The more you think about it, the more brilliant it is. At first glance, the deftness of securing government funding, which was intended to sustain and encourage marginal businesses, is rather pleasing. The thought of the thousands of small enterprises that could have been nourished and helped to survive by the cash Amazon has swallowed in one tax-cancelling mouthful is challenging and absorbing. It’s the monster that’s made a myriad food parcels into its canapé. But it gets even better. If, for a second, you make the mistake of thinking that giving Amazon handouts might nevertheless help the UK – by incentivising the company to create jobs in Britain even if, for tax purposes, it exists only in Luxembourg – then think again. Because Amazon is the great job-killer. For every job it creates, more than one is destroyed on the high street. It’s the great annihilator of work and yet it’s receiving a job-creation government subsidy. It doesn’t just absorb money that would be better spent creating employment elsewhere, it deploys it to decimate the chances of that employment (via Amazon’s tax arrangements are nothing short of a work of art. Bravo! | Comment is free | The Observer)
It’s a mark of this generation’s strange self-regard that people are minded to think particularly of the tech billionaires as having somehow created a new model of business, when the new boss is inevitably similar to the old boss. For all their Prius-driving babyfacery, you know most of them would be sitting down with Pyongyang in a heartbeat if they thought there was a few extra quid in it (via Don’t be fooled by Google’s Prius-driving babyfacery | Marina Hyde | Comment is free | The Guardian)
I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave’s a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon… And that’s what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it.
In 2005, author David Foster Wallace was asked to give the commencement address to the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon College. However, the resulting speech didn’t become widely known until 3 years later, after his tragic death. It is, without a doubt, some of the best life advice we’ve ever come across, and perhaps the most simple and elegant explanation of the real value of education.
We made this video, built around an abridged version of the original audio recording, with the hopes that the core message of the speech could reach a wider audience who might not have otherwise been interested.
Amazon is facing a revolt from small traders as the internet retailer – which describes itself as “Earth’s most customer-centric” company – plans to impose a wave of fee rises on third parties who use its network to sell consumer electronics, automotive parts and other goods in the UK and across Europe. Trader fees on millions of electronic accessories listed on Amazon – including popular items such as memory cards, headphones and printer cartridges – will jump from 7% to 12% for the busiest traders in the UK and four other major European markets from 4 April, just after the Easter weekend (via Amazon’s fees hike for third-party traders provokes fury | Technology | The Guardian)