Amazon Might Actually Be Good for the American Retail Industry (HBO)

Today, Amazon held one of the largest
single-day hiring events in American history, hoping to make 50,000 job offers
in a span of only a few hours. It’s another sign of its growing
dominance of the retail business. Meanwhile, traditional retailers are in freefall— that shift from brick and mortar stores to e-commerce is often seen as a bad trade-off, but what if that’s not the case? — The bigger Amazon gets, the more everyone worries about
the so-called retail apocalypse, which has seen nine retailers go bankrupt this year, and chains like J.C. Penney, Macy’s, and Sears shut down hundreds of stores. The retail industry employs hundreds
of thousands of Americans, many of them with only a high school degree. And e-commerce, by definition,
threatens many of those jobs. But what if the death of these
traditional storefronts and shopping malls is actually something we should be celebrating? What if the rise of e-commerce has
actually left American workers better off? Michael Mandel, an economist at the Progressive Policy Institute, started asking those questions last year. And the answers he’s found might surprise you: — Really what’s going on is that
this has become a job creator, because it turns out that if people are willing
to shop online if they can get the stuff quickly, and getting the stuff quickly means that you have to have fulfillment centers
located near every large city. Since the peak of the last business cycle
in December 2007, the number of total e-commerce jobs
has risen by about 400,000, much more than the 140,000 jobs that
have been lost in brick and mortar retail. — These jobs, however many of them there might be, are traditionally thought of as poor-paying,
temporary gigs with awful working conditions. The gigs are tougher, and tend to be more physically demanding. But Mandel finds that e-commerce jobs pay 31 percent more on average than
their brick and mortar retail counterparts. And unlike traditional retail, are usually full-time positions, with benefits. — This is a case where technology is creating jobs for people with a high school education
that pay decent wages for their area. Honestly, I view this as a potential
harbinger of economic spring— that, in fact, it turns out that the technology economy can produce jobs for people
who are not software developers. The only people it’s not good news for
is the shopping mall owners who find themselves in possession of real estate that may not be worth as much as it was before. — It’s hard to argue with Mandel on a day when
Amazon is ready to hire 50,000 new workers. But he may be underestimating
the longer-term impacts of automation. E-commerce is built on productivity, and humans will never be as productive as robots. They’re also much easier to replace when
they’re working out of sight in a warehouse, instead of at the front of a store.

100 thoughts on “Amazon Might Actually Be Good for the American Retail Industry (HBO)

  1. I'll just weight in here. Founded in 1989, PPI started as the intellectual home of the New Democrats and earned a reputation as President Bill Clinton’s “idea mill.” a WARNING SIGN. Michael Mandel was trained in economics during the last 7 decades. A time when all schooling in the field of economics was/is based on Keynesian theory "a fairy tale " . Which fits nicely with his views on this subject. WARNING SIGN.

    Emeritus of economics at Auburn University and Associated Scholar of the Mises Institut, Roger W. Garrison sums it up; "Keynesian theory is a set of mutually reinforcing but jointly unsupportable propositions about how certain macroeconomic aggregates are related to one another. Keynesian policy is a set of self-justifying policy prescriptions."

  2. I really hate buying clothes online , usually either the clothes is to big or small and I have to send it back wait even more. I like walking into a store lookin around n stuff

  3. I worked at amazon for about a year and I can tell you that almost every single job in there can be done by machines and will be done by machines in the near future

  4. The amount of people who are lining up to apply for the positions proves how many people are desperate for work. The unemployment rate is obviously downplayed by the government.

  5. amazon treats their workers like shit… CHINA LIKE WAGES….. this is going to kill us. jobs will be dead F U Vice you dont have shit. THEY MAKe the workers suicidal. DO YOU WANT THIS FUTUre?!

  6. Things change. I hate getting in my car driving, parking and seeing all the same junk in malls. J.C. Penney, Sears and Macy's sells all junk. Nothing I want. I can just google what I want and get it for a lower price and poof it's at my door.

  7. Progressive policy institute. Lol. I like the convenience of Amazon. I like the pricing of Amazon. I like reading the reviews on Amazon. To say that Amazon is good for jobs is laughable. The jobs are tough and grueling and will continue to be replaced by automation. I like shopping on Amazon a lot. Hate Jeff Bezos. Hate their radical leftist corporate culture. Amazon has helped create jobs for the USPS, UPS, and FedEx. Will continue to shop on Amazon. Amazon as a whole does way more good then bad. The convenience is off the charts. America has way to much retail space. Way more then any other country in the world. A lot needs to be shuttered.

  8. Corporations are not People. I meet Mr. Bezos, during the "hey days" of E-Commerce he is only 5'5". At at the time very freindly (before making it BIG) I worked as a lead in a Midwest Warehouse. Money at that time was good for type of work we did. I bid you Peace.

  9. i see retail staying in some capacity. the problem is that there are too many of the same store. but people still want to go to the store to try things out. im a college student and our generation is being blamed for the rise of ecommerce, but even in my marketing class, everyone responded that they still go to retail stores. many stores will close, but we all agreed there should be atleast 1 store of each retailer in every city. right now, we have 4-5 of each retailer in every city. cut that down to 1-2. one in the city center and one somewhere for the suburbs. problem solved.

  10. I'm going to miss trying out clothes in person instead of looking at a image behind a screen in the next 20 years….

  11. Vice news supports a company that treats it's employees like shit…… that's some journalism you got there

  12. Malls should be redesigned into cultural and entertainment hubs for cities. I place you can bring your kids, see movies, eat at fancy places, walk through gardens and do other community stuff. You'd still have businesses to run, but they wouldn't be dependent on the retail industry and you'd still have a way to draw small communities together in a place they all know.

  13. Ill rather have stores then amazon, at least you can get help if there is anything you wonder about. And also better to see items in real life cause to much crap on the market.

  14. This piece entirely ignores that small, local retail businesses exist, and Amazon has hit their sales in a bit way as well. Super disappointing thing to ignore. Come on, Vice, we know you can do better.

  15. Interesting, Amazon CEO starts supporting Liberal publications, and all of a sudden Amazon becomes the savior of America.

  16. Communists like Vice love this, because it detaches people from the freedom of running their own businesses and controlling their own lives and destinies. And yes, I'm aware that the irony of capitalism placating a communist desire is not lost.

  17. No wonder all the tech geniuses and startups are left wing, nothing is scarier than change and innovation to the reactionary right wing

  18. Over the last 20 years, the amount of jobs lost doesn't even compare to the amount of jobs created through e-commerce. Retail is beginning to decline exponentially right now because Amazon (one company) has crossed a certain threshold. But the anti-competitive, monopolistic nature of Amazon will be both it's undoing and the epoch of e-commerce's true potential. Right now though, consumers and shareholders win; everyone else loses—

  19. Who gives a shit, shopping malls are full of over-priced garbage with big overhead. There's a reason Amazon's able to have lower prices and more convenience, because let's face it, I'd rather catch a bad case of the head cancer than have to walk through a mall on December 24th.

  20. It fucked how "high school education" basically means "dumb shit with no hope of any decent financial future". you'd think school would be enough to equip you with the tools to help you achieve something as an adult but most of the time it's horrendously inadequate.

  21. A point that wasn't mentioned here is that all of these packages have to be delivered. That's good new for the UPS, FedX and USPS drivers and warehouse employees.

  22. in the past in the factory where i used to work there were a lot of people redrawing technical spreadsheets. now that the computers have made it to the business, there are the same amount of people working, but designing and planning instead of just redrawing. this is productivity. what used to be done buy ten people is now done by 10, who also can concentrate on more productive stuff. the conclusion is that we have to have a strong educational program, which can prepare those obsolete positions for the new challenges.

  23. It's so wonderful that storefronts in every American town are empty or struggling, and people get to work for one major corporation with massive leverage over them, hooray!

  24. Vice gives us this video, but no report on the fact that Jeff Bezos took a 600 million dollar investment from the CIA. Sad…

  25. Without traditional retail stores, Amazon would not be what it is today. People come window shopping and then go online looking for a cut on Amazon . Think about that.

  26. 31% higher wages? I find that hard to believe. Who cherry-picked that data set? And yes, automation is going to usurp every one of those jobs in a decade or less. That Progressive Policy talking head has got to be a paid shill, either that or he has his head in the sand. There is no way someone could come up with such a Pollyanna assessment honestly. Shame on Vice for reporting such fact-resistant narrative.

  27. Wrong though. Tech is destroying more jobs than it's creating. And it doesn't help all the jobs being created are temp / part time crap. If we do a universal income it will work, but without UBI there will be massive social unrest. We are seeing the beginnings of it right now. Meanwhile rents, hc, and cost of living continue to go up without decent work opportunities for most of the population.

  28. Amazon is a monopoly. If you're truly a "free market capitalist" you know monopolies are bad for competition and bad for the economy. This "report" isn't reporting all the facts.

  29. its called creating jobs when walmart or amazon steps foot somewhere. i call it creating slavery cuz most of those owners of closed small businesses are now either mopping the floors of walmart or working like slaves in Amazon's mile long hot warehouses.

  30. Amazon is putting my Local California parts vendors under. I can order a part on Amazon from a company in the Midwest, and have it at the shop next day no shipping charge (prime).

    A part bought from anywhere other than a local California retailer is cheaper.

    Some examples; on a companies fleet I manage front bumper damage is common. The bumper can be rebuilt and there are 6 parts to it. The cheapest part cost me $278 from local parts stores, and that's the fascia for either left or right side. From the 3 local parts companies in the area that have them in stock.

    I can order both the left side and right side fascias for $234 next day with no shipping fee from Amazon. I can get both sides cheaper than 1 side. Also, for an LED clearance light all my local parts venders charge an average of $17 for this light that's a common repair as well. Amazon sells them for $7.95 same exact part number. And once again no shipping charge, next day delivery. And all these parts come from anywhere other than California local retailer (parts stores).

    We also purchase our tooling from Amazon as the same cost savings applies. Why buy from california even though were in California when I can pay Idaho or Nebraska prices.

  31. Yeah Vice this is some BS I’ve worked for Amazon. They treat you like a number, they don’t believe in doctor excuses, you can have a disability they will hire and within three working days send you home. Amazon fucking it up for everybody, unless your a senior citizen living in Boca Raton who’s to lazy to go to Walmart and buy pop tarts and pool floaties for your grand kids.

  32. Poor people and lower middle class be afraid this is awfull slowly robots will replace you don't accept this

  33. I am, without a doubt, a reason that Amazon is thriving. Going to the "mall" online is much easier. Not to mention, the fact that Amazon will get your items there the next day , or the same day , is a huge plus. Screw walking around a mall for an hour, when I can click on what I want and go about my day.

  34. Automation and changing markets will cause some people to lose jobs, but nationally, we will not experience increased unemployment. It's difficult to see especially if your job is replaced, but let me share some examples. For instance, when we significantly reduced coal in favor of more efficient energy sources, thousands of coal miners lost their jobs, but many more jobs were created in natural gas and renewable sectors. Another example could be that when the automobile rose to prominence, some horse and buggy drivers and train conductors may have lost their jobs, but as a whole the automobile was probably good for the economy.

    Moral of the story, when the market changes, people adapt. There will always be jobs.

  35. This is just nonsense, I have worked in automation repair since 1984 and it has gone onto areas I did not see coming. It puts people out of work, end of story. Much of the hardware is foriegn along with the software, its all cheaper. I cant remember the last part I used thay said made in the USA. I have seen videos from those designing almost completely automated fulfillment centers, they are already being used by Walmart and CNS Grocery. The technology is crazy job killing, unless of course you fix them or program them.

  36. I would never want to work for Amazon. I work for one of the big 3 in a part distribution center and the job I do is the same as the amazon workers. Except I work with car parts and they pick all kinds of random things in their warehouse. The difference between my company and theirs is amazon puts their workers under pressure and gives them only a certain amount of time to travel from location to location to pick orders. Where my job isn’t like that. We have a union where as amazon doesn’t. They need to unionize

  37. Amazon is a sweat shop an they handle people like slaves there managers treat people so bad its unreal, people fall out in the plants an id you go through an agency they treat those people even worse.they hire a lot of people an dump them before they can get unemployment, trust they are Awful to work for they work you like a dog .

  38. But maybe retailers could turn to custom products. Surprisingly buildabear is thriving during the retail apocalypse. Besides craft artist only have a 4.2% chance of automation. Why not build jobs around that concept ? Wouldn't it help the industry and create better jobs and experience. Most craft artist at a minimum are paid $20 per hour

  39. Going into a store and finding something cool you didn't know existed is just much more fun than scrolling through amazon.
    You go on amazon to find something specific. You go into a store to find something you didn't know you needed

  40. I have a feeling they will be better than other retailers when it comes to making money for the workers. I worked as a shelf packer for years and I never make money while I was doing retail shop. Last company that I was working for years only gave me a little bit of money after so many deduction. Their reason!. I didn't inform them on time so they take almost half but the other half was enough for me to train as a truck driver

  41. Amazons and malls serve a diverse and similar markets… What is making Amazon dangerous is its almost monopoly on the online business… Malls should reinvent themselves with faster delivery of goods and affordability to compete… Making malls as a social place not just to buy things. Have an online shopping with your local malls as well.

  42. …a time will come when an entire generation of young americans will be fed up hearing about the lie that every little part of socialism equals communism…and they will be fed up with a capitalistic system that pretty much got rid of every moral scence in the interest of shareholders…the power of a view will fade…it has to…otherwise we will never progress…im not some lgbt brainfart…wealth and capitalism are good..but within reason for god sake!

  43. I mean, this is an obvious puff piece. Those retailers that closed is a result of private equity vulture practices, not sales underperforming.

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