The New York Times has a terrific piece about the impact and influence that Amazon is having on US communities. An excerpt:

"As federal regulators and Congress assess whether Amazon’s market power should be curbed under antitrust laws — and whether, as some politicians argue, the company should be broken up — The New York Times has explored the company’s impact in one American community: greater Baltimore.

"Baltimore’s pleading pitch last year to become an additional headquarters city for Amazon, promising a whopping $3.8 billion in subsidies, did not even make the second round of bidding. But Amazon’s presence here shows how the many-armed titan may now reach into Americans’ daily lives in more ways than any corporation in history. If antitrust investigators want to sample Amazon’s impact on the ground, they could well take a look here."

Baltimore, the story says, "offers in microcosm the contentious issues that Amazon’s conduct has raised nationally: The erosion of brick-and-mortar retail. Modestly paid warehouse work and the looming job destroyer of automation. An aggressive foray into government and institutional procurement, driving local suppliers to partner with Amazon or face decline. A swift expansion in air cargo, challenging FedEx and U.P.S. The neighborhood spread of video and audio surveillance. And the steady conquest of the computing infrastructure that underlies commerce, government and communications, something like an electric utility — except without the regulation imposed on utilities."

You can read the entire story here.