In Jeff We Trust: Amazon and the Modern Monopoly

Written by Jamie Mahowald

Edited by Sophia Niño, Manasi Chande, and Juliette Draper


I. Introduction

Jeff Bezos sent his first open letter to Amazon’s shareholders in 1997. [1] The portfolio of letters to follow has become one of Bezos’s most enduring –– almost endearing –– traditions, a rare glimpse into the personality of one of the world’s most enigmatic thinkers.

That first letter, though, reads like a prosaic statue of the startup sphere, full of stagy industry lingo –– promising that “this is Day 1 for the Internet” [2] (this was back when “Internet” was capitalized) and that “We feel good about what we’ve done, and even more excited about what we want to do." [3] But every business class in the world psychoanalyzes each of the letter’s 1,617 words (of which 25 are “customer” –– more on that later) for two main reasons: Bezos’ claim over a nonexistent part of the market and his power to persuade his shareholders to hemorrhage money for his own sake.

Bezos never says this outright, but his begging that they afford him the confidence he gives himself indicates as much, along with the tacit evidence of a shaky IPO and an accompanying profit loss. [4] He entreats them not to attend to their immediate profits but to jettison them for “the shareholder value we create over the long term”–– an interval that, if Keynes is to be believed, he has no chance of surviving but that he invokes regardless –– and his rhetorical artistry integrates these risks into such standard startup speak that the financial bloodletting sounds charming. [5]

To affirm the obvious, that risk paid off dividends, catapulting Amazon as one of the world’s most valuable corporations and among the only to surpass $1 trillion in wealth. [6] The company’s influence now touches almost every corner of modern America’s daily life, and the Forbes Business Council projects that it will subsume 50% of the e-commerce market share within the next year, calling into question the company’s legal role as a term the 1997 letter ominously foretells: monopoly. [7]

Bezos has a clear grasp of the legal circumstance he is in. His purchase of the Washington Post and establishment of Amazon’s second headquarters near Washington, D.C. illuminates his desire to keep a finger on the pulse of the law. [8][9] Likewise, he pays enough attention to his peers to discern that the federal government’s invocation of antitrust law does little more than to dent their practice— Federal Trade Commission chair Lina M. Khan noted that “It is as if Bezos charted the company’s growth by first drawing a map of antitrust laws, and then devising routes to smoothly bypass them." [10][11] Congress’s apparent inability to comprehend the industry may bode well for his ends, because these ancient laws depend upon a structure of monopoly that prevailed in the 20th century but that misrepresents the role of the monopoly in the 21st, specifically as it relates to consumer welfare. And it is in the industry’s best interests to keep the laws as senile as possible as they bolt into the future.

But some of Bezos’s worthiest opponents, including D.C. attorney general Karl Racine, are accelerating the legal system’s catch-up with Big Tech, discerning the need for a monopoly law so novel that it can undertake a novel monopoly. Therein lies a real risk from which corporatese may not save him.


II. A jog through the American antitrust movement

The first federal antitrust act passed by Congress was the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act.[12] Before then, no major legislation had existed explicitly to protect the ideology of fair competition in the United States, and monopolies like U.S. Steel, Standard Oil, and the New York Central Railroad System coexisted as all-encompassing technology monopolies do in our so-called “New Gilded Age.” [13]

Earlier monopolies –– especially holdovers from pre-colonial British America –– had certainly exercised influence before the mid-to-late-19th century, but the Gilded Age monopolies ushered in an unforeseen era of national big business. [14]

Compared to state governments in the West and South, who adopted mini-Sherman Acts of their own from 1867 to 1889, Congress dragged its feet on addressing monopolistic practice. This federal indolence is partially why most of these monopolies worked out of Northern and Midwestern states, which had relatively lax antitrust laws and more industrialized urban centers to operate in. [15] The railroad monopoly under control of the Vanderbilts was especially burdensome to the then-politically influential agrarian movement, whose assail on the rail industry soon spread to all other monopolistic forms of business, but only when a slew of Northern states began to consider the issue for themselves did the federal government become seriously involved. [16]

The true rationale behind the passing of this Act itself, though, is murky. Robert R. Bork, a legal scholar who became authoritative in the field of antitrust law in the 1960s and 70s, disputed evidence that the turn-of-the-century officials deemed monopolies noxious to the health of the nation for moral or psychological reasons, as one judge put it, “regardless of their economic results.” [17] This behavioral harm placed upon the public would have outweighed whatever economic efficiency (i.e., raw addition to the GDP) the monopoly may have affected.

Others posit that the economic belittling of consumers was reason enough to tackle monopolies, as was the rhetoric of agrarian political movements of the time. [18] Bork argued that consumer protection wholly encompassed the legislative intent of the law, as the business-oriented Republican legislature was caught under pressure from the economically frustrated granger movement (then a significant voting bloc) and yet unwilling to tamper with the real efficiency of the market for the sake of perceived moral superiority. [19] Therefore, the existence of this Act in the first place indicates that Congressmen must have considered consumer welfare favorable for both the market and their own electoral aspirations. (Today, the FTC today loosely defines “consumer welfare” as the state of favorable conditions for consumers, whereas “consumer protection” is action taken by a governing body to defend this welfare.) [20]

In either case, moral or economic, Congress woke up to the fact that monopoly denigrates the role of the individual, an unsavory outcome in a nation founded upon ideals of individualism.

But the Sherman Act, in the grand scheme of things, attacked only a very specific genre of monopoly that happened to be in fashion at the time of its passing: Congress needed to check the Courts’ abilities to use the law in the interests of its own expansion, so they intentionally narrowed the Act to fit its own parameters, namely consumer protection, and excluded all others. [21] So if confronted with a hypothetical monopoly that did not work against the value of consumer welfare but still classed as a monopoly, the Act would be rendered ineffective. Such a monopoly did not exist at the time –– political activism of the era proves that individual consumers railed against monopoly power as much as the small businesses it hurt did–– but that would not always ring true. [22]

The early 20th century augmented the Sherman Act with the creation of the FTC and the passing of the Clayton Act, both designed in 1914 to better police mergers and acquisitions whose effect “may be substantially to lessen competition, or to tend to create a monopoly." [23] The Supreme Court ordered the breakup of Standard Oil in 1911, and even if President Theodore Roosevelt did not bust the trusts to the extent he was mythologized to, the American ethos seemed to be turning against monopoly. [24][25]

A particular provision in the 1911 Standard Oil case, though, begat a loophole through which fiscal conservatives could soften the efficacy of the law for the next several decades. The framework the law was to be applied within, the Court decided, was the ever-elusive concept of “reason,” and the only contracts it could hamstring would be those that cause “an unreasonable or undue restraint of trade in interstate commerce." [26] The “rule of reason,” as this doctrine became known, allowed those courts affixed to business interests to reckon all but the most egregious violations of antitrust law as “reasonable,” dampening the legislation and its ideology. [27]

The next half-century saw an oscillating public opinion on the role of trusts in the economy, the Great Depression engendering a nationwide disillusionment with capitalism and the market’s inequities. Advisers to Franklin D. Roosevelt urged the President to consider the role of competition in a successful economic rebound, and the country’s rocketing out of the Depression heralded a renaissance for antitrusters in the courts and one of the most prosperous strings of “United States v.”s in the nation’s history. [28] The 1890 Congress’s worst fears had come true.

The fourth major stage of antitrust consideration is one Bork played a protagonist’s role in. As the country grew tired of stability, Chicago School lawyers and commentators, Bork among them, questioned the real efficacy of the courts’ habit of thwarting verticality. Weak American firms impacted by these laws were losing market share abroad as the country itself lagged international competition, and the federal government, still ideologically antimonopoly until business-minded appointments could take effect years later, suffered a series of painful losses to a proto-Reaganite Court including United States v. General Dynamics Corp and Federal Trade Commission v. University Health, Inc. [29][30]

Consequently, Big Tech embiggened during a wavering yet generally conservative era in antitrust enforcement. Bork’s conservative Chicago School argument relied on indignant cases like United States v. Arnold, Schwinn & Company –– in which the government won a one-off case on third-party distribution –– to lambast the draconian overreach of the movement, but the Court swiftly overturned Schwinn in Continental T.V., Inc. v. GTE Sylvania, Inc., invoking the explicit “rule of reason” that appealed to conservatives a half-century before. In this whirlpool Amazon was born. [31][32]

III. New Monopolies

The term “monopoly” has a lengthy and subtle history to it. These definitions generally incite about as much intrigue as those affected by the definitions would want them to, but a good source would be the FTC itself, who defines a 21st-century monopoly as that which can be struck by antitrust legislation, or as “a single firm that unreasonably restrains competition by creating or maintaining monopoly power." [33] Here, unfortunately, we are reacquainted with slippery “reason,” although the Sherman Act’s initial requirement of an injury to consumer welfare is conspicuously missing.

This critical omission is a subtle sign that the FTC recognizes the changing character of today’s monopolies. Were the original Sherman definition still in place, almost none of today’s monopolies would fit it because it’s tricky (but not impossible) to argue that they pose a threat to consumer welfare: almost half of all online shoppers go to Amazon as their first choice, and as FTC member William Kovacic said about evincing the harm mergers bring to consumer welfare, “It’s hard to prove a hypothetical." [34][35] To say the world would be better off had Facebook not swallowed up Instagram requires an elusive piece of evidence that proves a negative, and to classify elements of a nascent industry as a monopoly takes decades, to litigate them even longer. It follows that judges do not respond well to the application of the Sherman Act to monopolies that do not abuse consumer welfare in some concrete way. [36]

Furthermore, the Sherman Act operated in a world that lacked the strict Keynesian distinction between supply and demand that preludes every economics class in the nation.[37] Noting in several discreet locations the equivalence of “personhood” and “corporation,” the Sherman Act equated an injury against the consumer with an injury against the supplier, whereas the crux of the Amazon controversy lies in the novel dissonance between a patent harm toward the supplier and an apparent benefit to the consumer. [38]

So Amazon may not be a Sherman monopoly. Is it a Bork monopoly? Well, it can’t be, because a Bork monopoly may simply be a Sherman monopoly speaking legalese. Such monopolies reflect little on the economic changes of the previous 75 years, keeping the “consumer welfare” doctrine and the rule of reason at the helm. [39] In an odd moment of action, the Bell System, telecommunications giant and poster child of the Bork variant, split into several different companies in 1984 after a decade of pressure from the Justice Department. [40] This induced divorce proved that even without applying these laws under any strict definition that specifically entailed technology, the government did have some capability to manage them under the auspices of consumer protection –– though, in that decade, the government did build up some concrete evidence that the Bell monopoly was offensive to consumers. [41]

So as long as Amazon adhered to the principle of consumer welfare, though, it was safe from the Bell razor, and the fact that one of the primary criticisms of the Bork model was his oversimplification of economic principles proves that Bork, repelling the Keynesian infiltration of the previous few decades, continued to operate with little distinction between supply and demand. [42]

But to say that these companies are removed from any given definition of monopoly ignores smoke signals from the companies themselves. Bezos’s 1997 letter seems to have prophesied, albeit vaguely, his company’s monopolistic practice of horizontal integration early on, outlining that “[o]ur goal is to move quickly to solidify and extend our current position while we begin to pursue the online commerce opportunities in other areas." [43] Moreover, broad swaths of the American populace agree that “Big Tech’s economic power is a problem facing the US economy,” and the rare moment of lucidity between Democrats and Republicans jibes with the remarkable staying power this issue has displayed in the news cycle. [44]

So, with the Amazonian model conforming to no prior definition of a monopoly but somehow taking on agreed-upon monopolistic properties, it logically follows that we need a new definition. Enter Karl Racine.


IV. Racine & the 2021 lawsuit

No business model like Amazon’s had existed before Amazon, and as the 21st century has chugged on, Amazon (along with Bezos) has undergone a kind of Flanderization, developing into a more and more exaggerated version of itself.

No event has solidified this process more than the coronavirus pandemic, almost as much a godsend to Amazon as it was to the telecommunications and PPE industries. [45] Therefore, one can reasonably bisect the progression of Amazon into two eras, pre- and mid-COVID.

And no story of this latter era attracts as much attention as the way D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine has addressed Amazon’s skyrocketing hegemony. In May, the Office of the Attorney General officially alleged “that Amazon fixed online retail prices through contract provisions and policies it previously and currently applies to third-party sellers on its platform,” citing a “most favored nation” (MFN) policy that prohibited those third-party sellers affiliated with Amazon from selling their products elsewhere at a lower price. [46]

Racine further alleged that Amazon’s fee to sellers (as much as 40% in some instances) “allow[s] Amazon to build and maintain monopoly power,” powdering the M-word over a corporation that has never technically fit any textbook definition of it and demonstrating his willingness to bypass conservative constructions of monopoly in recognition that an updated one may not hit the shelves for some time. [47] It’s more important, Racine argues, that the market –– not the ambiguous “reason,” not the narrow “consumer welfare,” but the market –– retains its integrity than that we follow existing definitions to their minutiae.

Interestingly, Racine amended his complaint in September, four months after the initial charge. The new allegations pertain to the corporation’s relationship with first-party sellers, differentiating the interaction between the customer and the recognizable third-party and that between the customer and the faceless, wholesale first-party. [48] This type of business rarely receives even modest acknowledgment by federal agents in the first place, so this addition is meant to sting.

As opposed to the MFN agreement Amazon uses to handicap third-party sellers, Racine argues, the crux of the first-party argument is the “Minimum Margin Agreement” (MMA), whereby wholesale sellers must make a burdensome deposit with Amazon before sales can begin. [49] Though an MMA may be routine wholesale business practice, the practical effect of the Amazonian genre is that retailers so artificially hike their prices for other buyers that they become dependent on Amazon. [50] In either case, Bezos is using two separate strategies to achieve the same end.

So what happened between May and September? Well, for one, Prime Day happened. The annual event Bezos is trying to transform into a second Christmas raked in lackluster sales after investors recognized the perilous waters Amazon was wading in, a signal that Racine’s plan of attack was sticking. [51] Two weeks later, Bezos stepped down as CEO of Amazon, electing instead to manage things from the loftier role of executive chairman that would allow him more time to focus on the big-picture legal questions Amazon is facing. Two points for Racine. [52]

In August, the CNPD, a data collection firm based in Amazon’s European stronghold of Luxembourg, slapped Amazon’s continental branch with a $838 million fine “for breaches of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation,” and global public opinion of the firm soured as worker complaints mounted despite marked wage increases. [53][54] Repeated PR nightmares that degenerated into episodes of PR sleep paralysis delegitimized the company’s role among even the most googly-eyed Congresspeople, so despite skyrocketing sales, Racine saw Amazon as face-down on the ground. [55]

The corporation is also paying attention to scary proposals in the House, including one named the “Amazon bill” for its ability to limit companies that own a retail platform from selling their own products on that platform. Such a bill would force Amazon into an existential crisis, as would a bill targeting Facebook that would inhibit large tech companies from acquiring small ones. [56] Given the mind-numbing infighting of Congress, these bills are forecasted to take some time even to be considered, but Washington-savvy investors and shareholders would certainly respond more quickly than the bills themselves would; the severity of these bills also undercuts the perceived goodwill some tech companies thought they had with Washington, creating a painful whiplash when Bezos first phoned into Congress in June of 2020. [57]

In clear recognition of and adherence to the distinction between suppliers and demanders, Racine both summons the plight of suppliers –– accusing Amazon of both horizontal and vertical integration –– and goes a step further to mention the harm it inflicts on consumers, alleging artificial price increases that would not have (note the danger of the hypothetical) been so severe had the MFN and MMA policies been more favorable to suppliers in the first place. [58] This latter argument is indirect, and it relies upon an economic theory still in its fetal stage, but its very existence does not bode well for Amazon.

This case is ongoing, and if the courts deign to reference only prior decisions in the 21st century, it will default to a loss. But with any luck, Racine will thrust upon them an entirely new reason to consider it.


V. Conclusion

Racine, in his final case, represents four broad groups that bear the weight of Amazon’s success: consumers, first-party sellers, third-party sellers, and competition. These latter three are supply-side groups that wouldn’t have made it through the first round of appeals under a strictly Shermanian jurisprudence. A cynical judge could reasonably fall back on the old definition, cite some Chicago School skepticism on the role of government in private business, and let Amazon off the hook yet again.

But the real genius of a Racine monopoly is the anchor it drops in the category of consumer protection, keeping a hold on the conventional definition while also digging into the terra incognita of an anti-supplier monopoly. Racine’s Colossus-of-Rhodes posturing on both flanks of the argument has forced even the most conservative, pro-big-business legislators, especially those in Congress, to scrutinize whether Amazon really is congenial to American values. The time is ripe to make this novel argument mainstream.

And even if the nation were cryogenically suspended in the 1960s, American antitrust laws would still be riddled with eccentricities unique to themselves. Not only is medieval antitrust legislation unresponsive to modern structures; at times, it flat out disagrees with it in ways that make even addressing the issue impossible. Big Tech represents a unicorn of an issue –– something both Democrats and Republicans can hate with the same passion, even if their rationales differ –– but Congress’s unwillingness to consider the Racine argument and their lethargy to pass antitrust legislation updated for the 21st century lays the burden on the nation’s courts and attorneys general to interpret the law in a way that helps Americans on both sides of the supply-demand aisle.

This model cannot sustain itself, of course, a common trap courts fall into when they attempt to legislate. But if Amazon has its sights on a warp-speed dash into the future, someone needs to catch up with it.


 

[1] Jeffery P. Bezos, 1997 Letter to Shareholders, ᴀᴍᴀᴢᴏɴ (1997), https://venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/amzn_shareholder-letter-20072.pdf.

[2] Id.

[3] Bezos, supra note 1.

[4] Alex Wilhelm, Why Amazon’s History Of IPO-Era Losses Means Little For Today’s Unprofitable Unicorns, ᴄʀᴜɴᴄʜʙᴀꜱᴇ.ᴄᴏᴍ (May 14, 2019), https://news.crunchbase.com/news/why-amazons-history-of-ipo-era-losses-means-little-for-todays-unprofitable-unicorns/.

[5] Bezos, supra note 1.

[6] Sergei Klebnikov, Microsoft Is Now The World's Most Valuable Company After Apple Falls On Earnings, ꜰᴏʀʙᴇꜱ (Oct. 29, 2021, 10:56 AM), https://www.forbes.com/sites/sergeiklebnikov/2021/10/29/microsoft-is-now-the-worlds-most-valuable-company-after-apple-falls-on-earnings/?sh=21a994061d84.

[7] Ethan McAfee, 3 Reasons Why Amazon Will Likely Continue To Gain E-Commerce Market Share, ꜰᴏʀʙᴇꜱ (Mar. 31, 2021, 7:20 AM), https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2021/03/31/3-reasons-why-amazon-will-likely-continue-to-gain-e-commerce-market-share/?sh=7eccb5e73ab8.

[8] Paul Farhi, Washington Post to be sold to Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, ᴡᴀꜱʜɪɴɢᴛᴏɴ ᴘᴏꜱᴛ (Aug. 5, 2013), https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/washington-post-to-be-sold-to-jeff-bezos/2013/08/05/ca537c9e-fe0c-11e2-9711-3708310f6f4d_story.html.

[9] John Schoettler, Amazon shares new details on HQ2 hiring ahead of Career Day 2021, ᴀᴍᴀᴢᴏɴ (Sept. 1, 2021), https://www.aboutamazon.com/news/amazon-offices/the-next-chapter-for-hq2-sustainable-buildings-surrounded-by-nature.

[10] Mike Isaac & Cecilia Kang, ‘It’s Hard to Prove’: Why Antitrust Suits Against Facebook Face Hurdles, ɴ.ʏ. ᴛɪᴍᴇꜱ (Nov. 4, 2021), https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/10/technology/facebook-antitrust-suits-hurdles.html.

[11] Lina M. Khan, Amazon's Antitrust Paradox, 126 Yᴀʟᴇ L. J. 710, 716 (2017).

[12] The Antitrust Laws, Fᴇᴅ. Tʀᴀᴅᴇ Cᴏᴍᴍ., ftc.gov/tips-advice/competition-guidance/guide-antitrust-laws/antitrust-laws (last visited Nov. 24, 2021).

[13] Eric Posner & Glen Weyl, The Real Villain Behind Our New Gilded Age, ɴ.ʏ. ᴛɪᴍᴇꜱ (May 1, 2018), https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/01/opinion/monopoly-power-new-gilded-age.html.

[14] Abbott Payson Usher, The Role of Monopoly in Colonial Trade and in the Expansion of Europe Subsequent to 1800, 38 Aᴍᴇʀ. Eᴄᴏɴ. Rᴇᴠ. 54, 62 (1948).

[15] George J. Stigler, The Origin of the Sherman Act, 14 J. ᴏғ Lᴇɢᴀʟ Sᴛᴜᴅɪᴇs 1,12 (1985).

[16] Id.

[17] Robert H. Bork, Legislative Intent and the Policy of the Sherman Act, 9 J. ᴏғ L. ᴀɴᴅ Eᴄᴏɴ. 7, 48 (1966).

[18] Stigler, supra note 14.

[19] Bork, supra note 16.

[20] Christine S. Wilson, Welfare Standards Underlying Antitrust Enforcement: What You Measure is What You Get, ᴜ.ꜱ. ᴏꜰ ᴀᴍ. ꜰᴇᴅ. ᴛʀᴀᴅᴇ ᴄᴏᴍᴍ’ɴ (Feb. 15, 2019), https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/public_statements/1455663/welfare_standard_speech_-_cmr-wilson.pdf.

[21] Bork, supra note 16.

[22] Stigler, supra note 14.

[23] Federal Trade Commision, supra note 11.

[24] Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States (1911), Cᴏʀɴᴇʟʟ L. Sᴄʜ., https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/standard_oil_co._of_new_jersey_v._united_states_(1911) (last visited Nov. 24, 2021).

[25] Leroy G. Dorsey, Theodore Roosevelt and Corporate America, 1901-1909: A Reexamination, 25 Pʀᴇs. Sᴛᴜᴅɪᴇs Qᴜᴀʀᴛᴇʀʟʏ 725-739, (1995).

[26] Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States, 221 U.S. 1 (1911).

[27] William E. Kovacic & Carl Shapiro, Antitrust Policy: A Century of Economic and Legal Thinking, ᴊᴏᴜʀɴᴀʟ ᴏꜰ ᴇᴄᴏɴ. ᴘᴇʀꜱᴘᴇᴄᴛɪᴠᴇꜱ (2000), http://faculty.haas.berkeley.edu/shapiro/century.pdf.

[28] Id.

[29] General Dynamics Corp. v. United States, 563 U.S. 478 (2011).

[30] Federal Trade Commission v. University Health Inc, 938 F.2nd 1206 (1991).

[31] United States v. Arnold, Schwinn & Company, 388 U.S. 365 (1967).

[32] Continental T.V., Inc. v. GTE Sylvania, Inc., 433 U.S. 36 (1977).

[33] Monopolization Defined,Fᴇᴅ. Tʀᴀᴅᴇ Cᴏᴍᴍ, https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/competition-guidance/guide-antitrust-laws/single-firm-conduct/monopolization-defined (last visited Nov. 24, 2021).

[34] Fiona Briggs, Amazon Commands Nearly Half Of Consumers' First Product Search, BloomReach Study Finds, ꜰᴏʀʙᴇꜱ (Oct. 6. 2015, 8:58 AM), https://www.forbes.com/sites/fionabriggs/2015/10/06/amazon-commands-nearly-half-of-consumers-first-product-search-bloomreach-study-finds/?sh=4fa768873a3a.

[35] Mike Isaac & Cecilia Kang, ‘It’s Hard to Prove’: Why Antitrust Suits Against Facebook Face Hurdles, ɴ.ʏ. ᴛɪᴍᴇꜱ (Nov. 4, 2021), https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/10/technology/facebook-antitrust-suits-hurdles.html.

[36] Cecilia Kang, Judge Throws Out 2 Antitrust Cases Against Facebook, ɴ.ʏ. ᴛɪᴍᴇꜱ (Oct. 4, 2021), https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/28/technology/facebook-ftc-lawsuit.html.

[37] J. E. King, Aggregate Supply and Demand Analysis since Keynes: A Partial History, 17 J. ᴏf Pᴏsᴛ Kᴇʏɴᴇsɪᴀɴ Eᴄᴏɴ. 3, 31 (1994).

[38] 15 U.S. Code § 12 - Definitions; short title, Cᴏʀɴᴇʟʟ L. Sᴄʜ., https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/12 (last visited Nov. 24, 2021).

[39] Adam J. Di Vincenzo, Editor's Note: Robert Bork, Originalem, and Bounded Antitrust, 79 Aɴᴛɪʀᴜsᴛ L. J. 821-833 (2014).

[40] Andrew Pollack, Bell System Breakup Opens Era Of Great Expectations and Great Concern, ɴ.ʏ. ᴛɪᴍᴇꜱ (Jan. 1, 1984), https://www.nytimes.com/1984/01/01/us/bell-system-breakup-opens-era-of-great-expectations-and-great-concern.html.

[41] Id.

[42] Christopher R. Leslie, Antitrust Made (Too) Simple, 79 Aɴᴛɪʀᴜsᴛ L. J. 917-940 (2014).

[43] Bezos, supra note 1.

[44] Pollack, supra note 39.

[45] Molly Kinder & Laura Stateler, Amazon and Walmart have raked in billions of additional profits during the pandemic, and shared almost none of it with their workers, ʙʀᴏᴏᴋɪɴɢꜱ.ᴇᴅᴜ (Dec. 22, 2020), https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2020/12/22/amazon-and-walmart-have-raked-in-billions-in-additional-profits-during-the-pandemic-and-shared-almost-none-of-it-with-their-workers/#:~:text=Senior%20Research%20Assistant%20%2D%20Metropolitan%20Policy%20Program&text=This%20is%20especially%20true%20of,%E2%80%94a%20stunning%2056%25%20increase.

[46] AG Racine Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Amazon to End its Illegal Control of Prices Across Online Retail Market, Oғғ. ᴏғ ᴛʜᴇ Aᴛᴛ’ʏ Gᴇɴ. ᴏғ Dɪsᴛ. ᴏғ Cᴏʟᴜᴍʙɪᴀ (May 25, 2021), https://oag.dc.gov/release/ag-racine-files-antitrust-lawsuit-against-amazon.

[47] Id.

[48] Complaint at 7, District of Columbia v. Amazon Inc. (2021).

[49] Annie Palmer & Lauren Feiner, Dc Attorney General Goes After Amazon’s First-Party Business in Amended Antitrust Complaint, ᴄɴʙᴄ (Sept. 13, 2021, 2:15 PM), https://www.cnbc.com/2021/09/13/dc-attorney-general-targets-amazons-first-party-business-in-amended-antitrust-complaint.html.

[50] Investor Bulletin: Understanding Margin Accounts, U.S Sᴇᴄᴜʀɪᴛɪᴇs ᴀɴᴅ Exᴄʜᴀɴɢᴇ Cᴏᴍᴍ. (Jun. 10, 2021), https://www.sec.gov/oiea/investor-alerts-and-bulletins/ib_marginaccount.

[51] Annie Palmer, Amazon’s Prime Day sales were ‘soft’ compared with last year, Bank of America says, ᴄɴʙᴄ (Jun. 24, 2021, 12:19 PM), https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/24/amazon-prime-day-2021-sales-growth-was-soft-compared-to-2020-bofa.html.

[52] Bobby Allen, Jeff Bezos Built Amazon 27 Years Ago. He Now Steps Down As CEO At Critical Time, ɴᴘʀ (Jul. 5, 2021, 4:40 PM), https://www.npr.org/2021/07/05/1013166252/jeff-bezos-built-amazon-27-years-ago-he-now-steps-down-as-ceo-at-critical-time.

[53] Alice O’Donovan, CNPD vs. Amazon, the largest GDPR fine on record – what do we know so far?, ᴊᴅꜱᴜᴘʀᴀ (Aug. 16, 2021), https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/cnpd-vs-amazon-the-largest-gdpr-fine-on-7214477/.

[54] Allen, supra note 51.

[55] Shira Ovide, Amazon Is Brilliant. Why Not at H.R.?, ɴ.ʏ. ᴛɪᴍᴇꜱ (Jun. 16, 2021), https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/16/technology/amazon-work-force.html.

[56] Shira Ovide, What Congress Wants From Big Tech, ɴ.ʏ. ᴛɪᴍᴇꜱ (Jun. 24, 2021), https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/24/technology/congress-big-tech.html.

[57] Sissi Cao, Does Jeff Bezos Know What Happens At Amazon? Bad Congressional Hearing Suggests Not, ᴏʙꜱᴇʀᴠᴇʀ (Jul. 30, 2020, 12:04 PM), https://observer.com/2020/07/amazon-jeff-bezos-first-congressional-big-tech-hearing/.

[58] District of Columbia v. Amazon Inc., supra note 48.


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