Noam Maggor, a postdoctoral associate in the Department of History in the College of Arts & Sciences, writes in this op-ed for The Guardian that Amazon's search for a second North American headquarters has generated a race to the bottom bidding war to please Amazon that parallels the rise of capitalism in the19th century.
Maggor examines how eliminating corporate taxes, providing subsidies, and avoiding regulation has been a favorite of rapidly expanding corporations in America dating back to the early industrial revolution.
"The scramble to please Amazon marks the return of a very old dilemma that American cities faced with the rise of capitalism in the 19th century: roll out the red carpet to investors, with tax breaks and other subsidies, or lose development funds to more pliant competitors. "
"Like today, urban boosters in the 19th century dazzled ordinary Americans with grand visions of economic growth. In the fast-paced age of the railroad and the telegraph, they explained, corporate capital had become more mobile than ever before and much better able to choose between contending sites for investment. Cities that garnered favor with investors would win a prosperous future, securing an abundance of financial resources, thriving industries, and thousands of high-paying jobs."
Read the full op-ed in The Guardian.