Thursday, December 15, 2011

Amazon and the ISA

Our brains, or may be it is just mine that makes associations where there are supposedly none?

I have bought technical insurance against the day when Amazon fails and I have a ton of their ebooks in their proprietary format.

Amazon has recently become the baddie. It is underhanded to encourage book buyers to browse in the stores but buy at Amazon. When I buy my books from Amazon, I don't browse at the stores. Let's play fair. Would we? At least, would the Americans which are their main customers.

It is really up to consumers to decide. Likewise it was really up to us voters to decide if our ISA stays in its current form. A clever government is wise enough to recognize the faint line in the sand and be careful not to cross it. In the end it is a minority and long suffering voice asking for the repeal of the ISA here.

What is permitted in business, the banks and government is ultimately admitted by us. Eloquently written articles like this one in the NYT is not going to change anything unless it is able to resonate with consumers. As I pondered how Walmart rose to the behemoth and bully it is today, I see no reason why Amazon would not also similarly rise.

If you want to open a bookstore, occupy those spaces that Amazon by virtue of its size and feeding habits must leave you alone.

May the world be spotted with many niches even as the large open spaces are occupied by bullying giants. Beyond books, Singapore society will also need little pockets of freedoms beyond the reach and interest of government. We can't plan the future, but we must be open minded to other forms of social organization and the political economy that is completely unrecognizable now. Where can they arise from except from permitted humble niches today. We compromise our long term viability if the ISA turns out to be an effective inhibitor of such activities. As it is, I don't think so. After all they cannot be recognized as threats in their present form.

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