Amazon Prime is the world’s second most popular subscription service (after Netflix), with 200 million subscribers. The service was introduced in 2005, and has since used the lure of “free shipping” to create a loyal and huge customer base. Now that Amazon also owns Whole Foods, this loyalty can extend to all of our shopping needs – Amazon has it all! Their explicit goal in creating this corporate “holiday” was to surpass Black Friday, which, before Bezos outdid it, was the most frenzied all-you-can-shop holiday. On their “History of Prime Day” (yes, it is a real thing), Amazon tells us with pride that in 2015 “customers bought more items than on Black Friday 2014, our biggest Black Friday ever at the time.” Prime is a brilliant way to make us pay a fee so they can tempt us into buying even more stuff. Who can resist the allure of “free shipping” (even when we know it isn’t really free)?
Capitalist society has been dominated by monopolies or near-monopolies like Amazon for over a century. A century ago, the biggest capitalists were called “robber barons,” because workers knew that the wealth of the capitalists is always a stolen product of our labor. The only thing that has changed since then is the sheer size of the capitalists’ corporations. Given how much they own, the economic and political power held by the top dogs like Bezos, Musk, and Gates is unprecedented. And they’ll continue to hold these powers for as long as we let them.
Who knows? If we let this rotten system continue long enough, maybe Jeff Bezos will become President. Then he can make Prime Day a Federal holiday, so we can shop nonstop without worrying about the workday getting in the way. That would make it (for him at least) the ultimate capitalist holiday.