Shopping on Amazon is a blessing for rurals. For now
Do rural areas need Amazon? Yes, but not the current one.
Let’s consider a couple of comments from a Slashdot post about the “Amazon vs New York” saga:
Comment 1: [People criticizing Amazon] don’t understand the problem some places in the country face. There places where you literally have to drive an hour to find a store that still doesn’t have anything you want. So yeah, mail order is great and a company has garnered a lot of success streamlining the process.
Comment 2: We live in a rural area without much shopping other than Kroger and Walmart. We buy everything not available at these two stores from Amazon. Never had a problem. [Even big, fragile products like] a bigscreen TV, arrived at our front door without problems. That alone is worth the price of admission. I love living in the future.
Efficient rural delivery IS needed
An increasing portion of the world population will concentrate in cities anyway, and that is probably a good thin. But there are many “rural” areas that must remain populated, in order to build a less fragile, more resilient society. In that perspective, it is essential to let the residents of those areas “live in the future” as their urban-dwelling fellows.
But Amazon is still bad. Real bad.
I do understand those points of view. I live in a big city, and sometimes I am forced to use Amazon myself. Still, it is impossible to ignore the environmental, economic and social impacts of Amazon: induced needs, useless purchases… and reduction of choice, of course. Quoting from that same thread on Slashdot:
*Do you understand that Amazon is the reason you will never have more shopping choice? Actually, if Amazon succeeds, you will lose the last bits of free shopping choice you still have. Or at least making that choice much harder to practice… How many pages of choices are you willing to read?*
The solution? Transform Amazon into a PROTOCOL. A SLOW protocol
The only really sustainable way out of this dilemma is to replace Amazon with an open worldwide standard for shipping by independent operators, and to run it SLOWLY, both in urban and rural areas.