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The Strange Death of the Local Shop
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The Strange Death of the Local Shop

First it was music, then newspapers, and finally Hollywood.

Plenty of industries have had to adapt to the disruption wreaked by distributed technologies.

But what do these industries have in common?

They’re various incarnations of publishing – in which intellectual property plays a key role.

Now that barriers to entry for mini players have been done away with, concentration of power has swung the other way.

Or has it?

Many historically big companies are still big but lots of new ones have started to play.

Some startups have been bought by bigger players. Others have achieved big boy status on their own. Each will have pursued their own strategy and adapted to circumstances, tastes and occasionally legislation.

Amazon may be delivering food today but it started out distributing that famous non-perishable item, the second hand book.

And from there it colonized the high street.

The fitbits that they track their staff with in their warehouses are consistent with a low margin, data-driven business.

Henry Ford paid workers of all races the same wage because he realized happy workers boosted productivity.

It appears that changes in employment law allow Bezos to assume his workers are happy and from there everything follows.

When even the Daily Mail say you’re an evil transnational corporation it’s quite likely you are.

But Amazon makes so many consumers happy. So it is unlikely to lose an anti-trust suit in the US.

It’s present at bilateral trade discussion lobbying for free movement of data. I would imagine this is as much to do with its Amazon Web Services business as anything else.

What is going to happen to British Culture?

From Toy Town to Ghost Town?

Everyone can see this coming.

To paraphrase my colleague Joel Benjamin, is this really a case of the strange death of the high street or more a case of assisted suicide?

So what next?

How do we “take back control”?

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