At its core, the right to repair is a struggle with corporations over how we interact with products they sell. This week, Dr. Emily West offers Amazon as a case study to help us understand how companies are able to constrain our choices as consumers under the guise of convenience. We see many of the same tactics used to restrict repair like market consolidation and locked software ecosystems play out across industries from consumer electronics to agriculture. Emily and Jack discuss how Amazon’s business practices and branding are helping it eat up market share across every corner of the global economy, which is making it harder for us to escape the company’s influence.
Emily is a media theorist from the University of Massachusetts Amherst who writes about promotional culture, platforms, and digital media. She recently published a book titled Buy Now: How Amazon Branded Convenience and Normalized Monopoly. You can read the book here or buy it (we recommend Bookshop). If you want to skip to the interview – it starts at 23:22.
To stay up to date on what Emily is working on, check out her website.
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💡 Bonus: Visualizations of Amazon’s Dominance
Full List: Everything that Amazon has owned or invested in since 1998 (It’s a giant list and worth checking out – stops at 2019