Amazon is the largest online retailers and can provide superior services to customers. The article “Inside Amazon’s Warehouse” reviews the situation of employees at Amazon and exposes some bitter realities about the company. The results of the interview conducted with the employees were not for the company, and it showed that the claim of providing services at low prices is made at the costs of employee (Soper, 2011). The temperature in the warehouse is so high that employees often risk their health and move to hospitals. This is not one-time practice but employees going to the hospital due to the effect of severe heat are becoming a common practice. The employees are shifted to hospitals, and new workers are hired soon to carry out the tasks. The company is seemed to make measures only for work and not for workers. Staffs are made to work mandatory overtime, and strict working conditions are retained for them. They face penalties on little mistakes and are found frustrated from their job at Amazon (Soper, 2011).
The culture retained at Amazon depicts the consequences of the class system that is prevailing in the society. The working class is separated from other classes of the society and are kept deprived of perks of life. They are meant to work only for their livelihood and have nothing to do with extra benefits. No doubt, many other companies are focusing on the welfare and satisfaction of their employees to let them deliver superior services to customers, but Amazon is found to follow the traditional class system within its company.
The class differentiation was viewed as the vital determinant of political economic and social inequality by Karl Marx. The focus of Marx was in two classes that were viewed as the decline of estate system and the emergence of capitalism as the dominant economic philosophy or model (Schaefer, 2016). The two classes were identified that are the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. “The bourgeoisie is the capitalist class that owns and controls the means of production” (Schaefer, 2016). These are the class that holds control on the means of production and direct others on their use. The only purpose of the bourgeoisie is to maximize profits, and for this purpose, they make use of all the available resources in an efficient way. The retailers such as Amazon minimize their costs for offering benefits to the customers and increase their profit base by relying on the temporary workers and do not possess higher permanent workforce (Soper, 2011). When workers are hired on the permanent basis, then they are offered benefits and other perks that Amazon is not willing to pay and seeks the benefits from temporary workers.
The proletariat consists of the working-class individuals who are made to work by the bourgeoisie (Schaefer, 2016). The only possession that this class possesses is their labour-power through which they gain material value. They work for the wage or salary and thus are exposed to mistreatment. They are paid only for the work they are doing and do not get any extra benefits. The working condition for this class is strictly retained and is barely allowed to commit any mistake. Amazon retained a point-based disciplinary system for employees. The points are given to employees on violations such as not working fast, missing work, breaking the safety rule, etc. On getting too many points, they are terminated from the job (Soper, 2011).
The proletariat is the working class is exploited and alienated at the hands of the bourgeoisie who seek to maximize profit (Schaefer, 2016). Exploitation is the act of treating the individual unfairly to seek advantage of benefit from his/her work. The practice of exploiting the workers at the warehouse of Amazon is identified from the series of incidents mentioned by the employees in their interviews. In an interview with a temporary employee, it was found that the management makes the workers work harder and harder in the warehouse and if they failed to do so, they simply receive a termination letter (Soper, 2011). The management threats the employees with the termination of the job before providing them with tasks and make the working conditions tough for them with time. Those interviewed said that employees were terminated by not making rates and without assessing the reason for slow work (Soper, 2011).
The workers also face alienation at the warehouse of Amazon. Alienation is the act of causing someone to become indifferent or hostile (Schaefer, 2016). One of the employees Zweifel said that when he was transferred to the job of putting products in the bins, the management gave him notice on not stowing items quickly (Soper, 2011). The bins were packed and cluttered that he could not find space to adjust things. The management, at last, accused him of being “off task” and was asked to leave the job.
These situations in Amazon are not highlighted because it is the largest retailer and also because of the wealth of its founder. The conflicts for the human beings are created when they are prone to limited resources, wealth, power, and status (Schaefer, 2016). Amazon’s founder and CEO, Jeffrey Bezos, possess all these attributes. He is climbing the ladder of becoming the wealthiest person in the world. According to the findings of Forbes magazine, the net worth of Bezos is about $18.1 billion making him the 30th wealthiest person in the world (Soper, 2011).
The paper gave an overview of the employees’ situations at the warehouse of Amazon. The findings of the author of the article showed that employees are mistreated at the warehouse and are made to work under strict working conditions. The paper discusses five important components: bourgeoisie, proletariat, exploitation, alienation, and wealth. These compete are discussed in the article under review.