You know the sad part is, I completely agree with Bezos. I 100% understand why Amazon acts like this. But burning out workers and fostering so much antipathy isn't the way to do this.Many of Amazon's policies were designed to prevent workers from becoming lazy, a former vice president told The New York Times.
David Niekerk, who helped design the company's warehouse-management system, told the publication that founder Jeff Bezos' belief that people are inherently lazy helped shape the company's policies.
Bezos believed that workers' desire to perform well decreased over time and that an entrenched workforce was a "march to mediocrity," Niekerk told The Times.
"What he would say is that our nature as humans is to expend as little energy as possible to get what we want or need," Niekerk told The Times.
He pointed to a short-term employment model that doesn't provide employees many opportunities for advancement and to the way Amazon used technology to keep workers on task. Amazon doesn't guarantee wage increases after a worker's first three years, the report said, as a way to oust employees who might become too comfortable at Amazon or turn "disgruntled."
The practices that Niekerk described are some of the company's most contentious — like firing employees for a single day of low productivity and continually keeping workers on task with limited break time and high productivity goals.
The practices have left many workers feeling as if Amazon treats them more like machines than people, The Times reported.
I never thought of Bezos as a "kill the poor" kind of guy. I see in him the same sort of robo-optimism that a lot of us here share. The idea that we'll one day have robots doing all this, optimizing labor and industry to create endless luxury. Except he has the wealth and capital to run Amazon to get there, and in order to keep Amazon at the top, he has to make the human workers behave more like robots. He has the power to do the things I myself often think about. When I work at the store, I often do slack off and find myself avoiding the cameras to do so, and I wonder often, "If they had more cameras and BCIs or at least some biometric scanner on me, they'd be able to keep me going at this from minute 1 till I clock out." That would certainly make the store better if that's how it was run, but I assure you no one would want to work there. It does pique my interest to know that I'm not original in these thoughts. But it is distressing to see them come to life.
It's a very ruthless gambit that will probably pay off regardless, but it serves few well.