How much benefit does an Amazon Fulfilment Centre bring to a local community?

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There is news of yet another Amazon Fulfilment Centre launching in the USA. This time it’s in Spokane, Washington State. And needless to say, the official press release from Amazon is enthusiastic about the possibilities. And Washington is the home state of Seattle-based Amazon and 50,000 people are already employed within the state. This new Spokane facility will provide jobs for 1500 more people.

And in this case, the new jobs and development is supported by a variety of local organisations, some with public funding. The new Amazon fulfilment centre is being developed by Trammell Crow Company and was made possible by Greater Spokane Incorporated, The West Plains/Airport Public Development Authority, Spokane County and Spokane International Airport.

And there are warm words about the benefits that an FC brings to a local area:

Amazon’s decision to build their new facility format in our community validates the innovative vision of leaders from Spokane County, the City of Spokane and Spokane International Airport to create the first County-City PDA in the state. The West Plains/Airport Area PDA enabled the public-private partnership necessary to make this site work for our newest corporate partner. The West Plains/Airport Area PDA is committed to Amazon’s long-term success as we view their project as the first in a series of developments that will benefit from the unique combination of air, rail and surface transportation infrastructure with available land in the airport area.
– Larry Krauter, Chairman of the West Plains/Airport Area Public Development Authority

But does the reality match with the promise? And has there been any serious work to see whether the arrive of an Amazon facility enhances a community or not? It’s safe to say that tempers run high when it comes to the all-conquering Amazon and usually there is much more heat than light in the debate. But it’s hardly surprising that local burghers welcome 1500 new jobs. But could it be a bad thing in the long run as the behemoth crushes local, smaller enterprises?

3 Responses

  1. i think it’s rather short sighted to look at the “local” benefit of an amazon warehouse.
    you may actually find a benefit to communities if you only look at a local level.
    the impact of amazon warehouses are on national and global community scales.
    for every 1 job amazon creates in Spokane, 10 jobs are lost elsewhere.
    the efficiency they introduce removes inefficiencies elsewhere
    – those “inefficiencies” are people’s jobs, old family-run stores, middle management.

    i admire efficiency, but when the efficiency is wiping out life as we know it, perhaps inefficiency can be a good thing sometimes.
    there’ll be no room left in e-commerce for any of us if it keeps going, we’ll all be working for amazon within 15 years at this rate.

    going back a few hundred years, one could consider the effect on the local community of having a group of bandits living there.
    at the local level, they’ve brought jobs (okay, inferior and worse-paid jobs, with less benefits, but who’s counting quality?) and wealth to a previously poor area.
    generally they don’t attack the locals living in the forest, they have a net positive on the local level.
    keep condoning this “local positive”, perhaps communities will start bidding to pay the reavers to choose their community to move into.
    the overall effect on the world as a whole is not good, but if we just focus on the local benefits angle, all is great.

  2. in our area the bandits are still here they have just modernised and adapted their called builders

  3. Like it or lump it
    Amazon snd the like is the future
    Suitable checks and balances are needed not denial



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