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Visit to Canada soon the main print media (the globe and mail, the national post, McLean
magazine, the ski online journal, or local news sources, or similar media, or reputable
international media sources, and using their choice of news reports as a “starting point” or
as related to the course objectives.
The paper must show the relationship between the selected events or news items and how
the news relates to the stated objectives and promotes and enhances understanding of the
stated objectives. Try to relate the paper to at least three of the course target topics (listed
below) and do not simply describe the selected news story.
population
health
The migration
globalization
political
culture
language
religious
Identity: race/ethnicity/gender/sexuality
city
The development of
agricultural
industry
Please include link for the article you have chosen and date it was published.
Use APA format for citations and reference list, source and date retrieved as well as your
own modified title of the paper, plus any other relevant details; guideline for length – 2500
to 3000 words.
Visit to Canada soon the main print media (the globe and mail, the national post, McLean
magazine, the ski online journal, or local news sources, or similar media, or reputable
international media sources, and using their choice of news reports as a “starting point” or
as related to the course objectives.
The paper must show the relationship between the selected events or news items and how
the news relates to the stated objectives and promotes and enhances understanding of the
stated objectives. Try to relate the paper to at least three of the course target topics (listed
below) and do not simply describe the selected news story.
population
health
The migration
globalization
political
culture
language
religious
Identity: race/ethnicity/gender/sexuality
city
The development of
agricultural
industry
Please include link for the article you have chosen and date it was published.
Use APA format for citations and reference list, source and date retrieved as well as your
own modified title of the paper, plus any other relevant details; guideline for length – 2500
to 3000 words.
Graded as an A/ 85
Current Events Paper: THMT #2205 Human Geography
Globalization and Amazon – Is Amazon Good for Us as a Society?
Canadian Insider – News Article Oct 15, 2020
Globalization and Amazon – Is Amazon Good for Us as a Society?
2
Introduction
The online e-commerce giant, Amazon, has impacted the word in a huge way since its humble
inception in 1994. It started as a book retailer and has skyrocketed to the fourth largest company in the
world in terms of market capital (Statistica, 2020). Globalization has allowed for mass global trade and
the flow of goods and services between countries, Amazon currently ships to over 100 countries
worldwide and are always in the efforts to expand their operations (Business Insider, 2020). The article
that lead me to choose this topic is an article by Canadian Insider Retrieved Oct 15th 2020 “COVID-19
drastically changing how Canadians, shop, celebrate and spend—Good news for Amazon.” This article
interested me as it is a very relevant subject considering our current reality of the Covid-19 Pandemic and
how it has affected Canadians’ spending habits, and more specifically how it has affected and benefitted
the Multi-National Corporation. My research led me to dive into topics concerning Covid spending
patterns, worker treatment and the global impact Amazon has had during the Covid-19 pandemic, and led
me to question, if Amazon is truly good for us as a society?
Amazon’s Global Reach
Amazon has amassed an extraordinary global reach. Officially operating in 14 countries and
shipping to over 100 countries worldwide, Amazon has most definitely benefitted from and made major
advancements to Globalization. Their supply chain and shipping system is extremely complex, efficient
and innovative. Amazon has even furthered their successful shipping capabilities by providing same day,
1-day and 2-day shipping in certain high population areas in multiple countries.
As globalization has allowed for the improvement of communication between nations, this has
allowed Amazon to use the internet and targeted advertising to attract consumers from different countries
around the world. Amazon has also built a large consumer base that exhibit large amounts of brand
Globalization and Amazon – Is Amazon Good for Us as a Society?
3
loyalty and brand awareness. These are very important attributes for a foreign business to have while
operating at a multi-national capacity as it is difficult for consumers to blindly buy from a foreign
business, but when the business has a good reputation and is commonly known it gives the consumer
more trust in the product/service. Amazon’s Prime service has over 112 million subscribers worldwide
with the average Prime member spending $1,400 USD annually (Statistica, 2020). Amazon’s reach and
business capabilities would not be possible without the advancements to global banking brought by
Globalization, as Amazon is now able to sell products in foreign currency and accept payment from
foreign credit cards, payment systems and banks.
It is no secret that Globalization has made a huge impact on global warming and the environment,
and that MNCs are an active player in this increase in global pollution. Amazon like most MNCs, has
caused significant environmental damage, via pollution, carbon emissions and waste. Due to Amazon’s
vast shipping networks, they emit huge amounts of pollution into the airways. In 2019, Amazon reported
emitting approximately 44.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, emission amounts that compare to
small countries emitted by a single MNC (AP News, 2019). Though Amazon claims efforts to purchase
thousands of electric vans for shipments and plans to be Carbon neutral by 2040, many are crying that it is
too late. Over 8,000 Amazon employees have signed a petition calling for Amazon to reduce their
emissions in the name of Climate Change, and more than 1,500 planned on staging a walk out to further
this message (AP News, 2019). Even with Amazon’s promises to change, with global warming’s
irreversible effects looming this amount of pollution is extremely concerning and not to mention, gross
uses of pollution for capitalistic means.
Globalization and Amazon – Is Amazon Good for Us as a Society?
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Impact on the Canadian Economy (Political/Economic)
Amazon’s success is huge and recognized worldwide, and its presence in Canada is no different.
In 2018, Amazon Canada and Amazon US made a total of $4.705 billion USD in sales in Canada and
scored the top two rankings of most popular online stores in Canada (Statistica, 2018). The ease of their
platform has brought them much success and due to the global pandemic, the demand for their goods and
services have only increased. As Canadians validly fear the outside and traditional brick and mortar stores
due to the pandemic, it has driven demand for Amazon deliveries to increase. 64% of Canadians have
stated that concern for the Covid-19 virus has led them to avoid shopping in-store according to Canadian
Insider (Canadian Insider, 2020), and with the looming second wave, this percentage is expected to rise.
While 47% of Canadians have reported they are finding themselves shopping more online than prior to
the pandemic. Although this has brought Amazon a lot of business it has deeply hurt many small and midsize businesses in Canada.
Small businesses make up 97.9 percent of all businesses in Canada, but with the pandemic
increasing unemployment rates and large businesses offering cheaper alternatives, this has put them in
extreme financial risk (IC, 2017). In a CIBC study, researchers found that 81% of small business owners
in Canada stated that the current global pandemic has impacted business negatively, and 32% stated that
they are worried about their business’s future (CIBC, 2020). In addition to the declining business and the
bleak future for certain businesses, Canadian small businesses are being forced to transition to a form of
online sales. However, this is daunting task for many small businesses as 74 percent of Canadian small
business owners surveyed stated that their business is not currently built or equipped to transition to
online sales. This puts Canadian small businesses at a disadvantage to large MNCs like Amazon who
offer cheap and easily available products online.
Online sales in Canada have increased by 110 percent due to the impact of the Covid-19 and
Canadians’ fears of the deadly virus (CBC, 2020). Though great for huge MNCs, small businesses are left
Globalization and Amazon – Is Amazon Good for Us as a Society?
5
abandoned and left to sell to the few whom still brave in-store shopping. This is an example of MNCs
taking advantage of their huge shipping and selling capabilities gained due to globalization and leaving
small local businesses to shut down and be neglected. Unfortunately, due to this increase in online sales
and due to the decrease in demand derived from the pandemic, 28 percent of Canadian small businesses
have temporarily shut down and 54 percent have reported a drop in sales (CIBC, 2020). This is not good
for the Canadian economy as we are a country that heavily supports and relies upon small businesses, and
though larger businesses are sometimes more convenient is it an important part of our culture to help our
fellow Canadians and support our local businesses, especially in tough times. More importantly however,
support businesses how actually pay Canadian taxes.
In 2019, Amazon reported paying no Canadian taxes due to tax breaks and tariff agreements
(Huffington Post, 2019). This is shocking to many Canadians as they are one of the largest e-commerce
businesses to operate in Canada and have made billions of dollars annually via Canadian sales, while
providing no support to the country. This is a negative effect of Globalization, as governments have
historically given tax benefits and breaks to large corporations to “stimulate economic development” but
instead just allow corporations to make large profit margins off Canadian citizens, while taking business
away from domestic business owners. This not only effects small business owners, but also small
business employees. Small businesses employ 8.9 million Canadians, for small businesses to see business
decline due to Covid-19 and consumer transitions to online purchasing put these employees at risk,
especially in a time of historic high employment rates across Canada, deepening the lack of job security
influenced by Globalization (IC, 2017).
Impact on Workers and Income Inequality (Population)
Multi-National Corporations as demonstrated in class, are always actively searching for the
cheapest ways to provide their goods and services to their customers. Cheaper productions allow
Globalization and Amazon – Is Amazon Good for Us as a Society?
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corporations to sell their products and goods for cheaper than its competitors allowing them to gain a
larger market share and, in most cases, increases their profits. There is a common saying however that one
cannot become a multi-millionaire, billionaire, or in CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos’s position, future
trillionaire, without exploiting their workers and resources, and Amazon is not exempt from this theory.
Amazon has been accused multiple times over the years for unethical and unsafe working
conditions. Amazon’s fast shipping and handling is the bread and butter of its business and is what has led
them to such high volumes of success, but in the dust, it has neglected its workers. Packers are subject to
hit grueling work requirements, packing approximately 700 items per hour which equates to
approximately 5 seconds per item (The Guardian, 2020). Workers are frequently fired for not fulfilling
their expected packing levels, even when workers are tired, overworked, injured and in poor health. In
2019 shocking news articles depicting Amazon’s cruel warehouse ethics came to light. In an Amazon
warehouse in Ohio, an employee passed away due to a heart attack while on the job and though the awful
and horrific event of a co-worker passing, workers were forced to immediately return to work and finish
their shift (The Guardian, 2019). Though Amazon denies these reports, multiple workers from that day
have come forward to express their horror and discontent with the inhumane ways in which Amazon
handled the situation. Now due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Amazon’s unsafe and unethical work practices
have only progressed.
Amazon’s handling of the pandemic has also come under fire, while Jeff Bezos adds to his
personal income and Amazon’s sales rise, workers are bearing the brunt and the risk of these transactions.
As Amazon paints their employees as essential workers, they are expected to work during the pandemic
in warehouses that employ hundreds of people. Since the pandemic started over 19,800 Amazon
employees have contracted the coronavirus and 10 workers have died. Human rights group, Amnesty
International has even stepped in to condemn the actions of the e-commerce giant amid the deadly
worldwide pandemic. The group stated in a public message that they stand in solidarity with Amazon
workers and are disgusted by the company’s lack of concern for employee safety. Many Amazon
Globalization and Amazon – Is Amazon Good for Us as a Society?
7
employees have no other choice for work and as it pays competitive rates, employees often accept the
opportunity cost to risk their health to provide for their family.
Income inequality, and the perpetuation of rich getting richer and poor getting poorer mentioned
in class shows true in Amazon’s unethical practices. The company currently uses its employees to
maintain efficient processing times and low costs, in order to fulfill orders promptly and achieve higher
profit margins. Though Jeff Bezos currently stands as the richest man in the world, his employees are not
receiving any of the wealth or respect they deserve in helping him achieve this. Amazon workers are paid
on average $15 an hour and have received a pay increase of two dollars an hour during the pandemic, but
workers deserve more than a few extra dollars on their pay checks. Amazon cannot run without their
employees, but if Amazon continues to run their operations as they currently are, their employees will be
in poor health, in poverty, evicted, homeless, and perhaps dead without proper support and safety
measures.
Anti-Amazon Protests (Globalization)
Through the rise of MNCs, countless anti-Globalization and anti-MNC protests have occurred.
Amazon is no stranger to massive protests but recently they have been experiencing an increase in them.
Due to the global pandemic, and as previously mentioned, Amazon has been experiencing a huge amount
of criticism for their treatment of employees during the pandemic. The company has been accused of
using their workers as pawns for financial gain during one of the darkest times in recent history. Though
Amazon’s profits continue to skyrocket during the pandemic, revenues exceeding $33 million USD per
hour throughout the first three months of the pandemic, it is the employees who are being put in jeopardy
for these profits (The Guardian, 2020). The blatant lack of respect for their workers health and safety even
drove one of the company’s Vice Presidents, Tim Bray, to resign as protest to Amazon’s cruel operating
Globalization and Amazon – Is Amazon Good for Us as a Society?
8
methods and fear tactics. Bray’s protest was amplified by the voices of thousands of Amazon employees
worldwide demanding for change in the weeks following.
On May first of this year, hundreds of frontline workers staged a walk-out across America
demanding better treatment and safety precautions during the pandemic. Many Amazon workers caught
participating in these protests were fired. This is an act of fear mongering that Amazon is known to
practice to stifle worker complaints and protests, but what is worse is that the large company continues to
practice these tactics during a global pandemic. To fire employees amid historic high employment rates is
a sentence to poverty and debt for some families, for a huge corporation to facilitate these retaliations
firing during this time is despicable. The protests and the firings have only continued since this first big
walk-out in May.
As workers continue to feel the cinch of financial troubles and health concerns due to Covid-19,
they continue to demand better protection. Amazon employees consistently report being treated as a piece
of machinery, as robots rather than human. This corporate greed fuels Amazon’s push to facilitate more
and more sales which then puts more and more strain on employees. MNCs are notorious for treating their
employees poorly but during this pandemic Amazon has received by far the most backlash. The most
recent protest by Amazon employees occurred over the company’s famous “Prime Days”, October 13th
and 14th, where employees and individuals in solidarity with the workers boycotted the company and the
sale. These boycotts occurred in multiple Amazon “hub” cities in multiple countries, calling for the
company to step up and end their unethical treatment of workers. Tensions among workers were high two
weeks before the sales event as well, when employees and protestors marched through the streets of Los
Angeles to their destination of Bezos’ LA home. This is the third protest in the past three months to occur
outside of one of Bezos’ many residences.
Globalization and Amazon – Is Amazon Good for Us as a Society?
9
Conclusion
Globalization has led to the rise of MNCs present in our day to day lives. It seems difficult to go
shopping or turn on the TV without seeing one of these huge corporations’ stores or advertisements, but
their impact on our society has gone beyond the goods in which they sell. Amazon has grown to the huge
corporation it is today through the advancements made possible by Globalization, but although a
successful company, the question remains – is Amazon good for society? Amazon has made a huge
global impact and has created over a million jobs worldwide (Statistic, 2020), but to the effect of hurting
small businesses, emitting exuberant amounts of pollution and poorly treating their employees. Though
with constant promises to change their ways, Amazon continues to fall short of their promises and
continues using scare tactics within their operations. With Amazon being owned and operated by the
world’s richest man, with excess capital to provide support to workers and implement green initiatives, it
seems that the company’s focus is on money and capital rather than the welfare of their workers and
society. With Amazon heading in this trajectory, even amid a deadly global pandemic, it is quite clear that
Amazon favors money to people and therefore lacks genuine concern for society as a whole.
Globalization and Amazon – Is Amazon Good for Us as a Society?
10
References
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https://www.statista.com/statistics/234488/number-of-amazon-employees/.
Au-Yeung, A. (2020). Amnesty International Calls On Jeff Bezos To Address Amazon Employees’
Concerns About Working Conditions. Forbes. Retrieved 22 October 2020, from
https://www.forbes.com/sites/angelauyeung/2020/04/24/amnesty-international-calls-on-jeff-bezosto-address-amazon-employees-concerns-about-working-conditions/#1eeaf704fe8a.
Biggest companies in the world 2019 | Statista. Statista. (2020). Retrieved 22 October 2020, from
https://www.statista.com/statistics/263264/top-companies-in-the-world-by-market-capitalization/.
Blumberg, A. (2020). HuffPost is now a part of Verizon Media. Huffingtonpost.ca. Retrieved 22 October
2020, from https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/amazon-federal-taxes2019_n_5c660227e4b01757c369c5b3#:~:text=Amazon%20To%20Pay%20%240%20In,In%202019
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COVID-19 impact felt by 81 per cent of Canadian small business owners: CIBC Poll. Media Centre.
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Delfino, D. (2020). ‘Does Amazon ship internationally?’: Yes, it does — here’s how to navigate and use
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