It turns out that tech oligarchs aren’t much better than old dogs at learning new tricks. By splitting his much coveted supposed second headquarters between New York City and greater Washington D.C., Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is repeating what worked for him in Seattle while saying “yes, sir” to power.
Technology firms were once seen as outsiders, mostly located far from the traditional East Coast power centers. Now, as they gradually take control of every industry once coveted by the old establishment—media, finance and retail—firms like Amazon are handing out consolation prices to their new subjects.
The move to Washington amplifies the already clear message that Bezos, passionately against the Trumpian draining of the Washington “swamp,” wants to be a big player there, operating from the 27,000 square foot mansion—the biggest house in Washington—he paid $23 million to buy and another $12 million to renovate. He already controls the dominant local mouthpiece, the Washington Post (which broke the “news” that he was the “anonymous” buyer” of the former Textile Museum he’s made into a one-family house), and has located his key profit-making enterprise, cloud services, in part in a new campus in suburban Fairfax. And Amazon already owns one of the largest lobbying operations in Washington.
Time for some antitrust enforcement?
Plus: “If Amazon had moved to a heartland city, Bezos would have made a statement not only to his employees but to the middle of the country, where the tech industry is often seen as another enforcer of the progressive groupthink. Instead, he genuflected to the preferred locations and conventional wisdom of the overclass.”