I admit it. I’m a loyal Amazon customer, but then again who isn’t? It only
takes a little: a credit card, a cell phone, or a computer – and then a
simple click. And we have the world at our finger tips, without having to
waste hours in stores or long lines, risking perhaps not even finding what
we are looking for.

Amazon and the other web giants are changing the world

The e-commerce giants like Amazon, Alibaba, Ebay and last but not least
Facebook – which just recently launched its marketplace – are
revolutionizing the world and our buying habits.

Their web pages present to us all in a simple, comfortable, and convenient
way, making us more and more used to the idea of its uniqueness and
irreplaceability. But is all that glitters really gold? Behind such ease
and simplicity of our lives, is there maybe a price that we will have to
pay in the future? The question we should start making is how these
marketplaces are really transforming the world and ourselves. Is it right
to ask if there is a dark side to Amazon, Ebay, Alibaba and all the others
e-commerce giants?

Just a few months ago, Jack Ma, founder and president of Alibaba,
officially declared in a public speech to an audience of entrepreneurs that
the internet and artificial intelligence will provoke social upheavals with
painful consequences for the world over the next 30 years. The spread of
new technologies will have a disruptive effect on the economy and society,
threatening all the old industrial sectors and traditional jobs. Let’s
think only of the robots that will replace almost all manufacturing work,
effectively canceling millions of jobs all over the world in one fell
swoop, with tragic consequences for their families.

Privacy: a right to defend and protect

But if perhaps this aspect was already known and widely expected for years,
another that we often underestimate is that related to our privacy. Amazon,
Ebay, but also Google, Facebook and all the other giants of the new
economy, base their business on our personal data. Are we really sure that
it is good to let Facebook know our tastes, or is it really advisable to
let Google suggest which pizzeria to go to or which road to take?

It was the White House itself that launched a strong warning on this issue

Big Data

a few years ago, asking for greater protection and transparency in the
management of personal information of users by these companies.

The Obama Presidency’s report

pointed to the ocean of data collected by public and private companies that
can be used improperly or used for unlawful purposes. We had already dealt
with the question in the past to understand if such

a thing exists as a citizen’s right to control their own data
circulating on the network, finding considerable diversity between
Europe and the United States


In short, the issue of how our data is used by web giants is still wide
open, and it will be fundamental to track the future road of human rights.

Marketplace: a danger for small shop owners

Returning to our marketplaces, we often forget that, preferring the online
purchase to the traditional “offline” we do nothing more than render more
powerful the groups that already have incalculable power and wealth (such
as Amazon or Ebay) and render small retailers even poorer, the shopkeepers
of small distribution, from the trusted booksellers to the grocery store
near home. Perhaps we should learn to balance our buying habits,
remembering that there are other fundamental factors to consider beyond the
wallet, the convenience and the speed.

For our next purchase, we think of the fact that Amazon,
in the last years, has accomplished several additions to expand its sphere
of influence, acquiring a dominant position on the market: one of all was
the acquisition of the sixth supermarket chain of the United States, Whole Foods Market.

Furthermore, Amazon is

using its third-party marketplace as a laboratory to spot new products
to sell and exert more control over pricing,

as writes Atlantic’s journalist Robinson Mayer points out: “In the past, the criticisms of Amazon were
focused on the Marketplace feature, which allows small shops to sell their
products on Amazon. Some merchants have accused Amazon of actually

using Marketplace as a laboratory


after having collected data on the products that sell better, it introduces
the market of competing products that cost less, and puts them up for sale
on its site.”

In short, our purchases are equivalent to choices, very
important choices. Let’s try to think about what is more ethical and fair,
not just what is more convenient.


Dependence on Videogames is declared a sickness by the W.H.O.


Orienting to good cinema

Check Also