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The Cost of Free Shipping: Amazon in the Global Economy

Tue, May 11 @ 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Free

from the Pluto Books Wildcat Series

with Editors Jake Alimahomed-Wilson and Ellen Reese

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. His research interests are in the areas of logistics, racism and labour, and workers’ struggles. He is the author of Solidarity Forever? Race, Gender, and Unionism in the Ports of Southern California (Lexington Books, 2016), co-author of Getting the Goods: Ports, Labor, and the Logistics Revolution (Cornell University Press, 2008) 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.

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