Big companies deserve to be scrutinized, but should not be “demonized” by politicians as they contribute a lot to society, according to Jeff Bezos.
In an interview hosted by the Economic Club in Washington, D.C., Amazon.com Inc.’s (AMZN) CEO repeatedly defended his company against criticism regarding its growing market dominance and subsequent ability to control prices.
Bezos said it is “healthy” for society to be “worried about big institutions” and agreed that they “should be examined, scrutinized, inspected.” However, he also argued that large businesses ought to be respected for the various one-of-a-kind services that they offer the world.
“They [politicians] need to understand the value that big companies bring and not demonize or vilify business in general,” he added. “The reason is simple. There are certain things only big companies can do. I know what Amazon could do when we were 10 people, know what we could do when we were 1,000 people, know what we could do when we were 10,000 and know what we can do today when we are half a million… Nobody in their garage is going to build an all carbon fiber, fuel efficient Boeing Co. (BA) 787.”
Concerns surrounding Amazon's size and squeezing of its competition has led to calls for the online retailer to be carefully policed by regulators. When asked about this possibility, and how it might impair Amazon’s business, Bezos expressed his confidence that his firm can overcome whatever rules are thrown at it. (See also: Bernie Sanders Takes Aim at Amazon With Stop BEZOS Act.)
“We are so inventive, that whatever regulations are promulgated, or however it works, that will not stop us from serving customers,” he said. “Under all regulatory frameworks that I can imagine, customers are still going to want low prices, they’re still going to want fast delivery, they’re still going to want big selection. Those are the things that we do.”
Aside from discussing antitrust concerns, Bezos touched upon a number of other topics, including why he pays little attention to daily stock price movements.
“When the stock is up 30% in a month don’t feel smarter because when the stock is down 30% in a month it’s not going to feel so good to feel 30% dumber. The great quote that Warren Buffett brings up all the time that Benjamin Graham said, which is in the short run the stock market is a voting machine. In the long-run it’s a weighing machine. You need to operate your company.. knowing that it will be weighed one day.”
Bezos also responded to criticism from President Donald Trump that Amazon acquired the Washington Post as a lobbyist vehicle. During the interview, Bezos accused the president of holding a personal vendetta against the media.
"It is dangerous to say the media is the enemy of the people," he said. "It is a mistake for any elected person to attack the media. I think there is no public figure who has liked their headlines. It is okay. It's part of the process. You don't take that job, thinking you won't get scrutinized; you are going to get scrutinized. It's healthy." (See also: 5 Reasons Amazon May Double to $2 Trillion.)