Economic Roundtable: “Amazon is flourishing as a corporation. On good days in the stock market it is worth $1 trillion, making it most valuable company on the planet. Amazon has come of age financially. This report examines its standing as a socially accountable corporate citizen, with close attention to the impact of Amazon’s logistics operations on the public balance sheet in the four-county Los Angeles region. This region purchased an estimated $7.2 billion in goods from Amazon in 2018. Amazon’s trucks hauled an estimated 15.5 billion ton-miles of truck cargo in the region last year, altering how land is used, making heavy use of the transportation infrastructure, affecting air quality, and shaping the economic and living conditions of workers and their families. Amazon’s warehouses have been welcomed by some communities as a source of jobs and economic growth, but there has not been an assessment of the costs of its presence. As with individuals, communities that have come of age are able to make decisions that shape their own future and safeguard their own well-being. The most successful cities take purposeful action to influence the economy in ways that help workers earn sustaining livelihoods.
Amazon’s customers are concentrated in affluent coastal and hillside neighborhoods, but warehouses and workers are concentrated 60 to 70 miles away in struggling working class communities. This geographic divide reflects the economic polarization and structure of privilege in the four-county region. And public infrastructure and local communities bear the financial and environmental costs of trucking goods from ports to warehouses to consumers. Truck routes from ports to warehouses traverse low-income communities of color, adversely affecting air quality and health in those communities. The popularity of Amazon attests to its excellent customer care. This report provides a balance sheet from the public perspective to support greater transparency in fiscal policy, broader risk assessment, and financial equity with the employees and communities that drive its profitability…”