The news of Amazon purchasing Whole Foods has bothered many pundits, with some outright claiming that such growth calls for punishing Amazon as a result through ant-trust laws. However, such reaction shows a fundamental misunderstanding of where such growth comes from.
A large corporation isn’t in and of itself inherently bad…what IS potentially bad are the steps that such a corporation took to attain it’s power (http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/wew/articles/fee/monopoly.html). A company that expands and accomplishes increased levels of market share through innovation and marketable success is to be applauded. Anyone can see such concepts with regard to Amazon, which has upended the marketplace through it’s more efficient, cheaper and consistent web service. Now such a service will be brought to the grocery line. Coupled with their recent drive to offer a simpler, potentially cheaper mode of convenience-store service through less labor (https://www.theverge.com/2016/12/5/13842592/amazon-go-new-cashier-less-convenience-store), and it is clear that Amazon offers a potentially better manner through which people can attain the goods that they need and/or want. Whether they are ultimately successful in such an endeavor is still yet to be realized, but it is clear that Amazon likely wouldn’t be where they are at today unless such a service was successful. This can be seen in the consistent high-marks that the company has garnered through customers over the years (http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170316005297/en/Amazon-Customers-1-Ranking-American-Customer-Satisfaction; https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesinsights/2016/03/29/l-l-bean-amazon-and-nordstrom-are-customer-service-champions-according-to-consumers/#1ca656fe7cb2; https://www.forbes.com/sites/prospernow/2012/08/28/amazon-1-in-customer-service-but-will-this-lead-to-sustainable-loyalty/#2c56d1fe6b90). Contrast this with more coercive companies like Comcast, which are given more consistently-lower ratings by consumers (http://www.pcmag.com/news/350979/comcast-is-americas-most-hated-company; https://consumerist.com/2014/04/08/congratulations-to-comcast-your-2014-worst-company-in-america/), yet are propped up by public policy, whether federally or locally, that insulates them from the pain of consumer angst/competition (https://www.wired.com/2013/07/we-need-to-stop-focusing-on-just-cable-companies-and-blame-local-government-for-dismal-broadband-competition/; https://www.aei.org/publication/the-european-unions-broadband-challenge/). What this demonstrates is that policy policy shouldn’t be used to punish companies that attain their growth through innovation and customer satisfaction. If anything, public policy has instead been shown to offer protection to some companies at the behest of others through the use of minimum price controls, taxes, license provisions, or entry restrictions. That ultimately is a loss to the consumer. Even Amazon has been known to dabble in such public dealings as well, such as supporting wide-spread sales taxes that would prove a burden for it’s smaller competitors (http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2013/04/22/178407898/why-amazon-supports-an-online-sales-tax-bill)…then again, such a thing wouldn’t be possible if our public officials didn’t dabble in such affairs in the first place.
In any case, as long as it continues to offer nothing but a better choice and satisfaction to the consumer, Amazon should be allowed to continue going on it’s merry way…while those that don’t should be allowed to face the music without the government shielding them.