“Amazon’s business model poses serious problems”, says French Socialist MP – EURACTIV.com


In an opinion piece published on France Info last week, 120 politicians and union leaders called for “Amazon’s expansion to stop.” In an interview with EURACTIV France, MEP Dominique Potier spoke of the need to rethink society’s approach to consumption.

Dominique Potier (PS), Socialist deputy for Meurthe-et-Moselle, is one of the authors of the opinion piece.

Contrary to the much publicized #NoelsansAmazon petition (# NoëlsansAmazon petition), the Op-Ed that you signed calls not only to exclude the Californian giant from the end-of-year celebrations, but also to “deeply rethink our consumption patterns. “. Why such a radical tone?

The situation is urgent. Amazon’s business model poses serious problems on several levels. First of all in terms of distortion of competition: this is one of the GAFAMs [Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft] it is hardly – taxed. Additionally, Amazon can crush its prices with its global influence, creating unsustainable power relationships for any other seller.

Its environmental impact is often singled out, and rightly so. Even if we do not always have detailed references on the subject, with a little common sense we can imagine that this system of delivery throughout the world is ultimately more energy intensive and more resource-destructive than traditional commerce.

Amazon does not contribute to the common good through taxes. It destroys the values ​​of the real economy and the environment … all this by cutting jobs in local shops. The editorial deals precisely with this issue. As for the jobs created, the salary conditions are very questionable.

My goal here is not to argue for the demonization of Amazon. It is above all an opportunity to remind people that their business model is not imperative. Another way of thinking about trade exists: in the distribution of value, in the common effort, in the economy of resources, and in the maintenance of a social life that generates jobs.

To reopen local stores, the government has offered to postpone “Black Friday,” which major retailers, including Amazon, have already agreed to. What do you think of this postponement?

I’d rather postpone Black Friday ad vitam aeternam. For me, this commercial frenzy seems very worrying to me, in a world which should think its relation to time, to consumption and to others with more wisdom.

These aggressive and permanent sales systems end up making us forget any sense of value. The untimely sales deprive the producer of the thought and the labor behind his products.

Ultimately, the risk is that everyone, producers and consumers alike, forgets that things have value.

So lowering prices would make us less conscientious?

That’s for sure. The giants of e-commerce impact producers but also ultimately consumers. It is human dignity that is at stake here: both as a producer, who sees the value of his goods reduced to almost nothing, and as a consumer, who is always forced to consume more. Accumulating goods is so easy that it becomes trivial.

As a society, this voluntary servitude must challenge us, so that we can free ourselves from it and find meaning in our ways of producing and consuming. The postponement of Black Friday is certainly a lesser evil, but remains a misunderstanding. The solution would be a regulated sales system adapted to the storage seasons.

What’s terrifying about Amazon is that it’s timeless and, in that sense, deeply destructive. When you order something on Amazon, there are no Sundays or public holidays… I dream of a world where e-commerce could be regulated and culturally adapted to the rhythm of our societies.

The Op-Ed also calls for the establishment of an “exceptional tax on the turnover of Amazon”.

Indeed, two solutions are considered:

First for the short term. This exceptional crisis allowed Amazon to rake in huge profits. Likewise, “exceptional taxation” must be put in place. The amount of such a tax would ensure the survival of the entire sector. It is a question of social justice.

The second would have a long-term impact. Both Amazon and all GAFAMs are structurally under-taxed. A rebalancing is necessary, in particular with regard to e-commerce warehouses which, unlike physical commerce, are not taxed.

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