Nona Willis Aronowitz: New York Times Op-Ed on Amazon and Her Father!

Dear Commons Community,

Nona Willis Aronowitz, a writer and critic living here in New York City, has an op-ed in today’s New York Times about Amazon entitled, “Hate Amazon? Try Living Without It”.  Ms. Aronowitz is the daughter of a colleague, Stanley Aronowitz, a professor here at the City University of New York.  I mention this because she uses her father as an example of how he has come to depend upon Amazon for delivering many of his basic necessities. Here is an excerpt:

“A few years ago, my 85-year-old father had a stroke that forever altered his daily life. Even though he has a generous, old-economy pension, he now barely breaks even each month, thanks to six figures of annual medical expenses, including 24-hour care at home. Often, when my dad needs something, he needs it now. He can’t shop on his own, and his caretaker can’t spend her life going to specialty pharmacies and medical supply stores. So Amazon Prime has been his lifeline.

My dad, a former professor with an impressive library, used to buy only books on the site. Now nearly everything he needs comes from Amazon: physical therapy balls, elevated toilet seats, a better wheelchair than Medicare can cover, cheap tubs of protein powder, even staples like kitty litter and T-shirts…

In a simpler world, Amazon Prime might be an uncomplicated bright spot amid America’s vastly inadequate health care and elder care system. But in the past few years, the constant stream of negative reports about the company — poor working conditions in its warehouses, its ruthless white-collar work culture, what my dad called the “corporate bribery” resulting in two new headquarters — makes it feel like a deal with the devil. Before my dad joined academia, he was a factory worker and a union organizer for nearly two decades; he sang “Solidarity Forever” to me as a lullaby. Each one-click purchase feels like a teensy betrayal of my dad’s past, a cruel reminder that he’s now reliant on a monopolistic corporation with an atrocious labor record. (That record isn’t resolved by its recent $15-an-hour minimum wage announcement)…

The entire op-ed is worth a read and for those of us who know him, can clearly hear Stanley in his daughter’s piece. 



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