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Coalition and report say it’s time for Amazon to ‘pay its own way’

Coalition and report say it’s time for Amazon to ‘pay its own way’
Business
SAN FRANCISCO—Amazon flourished over its first two decades with little opposition and less scrutiny. A new coalition and a report unveiled Tuesday make clear that era is over.

The coalition, Athena, comprises three dozen grassroots groups involved in issues like digital surveillance, antitrust and working conditions in warehouses. The goal is to encourage and unify the resistance to Amazon that is beginning to form.

The report, from the Economic Roundtable, a non-profit research group that focuses on social and economic issues in Southern California, delves into the largely unexplored topic of what Amazon is costing the communities where it has warehouses. The short answer: a lot.

While the simultaneous arrival of Athena and the report are a coincidence, they are linked by their attempts to understand and ultimately influence Amazon’s push into almost every aspect of modern life. The internet conglomerate hired 97,000 employees over the summer, nearly the total employment of Google. The report is bluntly titled “Too Big to Govern.”

“This is a company functioning at a scale that was previously left to government,” said Tom Perriello of the Open Society Foundations. Founded by billionaire George Soros, Open Society is providing some of the seed funding for Athena. The coalition is raising $15 million to cover its first three years.

“It has incredible impact,” Perriello said of Amazon. “Who could possibly shape its future and direction?”
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