There are always parties who profit in times of crisis, and so it goes with our ever-accelerating global pandemic. For toilet paper manufacturers and supermarket chains and, say, a pair of grifter brothers hawking Purell at an obscene markup, the coronavirus has been good for business. But the biggest beneficiaries in the long term may be Amazon and the tech companies that follow its lead.
On Monday, the online retailer announced it was hiring a staggering 100,000 workers at $17 an hour minimum — $2 higher than usual — to help meet the exploding demand from socially distant shoppers. Much of the rest of the economy, of course, is in a tailspin: Airlines and hotels are sitting empty, small businesses are getting hammered, and the service industry is experiencing mass layoffs. Waitstaff, bartenders, hairstylists, local shop workers — millions of Americans are, until further notice, without work. Amazon itself shuttered its service to companies delivering nonessential products and services, affecting innumerable businesses.