'Transnational Amazon: Labor Exploitation and the Rise of E-Commerce in South Asia'

Sreerekha Mullassery Sathiamma

How do corporate power, labour exploitation and amplified consumerism undergird the rise of e-commerce in India?

This question is answered by Assistant Professor at the International Institute of Social Studies Sreerekha Mullassery Sathiamma and her co-author Jeb Sprague in their chapter on 'Transnational Amazon: Labour Exploitation and the Rise of E-Commerce in South Asia'

This book chapter examines the political economy of e-commerce, with regard to South Asia in general and India in particular. 

What makes South Asia particularly attractive is the presence of so many desperate workers and marginalized people, along with a large and growing pool of consumers.

The authors show how a diversification of ownership alongside corporate control of strategic assets drives the Amazon model. Ultimately, Amazon’s entry into India is part of the deepening of the globalization of the transnational capitalist process.

This chapter, along with the other chapters in the book, The Cost of Free Shipping, shows how Amazon represents a fundamental shift in global capitalism that we should name, interrogate and be primed to resist.

The Cost of Free Shipping

The chapter appears in The Cost of Free Shipping: Amazon in the Global Economy edited by Alimahomed-Wilson, Jake and Ellen Reese, looks at the many dark facets of the Amazon corporation, including automation, surveillance, tech work, workers' struggles, algorithmic challenges, the disruption of local democracy and much more. 

Assistant professor
Dr Jeb Sprague
Research Associate at the Institute for Research on World-Systems (IROWS)