Much like Alexander the Great conquered the world by courting the loyalty of a vast army who worshipped him like a deity, Jeff Bezos apparently believes that he, too, will go down as one of the great men of history, with the help of an armored data truck, elderly distribution center workers who do not have health insurance, and a bunch of bored white-collar workers who could not give less of a shit about Bezos or his company. Truly, a tale of heroism for the history books.
According to an Amazon cybersecurity engineer who spoke anonymously and quite candidly with Logic Magazine, working at Amazon is much more Philip K. Dick than it is Plutarch, despite Jeff Bezos’s boner for Alexander the Great:
“Jeff Bezos studies other “great men” in history and imagines himself to be a kind of Alexander the Great. There’s even a building on the Amazon campus called Alexandria, which was the name of one of the company’s early projects to get every single book that had ever been published to be listed on Amazon.”
But despite the existence of a physical data-storage truck called “Snowmobile,” which is flanked 24-hours a day by heavily-armed guards and is used, I guess, to drive all of Amazon’s data around for reasons I do not quite understand, working at Amazon sounds less like following a great leader taking the world by brilliant storm and more like participating in buttoned-down, banal evil performed by mercenaries who could not give less of a shit about their mission:
“There aren’t a lot of intense loyalists,” the source said. “People at Amazon are mercenaries. The company doesn’t have great benefits. Office life kind of sucks and it’s not that fun of a place to work. It’s a grind. People work there because it pays a little bit better than the competition and it looks good on a resume. They can go in, do their job, go home, spend time with their kids, watch sports. That’s the good life.”
And part of that mercenary effort for Amazon includes hiring former NSA chiefs to influence the Department of Defense and win more government contracts. Another part includes partnering with law enforcement to trade-off Ring data, an area the source claims Amazon embraced originally to prevent package theft before realizing it is a goldmine of valuable data. When the company began to realize it might soon be impossible for Americans to move more than five feet without entering into Amazon customer surveillance bubble, the company enjoyed some evil scheming, according to the source: “There was a lot of gleeful Mr. Burns–style finger touching, when we thought about what we could do with that data.”
One area of data collection Amazon is not interested in, according to the source, is whether or not foot-soldiers in its army of mostly elderly warehouse workers, looking to supplement their pensions, are going to drop dead on the job. That is, unless those workers are infected with covid-19, which Amazon has implemented safety measure against, while completely ignoring other needs workers might have:
“A lot of them don’t work enough hours to get health insurance. So if you have cancer and you might die from your cancer, we won’t help you get treatment. But if you have this infectious respiratory disease, we want to know.”
When asked about the threat of organizing, the anonymous employee said that workers just can’t see a way out: “I just think the collapse of the Left in general over the past several decades has made workers everywhere believe that resistance is futile.” Ah yes, Alexander had the elephants, and Jeff has the despair of the working classes. The similarities are uncanny.