More evidence this week that ‘free enterprise’ is a capitalist myth that disappeared a long time ago, if indeed it ever existed. While a sizeable list of American and Canadian cities continue to dance to the Amazon tune, the giant of online merchandising has gotten its home base in Seattle to double down on corporate welfare.
The news that they had invited proposals from cities hoping to become the company’s second major home, with an investment by Amazon of $5 billion U.S, got the powers that be in Washington State to get ready to pony up more concessions. Nothing specific has been mentioned, but it seems to have worked.
Amazon confirmed this week that they have signed a lease on all of the available space in a new skyscraper in Seattle that will house another 3,500 employees when it opens in three years time. Don’t be surprised when we’re told in the months to come that the company really doesn’t need Amazon-Q2 after all.
Let’s skip over to Racine, Wisconsin, in the heart of Trump country. They are proud cheeseheads who cheer for the Packers, and their new corporate darling is Foxconn Technology Group, from that wonderful American territory called Taiwan.
They are planning a huge new plant in Racine to turn out the latest in TV screens and other electronic toys. Foxconn is talking about 13,000 jobs on a campus of 20 million square feet. The free enterprisers in the Wisconsin legislature were only too happy to approve $3 billion worth of incentives. These are many of the same people who beat their chests and look down their noses at companies like Bombardier who they accuse of competing unfairly with the free enterprisers at Boeing thanks to huge public subsidies from Quebec City and Ottawa.
Just about every community in North America will do whatever it takes to attract the biggies who bring with them lots and lots of good jobs.
It’s deal-making at its finest, thanks to the good old public sector.