Thursday, 5 April 2012

Perhaps We Should Burn Down the Tax-Dodging Corporate Rainforest?

As if I needed another reason to hate Amazon: the corporation, which moved its offices to Luxembourg in 2006, had profits of £3.3bn last year, but managed to get away without paying any corporation tax.

Yes, it's another example of big business shitting all over justice, politics and our economic system; yes, it proves again that corporations own the country; yes, it means we're still inching ever-closed to that 80s image of a cyberpunk future . . . but it's also enough to convince me, once and for all and without a shadow of a doubt, that this is absolutely the wrong entity to have a monopoly on publishing, books and writing.

I value my independence. I value my critical eye. I value that I can speak out and speak up against institutions that dictate the lives of the individual, the community and society at large.

I don't want my writing world to be ruled by a corporation that puts profits before prose, tax avoidance before texts. And this is why we have to be keen. This is why we have to be aware.

We can't idly sit by as Amazon takes yet more and more of the market. We can't let them rule the roost by default. We must support alternative publishing models to this great beast that's gorging itself on everything in sight. We must support independent presses and independent authors, and all those who stand for freedom of expression and the power of words. We must support independent retailers and libraries and those little boutiques that sell zines and handmade books.

This is the time to say we won't tolerate those with power ignoring their responsibilities, taking and not giving, and failing to adhere to the spirit of the law and the will of the people.

Yes, I'm ranting now. Yes, this is political. But the time has come to say enough is enough. Amazon: if you want to make money in our country, pay your fucking way here too. Don't think you can come here, take what you want, and move your HQ to a tax haven to avoid giving back.

Readers and writers: do you really want them owning the future of publishing and the future of literature, when they fail to support society in the simplest, most basic form? Is it really worth funding this kind of irreverence to our nation and our government and our society, just for the sake of saving a few quid on the next mass-market paperback? Do you endorse this?

I know I don't.

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