Why Amazon gets whatever it wants

Why is Amazon so popular? Because it does what it says it will do. It tells you it will get products to your door within two days, and then they appear, at a reasonable price.

In a time of widespread institutional failure — when political parties promise things they know they can’t deliver; when banks fail and bring the economy down with them; when the church can’t follow its own moral standards; when other tech companies are consumed by scandal — Amazon stands out as a huge entity that keeps its promises, or at least its promises to consumers. And that is overwhelmingly how the public interacts with and thinks about Amazon: not as workers, and not as ideological planners evaluating how the whole economy should work, but as consumers.

That doesn’t mean necessarily that people want the government to just hand Amazon big sacks of cash as a thank-you for not failing in the same way so many other institutions do. But that’s not how the subsidy deal is framed.

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