A new kind of monopoly: Amazon


Amazon is the closest thing to a 21st century flea market. Most of the goods it sells are not its own but from third parties. In 2021 there were about six million active unique sellers on Amazon and almost 2,000 new sellers opened accounts every day. They are another subspecies of “false freelancers” created by the modern development of productive forces, especially online marketplaces.

While critics claim the company has had a deleterious effect on family-owned businesses, Amazon touts the number of third parties selling through its platform. As Bezos told the U.S. House of Representatives in 2020, “Amazon’s success depends in large part on the success of the thousands of small and medium-sized businesses that also sell their products through Amazon stores.”

But merely viewing Amazon as a monopoly underestimates the transformation that has taken place among small businesses on the site itself. Amazon sellers look less like independent…

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