The “Prime Directive” and the Master Plan – Atlantic Magazine

PART I: Jeff Bezos is The Borg

Some quotes from a great article about Jeff Bezos in the Atlantic Magazine Jeff Bezos’s Master Plan (November 2019). I never knew that the merchant to the world, Jeff Bezos is evidently  a huge Jean-Luc Picard fan and with their perfectly smooth, hairless heads, look somewhat like relatives. But unlike Jean-Luc Picard, thwarting evil, as  the quote cleverly points out, Amazon is the Borg!

If a business hopes to gain access to Amazon’s economies of scale, it has to pay the tolls. The man who styles himself as the heroic Jean-Luc Picard has built a business that better resembles Picard’s archenemy, the Borg, which informs its victims, You will be assimilated and Resistance is futile.

PART II: Taxes and the Front Seat in The Bus

And then there is that strange tax situation in the United States of America where companies run by billionaires and gazillionaires pay no, zero, zippo, nada in taxes. While Donald Trump tries to throw Jeff Bezos under the bus, one thing they have in common is tax avoidance. True villains… the both of them.

At the heart of Amazon’s growing relationship with government is a choking irony. Last year, Amazon didn’t pay a cent of federal tax. The company has mastered the art of avoidance, by exploiting foreign tax havens and moonwalking through the seemingly infinite loopholes that accountants dream up. Amazon may not contribute to the national coffers, but public funds pour into its own bank accounts. Amazon has grown enormous, in part, by shirking tax responsibility. The government rewards this failure with massive contracts, which will make the company even bigger.

PART III: Irony – Amazon Prime and the Prime Directive

Not brought up in the Atlantic article is that one of the important driving principles behind Star Trek Next Generation was the Prime Directive. The Prime Directive is defined as:

The Prime Directive prohibits Starfleet personnel and spacecraft from interfering in the normal development of any society, and mandates that any Starfleet vessel or crew member is expendable to prevent violation of this rule

which is the antithesis of Amazon sees all “channels” and businesses as fair-game.  Invade the channel. Destroy the merchants scraping by.  Make merchants sell on ridiculously small margins.  Take over the channel.

One wonders if Jeff Bezos will finally get it. Imagine a far off deserted island. The inhabitants have never interacted with the outside world. They live an idyllic life eating pineapples, yucca and wild boar. They fish ten minutes a day and have all the food they need for the entire day. The rest of the days they weave baskets, make love, sing, drum and dance.

That Amazon chose the name “Prime” for their service to subscribers is a bit ironic. Will Jeff Bezos allow a Prime Delivery van to crash the party and the Prime Directive or will Jeff Bezos simply push for next day delivery on Mars?