilson
17. Amazonians United! An Interview with DCH1 (Chicago) Amazonians United - DCH1 Amazonians United
Conclusion: Resisting Amazon Capitalism - Jake Alimahomed-Wilson and Ellen Reese
About the Authors
Hardcover ISBN: 9780745341477
eBook ISBN: 9781786807526
135mm x 215mm