This Is Why We Should Piss on Robert Bork’s Grave

Robert Bork, and a collection of self-interested capitalists, rewrote antitrust law by buying the (rather small) academic antitrust law community.

Bork supplied the intellectual masturbation that has always served as a cover for the corporatist agenda.

It took anti-trust from an effort to regulate the abuse of corporate power to a a lord of the flies scenario where only an immediate increase in consumer prices was the only justification for limiting corporate power.

Amazon is the bastard child of this policy, and in what is one of the best examples of abuse of monopoly power, the online retailer used its extensive data collected from the 3rd party sellers it serves to launch competing products.

This is directly analogous to John D. Rockefeller’s owning all the oil tanker rolling stock in the United States to control the market: Inc. employees have used data about independent sellers on the company’s platform to develop competing products, a practice at odds with the company’s stated policies.

The online retailing giant has long asserted, including to Congress, that when it makes and sells its own products, it doesn’t use information it collects from the site’s individual third-party sellers—data those sellers view as proprietary.

Yet interviews with more than 20 former employees of Amazon’s private-label business and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal reveal that employees did just that. Such information can help Amazon decide how to price an item, which features to copy or whether to enter a product segment based on its earning potential, according to people familiar with the practice, including a current employee and some former employees who participated in it.

In one instance, Amazon employees accessed documents and data about a bestselling car-trunk organizer sold by a third-party vendor. The information included total sales, how much the vendor paid Amazon for marketing and shipping, and how much Amazon made on each sale. Amazon’s private-label arm later introduced its own car-trunk organizers.

“Like other retailers, we look at sales and store data to provide our customers with the best possible experience,” Amazon said in a written statement. “However, we strictly prohibit our employees from using nonpublic, seller-specific data to determine which private label products to launch.”

Amazon said employees using such data to inform private-label decisions in the way the Journal described would violate its policies, and that the company has launched an internal investigation.

Break it up now.

Leave a Reply