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Protecting Local Communities

For another installment in Amazon criticism, I give you John Judis:

There are, of course, reasons to believe that Amazon could keep its business and collect sales taxes. Its prices would still be competitive, and what it can offer that local stores cannot is the convenience of having your purchases delivered to you without having to leave your house. It also has a vigorous business in eBooks and online movies and music. But the question of revenue aside, there is also a good reason to protect local stores from unfair competition. Local realtors sustain neighborhoods and suburban malls; they fund local newspapers and theater groups. They are part of a community in a way that Amazon or Overstock—its Utah-based partner in fighting state sales taxes—will never be [bold mine-DL].

There is a clear difference between a firm that flourishes solely because of its superior services and one that can avoid costs that all of its other competitors are legally required to pay. Amazon naturally wants to keep every advantage that it has, but it doesn’t follow that the rest of us should take the same view.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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