No one man should have all that power?
Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

With its ever-growing dominance of online retail, Amazon has long drawn accusations that it is a monopoly — or at least a monopoly in waiting. When the company acquired Whole Foods last year, that scrutiny only intensified. But maybe “monopoly” isn’t quite the right word for what Amazon is up to. Shaoul Sussman, a Fordham University law student, has a different perspective. In a paper for the Journal of Antitrust Enforcement and in a blog post on the ProMarket website, which have generated buzz in academic circles, he writes that Amazon may be throwing its weight around in a way that consumers might not immediately notice, but which will end up harming them nonetheless. Intelligencer spoke to him about his theory.

Amazon has been famously unprofitable for the vast majority of its history, yet it’s one of the most valuable companies in the world, and has managed to keep consumer prices low. You’ve written that to pull this off, the company may have been violating antitrust laws — but not in an obvious way. Can you explain your thesis?

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