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Amazon and State Appeasement

If all cities and state governments acted the same way, then they should not treat certain businesses differently than others regardless of their size. The reason for this is that a civil government would not be tied to a particular means of production, especially in a manner that would mix the interests of governance with the interests of a company. If the government recognizes the interest of a company as the interest of the state then the government is encouraged to act in a manner that is not truly beneficial to the polity but instead beneficial to that business. Businesses come and go all the time and there very much could be diminishing returns to investing in one business. Sure, some cities and even states may begin because of a business but they cannot remain vibrant being contingent on the success of that business or industry. Why is there a Rust Belt? Those cities and states invested their capital into businesses and industries that ended up leaving as soon as they could find cheaper labor elsewhere; they failed due to a lack of innovation since the government subsidized or deducted taxes that made businesses rest on their laurels. Those cities and states should have invested in society, not a specific means of production since a particular industry will not last forever nor will be the most profitable for long.

The reason why this separation of business and state likely won’t be established is because not all cities or states act the same way. Meaning that there are competitive advantages in the short run that are too alluring for politicians to ignore. This sounds Machiavellian, as governments do what they think they should to get reelected or to seemingly benefit the society they were elected for. If one city does not accept Amazon, another will, and that other city will reap the short run rewards; this is how politicians are observed to think. They tend to leave out the long run effects of giving large business benefits. What if Amazon is accepted in NYC and gets tax deductions on the promise of providing jobs and then Amazon just automates and causes local prices to skyrocket? An example would be large sports events like the Olympics, sure the state and wealthy get a lot of money, but after the Olympics those places and the people who live there are destitute. Their welfare does not increase and sometimes it decreases and yet their “representatives” allow for subsidies and tax deductions to go through anyway. This is because representatives are not always representing the interests of the people but instead of businesses.

If a business is truly healthy for a polity then it will grow naturally and from the bottom up; from the demands of the market not the policies of the government. Therefore city and state governments should not pursue large corporations proactively but instead lay the framework for the people to choose and develop industry on their own.

As Mayor De Blasio and under the presumption that I am trying to curry favor from Amazon I would prioritize the impact Amazon would have on the community. Amazon is promising 25,000 jobs with an “average” of $150,000; I would ask for salary mode instead of mean since averages can be skewed easily. I would also wonder how many jobs would be lost if a large retail and shipping company like Amazon was dropped onto NYC. How many jobs from other retail and shipping companies would be lost because a wealthier, tax deducted, privileged, behemoth that is Amazon can now compete with them to death? If there is a net job increase that is preferable but does the city have the right workers for Amazon already living here or would there have to be a migration of skilled workers from outside of the city to fill the employment quota? If a migration is needed how will that impact the current residents of the city? Gentrification would certainly increase which would heavily disrupt the local culture of the city that Amazon claims to care about. There is also the issue of infrastructure since the city's roads and subways would not be able to handle the increase in traffic caused by Amazon trucks and vans going in and out of the city which would drive up traffic times and encourage more people to use the subway which would increase foot traffic to the subways.

Amazon could have gathered committees of representatives from the local areas to discuss the issues I brought up earlier. Meeting with city officials and being public would have been so much better for Amazon since in reality many local officials only learned about it through the very biased media which affected their opinions on the topic. Had Amazon been more open about and included local representatives the backlash would have been less and support for the decision would have increased. There is a trade off, however, and that would be that prices of real estate would have risen. This is why Amazon should have, and they actually did, talk to multiple cities to make sure that realtors wouldn’t increase prices before a decision was made. This could still have been done while being open; just be open with multiple cities. This might have actually decreased real estate prices as there would have been competition to attract Amazon.

The opinions that matter the most are the people via their representatives. If the local and state officers are not willing to work together and there is an increasing opposition to the negotiations that is probably a clear sign to steer clear from that area. As mentioned before, Amazon could have garnered much more cooperation and support from locals had they been more open and allowed local representatives to voice their opinions directly instead of only learning about the deal through the media.

Next important opinions would be the shareholders and employees but they pretty much have the same interest of being in a place with low taxes, good infrastructure, and high opportunity to increase their wealth in general. Another opinion to consider might be the rest of the nation, especially the less amicable opinions against large businesses. If Amazon goes to a place and ends up ruining it, that will be fuel for anti-large business sentiments across the nation making it more difficult to find a decent place later. Finding the best place is essential and that requires observing many viewpoints and variables along with analysis of potential rewards along with risks.

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