Dissecting the Amazon Empire

Amazon has gone too far, but is it too late to reign it in?
February 20, 2020, 1:00pmUpdated on February 20, 2020, 1:11pm
Jeff Bezos stands in the background with a consternated expression, framed by a camera operation and their camera.
Image: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

When we think of the titans of industry, we used to think of names like Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Vanderbilt. But today, in 2020, we have new names that dominate the world economy: Zuckerberg, Cook, Musk, and Thiel. Above them stands one man: Jeff Bezos. Although those names control industries that are less obvious than the sprouting giant steel bridges or skyscrapers of the Second Industrial Revolution, their products arguably have just as big of an impact on our lives.

Silicon Valley has become the epicenter of innovation and industry, where apps and devices dictate what our very society looks like. But lately, the sheen is coming off of these monolithic, billion-dollar companies.

And while giants like Facebook have faced questions about how its platform was used to manipulate our political system and Apple has been criticised for its abusive labor practices in China, one company is only recently coming under the collective microscope: Amazon.

Jeff Bezos’ empire has enjoyed a meteoric rise. And now, Amazon has become one of the most powerful, single corporate entities in the entire world. But what does that mean for all of us?

In an excellent new documentary for PBS’s FRONTLINE, journalist James Jacoby examines Amazon with a fine toothed-comb. From its treatment of its factory workers, Ring, to Alexa, and asking the same question throughout: Has Amazon gone too far? This week, we have Jacoby on the show to tell us more.

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