WASHINGTON – When the president speaks of closed factories scattered like “tombstones” across America, has he noticed the shuttered stores in shopping centers, and entire malls reduced to rubble? He promises “protection” to prevent foreigners from “destroying” manufacturing jobs by exporting to America things that Americans want to import. Does he know that one American company might be “destroying” more American jobs than China is? And that this supposed destruction is beneficial?
The company is Amazon (market capitalization: $388 billion), created by Jeff Bezos. He owns The Washington Post, which syndicates this column, but it is for revolutionizing retailing that he ranks in the Pantheon of American business. He belongs there with Richard Warren Sears, Alvah Curtis Roebuck, Aaron Montgomery Ward and Sam Walton, all of whom were constructively disruptive retailers, and were as important in the nation’s commercial history as were Henry Ford, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.