Jeff Bezos, a space Marxist? | New Republic

Anyway, Bezos wrote, the accusation that Amazon mistreats worker bees who, three months ago, did not in Bezos’s view create value for the company, isn’t accurate. 

Story Highlights:

  • To his credit, Bezos allows many of these reports to appear in the newspaper he owns, The Washington Post. The Post employees who report such stories increase page views, which may or may not create profit. I’m not sure I really believe the Post is making money, but if it is then we have a circumstance that would make Marx’s head spin. The surplus value created by exposés about labor abuses at Amazon enriches the capitalist who committed them. It calls to mind the scene in Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid where Chaplin gets little Jackie Coogan to throw a rock through a pane-glass window, then immediately shows up with a new pane to sell to his victim. Perhaps Bezos should have thanked Post reporters for bankrolling his space adventure. But that wouldn’t have been prudent, because the Post has a union.

  • Employees are able to take informal breaks throughout their shifts to stretch, get water, use the rest room, or talk to a manager, all without impacting their performance. These informal work breaks are in addition to the 30-minute lunch and 30-minute break built into their normal schedule. 

They get to stretch? And pee? And talk to their managers (so long as it isn’t about starting a union)? Surely no dictatorship of the proletariat could improve on that.

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