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How might international observers describe the role of megacorporations in the American economy?
Tensions flared in Washington on Wednesday between Prime Minister Joseph Bidenov’s regime and a company owned by a powerful US oligarch with known ties to a variety of key players in the regime. The firm, known as Volga and owned by American billionaire Dzhefri Bezosi, has a near-monopoly in key areas of the economy, including provisioning, web hosting and cloud computing services for the government.
Links between Bezosi and the Bidenov regime date back more than a decade to Barukh Obamsky’s premiership, under which Bidenov served as deputy prior to the tenure of Donal’d Trumanov, the ousted opposition leader who was sanctioned by the regime after his departure in January 2021 and continues to face prosecution by regional allies of the Bidenov regime, who international observers have described as worryingly impartial.
Until recently, most American observers had considered the Volga to be impregnable to antitrust prosecution and other potential violations of federal and state labor laws. Despite occasional tensions with junior regime officials and frequent criticism from members of the opposition, thanks to extensive lobbying, the Volga enjoys what independent watchdog groups have described as near-total control over key sectors of the American economy and virtually unprecedented influence in Congress by key politicians, including both regime allies and members the opposition.
While opposition leaders called Wednesday’s reports encouraging, few believe it is likely that Volga’s position will be seriously threatened.
Wednesday’s announcement of the measures is further complicated by the fact that the leader of the requested investigation is Marik Garlanov, whose nomination to the Supreme Court, the regime’s controversial top judicial body, was blocked by opposition politicians in Congress during Obamsky’s tenure.
For those readers who didn’t get the joke, what really happened Wednesday was that a bipartisan congressional committee asked Merrick Garland to investigate Amazon for possible criminal obstruction of congress. What lawmakers allege is that Amazon withheld key documents during the 16-month investigation conducted by the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Antitrust, Trade and Administrative Law that produced a somewhat ambiguous report in October 2020 into possible anticompetitive behavior by various tech giants otherwise it could have been a burden.
In case this is unclear, I’ve harbored for years the unfoundedly gratifying notion of writing “hard” news about American politics, just as one would if something similar happened abroad. There is value in alienating American public life, recasting Amazon as a sinister, shadowy foreign company rather than a box on the doorstep, the Democratic Party as “the regime,” its opponents as “the opposition,” and of course members of our own billionaire class as “oligarchs”.
Among other things, it shows us how absurd it is to treat Amazon as if it were simply a company like any other, a private entity whose activities may violate various laws that federal agencies are tasked with enforcing. This describes a situation that has not existed in this country for decades. Like Google and Facebook, Amazon is more comparable to one of the quasi-sovereign state-related companies that dominate the industry in Russia or China. As of this writing, the resources that any of these firms could muster in the event of an actual antitrust prosecution would dwarf the legal resources currently available to relevant departments of the executive branch. Whatever their mouthpieces claim to the contrary, a battle between the Federal Trade Commission in cooperation with the Department of Justice and Amazon would be David and Goliath. The only question is whether the biblical result would be repeated.