Now, Amazon is putting half of its HQ2 next to the country’s biggest public housing development. Given that poor New Yorkers already have trouble affording rents, this can’t be good news for them. Few high school graduates, let alone dropouts, will land jobs in the HQ. Their role at Amazon is to work in warehouses in unfashionable locales, where they generally are underpaid, need food stamps to survive, and are forced to work under poor conditions. Amazon’s managers—the masters of the sweatshop of the future—have workers wear wristbands so that they can be monitored at every moment.
And Amazon is coming to what’s already a very expensive place, and, like much of the country, is enjoying near full employment. There won’t be a honeymoon for workers; they will have to compete for brutally expensive market-rate apartments. New York’s political class—furious at being cut out of the deal the mayor and governor cut to bring Amazon here—will unleash a torrent of demands on the new player in town.
Ironically, has already happened to Amazon in Seattle, where Amazon is totally dominant, and was a big reason for the decision to seek a second headquarters. The once proudly middle-class northwestern city now seems to be another San Francisco in the making, attracting not just the hip and educated, but a huge homeless population.