Remembering the days when you shopped until you dropped seems to be from a time when socializing meant actually interacting with other people. Toys “Я” Us has lost its appeal because the reverse dynamics of spoiling the toddlers resists the challenge of braving the elements and cold temperatures to put wrapped presents under an artificial tree. Now, if it cannot arrive at the door delivered by USPS, UPS or FedEx; it’s just not desirable. The consumer culture has made a giant leap into the cyber space of emptiness and irrelevancy. Spending money and spreading the wealth no longer operates under the same rules that enriched the growth in the (PCE) personal consumption expenditures. The void of satisfaction in buying trendy gadgets and stylist apparel feeds a basic isolation from meaning or contentment.
The Federal Reserve acknowledged, years ago; Don’t Expect Consumer Spending To Be the Engine of Economic Growth It Once Was. Be that as it may, the ease of placing an order online that sells its wares with free delivery has diminished the old concept that retail commerce actually impacts the expansion of prosperity in your own community.
This description of circumstances and forecast of developing trends should be apparent to anyone familiar with the changing landscapes in the shopping malls. Still the far more profound question about the very nature of the celebration around the Christmas season is an even more pronounced topic then the extinction of the friendly and helpful department store clerk.
Long ago the devotion to observe the birth of Jesus Christ has been lost by the majority in this society. Even among professed Christians, the lack of focus and recognition that Christmas is less of a religious observance than the more important holy day of Easter.
In order to illustrate this analysis, a review about Christmas – Philosophy for Everyone by Scott C. Lowe (Editor) of Better Than a Lump of Coal, argues accordingly.
“The philosophical arguments presented such as Aristotle’s ‘virtue ethics’ (“Lying to Children About Santa: Why It’s Just Not Wrong”), Foucault’s social formation theories (“Making a List, Checking it Twice: The Santa Claus Surveillance System”), or Hume’s testimony of Miracles (‘Jesus, Mary and Hume: On the Possibility of the Virgin Birth”) are easily accessible to all audiences interested in the ultimate Christmas debate: secular or religious. For those more philosophically trained or inclined, the utilization of these philosophical works within the context of the great Christmas debate provide an alternative dimension into classic philosophical arguments of ethics and sociological structures, not typically revealed in academic literature.
The remaining question to be asked following each of these essays is: Has the secular nature of Christmas overtaken the religious underpinnings of the celebration in so far as we come full circle from a Pagan celebration of Winter Solstice, to the birth of Jesus Christ, to a new Commercial Christmas?”
Clearly our confused culture has abandoned much of the traditional canons of veracity and now operates under an extreme system of a dominating political correctness that offers little room for authentic individualistic values. What better example of this homogenized humanity than Jeff Bezos on Amazon’s culture: ‘We never claim that our approach is the right one’.
“A word about corporate cultures: for better or for worse, they are enduring, stable, hard to change. They can be a source of advantage or disadvantage. You can write down your corporate culture, but when you do so, you’re discovering it, uncovering it — not creating it. It is created slowly over time by the people and by events — by the stories of past success and failure that become a deep part of the company lore. If it’s a distinctive culture, it will fit certain people like a custom-made glove. The reason cultures are so stable in time is because people self-select. Someone energized by competitive zeal may select and be happy in one culture, while someone who loves to pioneer and invent may choose another. The world, thankfully, is full of many high-performing, highly distinctive corporate cultures. We never claim that our approach is the right one — just that it’s ours — and over the last two decades, we’ve collected a large group of like-minded people. Folks who find our approach energizing and meaningful.”
Bezos is certainly correct when he says that Amazon has collected a large group of like-minded people and more significantly that the Amazon culture does not contend to be the “right one”. This is exactly the point with the systematic decoupling of the human element in business transactions, much less than converging upon the spiritual and religious component in society.
Amazon is analogous to the dominance of the Roman Legions. The only difference is that in the technological age of immediate satisfaction, the fulfillment factor does not need to fear the wrath of corporal punishment, but only the loss of a fleeting pleasure.
According to the Telegraph, With Amazon’s growing dominance, investors must learn to love the new conglomerates asks:
“The latest financial trend making a comeback is the global conglomerate, but this time it’s got a digital twist. US tech giants are ever-expanding into businesses beyond their core operations, creating sprawling businesses operating in many different areas. But the big issue for those of us that remember the fate of last century’s mega-conglomerates, such as Tiny Rowland’s Lonrho and the Hanson Trust, is that things did not end particularly well and most ended up being broken up into their constituent parts. So, given that history tends to repeat itself, will the new digital titans end up with the same fate?”
An attempt to foretell this outcome lies Inside the Philosophy of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
“Jeff’s philosophy is if you want to start a website, if you want to start a company, if you need storage and bandwidth, he wants Amazon to be a public utility. You just plug-in and all the storage, all the servers, all the bandwidth that you need is right there, basically accessible without you having to then get a rack, and install the equipment, and buy the hardware, and not knowing whether you need 40 machines or five machines.
I think that this is actually part of the new world where everything is sorted infinitely stretchable and expandable in real time.”
Imagine a favored government company that wants to function as a public utility, while evading the anti-trust violations because their Santa reindeer sled is kept in motion all year long fueled by a $1.46 subsidy from Amazon’s sweetheart deal with the USPS. Yet Amazon is accused of ‘ruining Christmas’ by disgruntled customers. Oh, so go the trials and risks of converting Christmas into a gift giving endeavor, when the divine birth by grace of our savior is ignored.
After a number of highly critical reports from the New York Times, the spotlight has gradually uncovered the danger of a monopolist for the consumer society. In Amazon’s Tactics Confirm Its Critics’ Worst Suspicions departs from its original mission.
“Now Amazon is walking right into its detractors’ predictions. There are a couple obvious reasons this is a bad strategy. It’s bad public relations — if it doesn’t already, Amazon may soon control a monopolistic stake of the e-book market and its tactics are sure to invite not only scorn from the book industry but also increased regulatory oversight.
But the more basic problem here is that Amazon is violating its own code. To win a corporate battle, Amazon is ruining its customer experience. Mr. Bezos has long pointed to customer satisfaction as his North Star; making sure customers are treated well is the guiding principle for how he runs Amazon.
Now Amazon is raising prices, removing ordering buttons, lengthening shipping times and monkeying with recommendation algorithms. Do these sound like the moves of a man who cares about customers above all else?”
The sociologist and philosopher Jean Baudrillard views the consumer society as “consumption has become a means of differentiation, not satisfaction. As a corollary, the objectification of social relations, that of bodies and individuals has taken over the subject. The real world has gone according to him, replaced by signs of reality from the illusion of the real world”.
Is there any doubt that Amazon is the epitome of an artificial construct that sells at predatory pricing in order to eliminate competition so it can control Kriss Kringle’s North Pole enterprise? How much consumer’s satisfaction will remain when Amazon’s ruthless practices are fully understood? The deceptive roots of the Amazon culture, in their own words: “Bezos himself chose when explaining how to get small book publishers to cough up deep discounts as the price for getting their titles listed on the Amazon website. As related by Businessweek reporter Brad Stone, Bezos instructed his negotiators to stalk them “the way a cheetah would pursue a sickly gazelle.”
Not exact a jolly old St Nick. It is doubtful that the Amazon Prime refund policy will live up to its promise of fulfillment. Failure of overnight delivery does not hold a candle to the meaning of the Star of Bethlehem.
SARTRE – December 19, 2017