Mar 29, 2018

Consumers, Not Presidents, Should Choose Between Amazon and Main Street

Matthew D. Mitchell Senior Affiliated Scholar

President Trump laments that Amazon is “putting many thousands of retailers out of business.” Setting aside the fact that the data don’t exactly support the President’s claim, it is not clear what the president wants to do about Amazon. He presumably thinks they shouldn’t be allowed to out-compete other retailers.

This would not only override the choices of consumers, it would privilege certain business models at the expense of others. What he seems not to understand is that dynamic and equitable competition is what made the American economy great in the first place. In a society that permits permissionless innovation, businesses must constantly adapt and change to serve the interests of consumers. Societies that embrace this change thrive. Those that don’t stagnate.  

Mr. Trump may not like that consumers have chosen Amazon over other businesses but he cannot override their wishes without undermining the strengths of the American economy.

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