"There is tenderness only in the coarsest demand: that no-one shall go hungry any more" – Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia (1974: 156)
By-strategy has posted an excellent commentary on the recent call by UKUncut and others to boycott Amazon in response to news that they pay no UK corporation tax. The piece provides a forensic commentary on the development of Amazon Web Services (AWS). A few key points:
1) Amazon’s recent operations have included an aggressive expansion into the provision of web services including server virtualisation technology. All of this has, in turn, been supported by Amazon’s own massive infrastructure. As a consequence, a number of firms have decided to simply back up and host their work on Amazon’s own servers rather than purchasing traditional hardware. Even UKUncut are using Amazon to host their website while, at the same time, calling for a boycott of it.
2) The argument outlined in the piece should be seen as a sympathetic if critical addendum to the work carried out by UKUncut. At stake here is a concern with developing an analysis of what post-Fordist capitalism actually is. I’ve singled out a few key passages:
“By not considering capitalism as a system it [UKUncut] fails to understand why companies attempt to avoid tax. It is not simply because they are evil. It is because the system requires as much in order for companies to operate especially as markets become saturated and profits begin to fall.”
“The UKUncut boycott call out clearly pits good (local, nice) against bad capitalism (evil multinationals) – yet the problem is capitalism itself…”
“We all need to deepen our analysis of what capitalism is. We need to recall that the only solution to austerity is to move beyond capitalism as a means of organising time, work, production and ultimately our lives.”