If Amazon.com is as awful as it seems – Should I feel guilty?

“Former workers at a vast Amazon warehouse in eastern Pennsylvania say the LeHigh “fulfillment center” was a hellish place to work, a lengthy exposé by the Allentown Morning Call finds. Workers—most of whom were employed by a temp agency instead of Amazon itself—say they had to endure brutal heat and relentless demands to increase productivity.” (Newser)

All of my books are sold on Amazon.com. I have done promotion through Amazon. It provides distribution for certain of my books which are not easily found in chain bookstores. But first I see Amazon trying to force California not to make it collect sales tax–California badly needs that sales tax money–and now I hear of Uncle Tom’s Cabin conditions in their midwestern warehouses. It will make absolutely no difference to anyone if I choose to try to remove my books from Amazon…something I couldn’t do, for most of them, since the publishers control distribution…nor will it help for me to denounce the company. Nothing will change if I rage about the whole thing and make grand political declarations.

Nor will it help me to feel guilty to be associated with them. But I probably will feel that way, anyhow. Amazon is clearly not treating workers fairly. All I can do is write a letter to Amazon’s corporate HQ. And I will. But it seems to me that this dilemma is central to our times. I buy from stores that outsource to China where work conditions and remuneration can be appalling. I buy gas from companies that pollute–they all pollute. We’re trapped in a web of dependency on unethical corporations…

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