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Cities Are Competing to Give Amazon the 'Mother of All Civic Giveaways'


The tech giant is searching for a locale with at least a million people, a diverse population, and excellent schools, among other qualifications. It gave municipalities six weeks—until October 19—to submit a proposal to be chosen.

Local governments in more than 100 American and Canadian cities, including places like San Diego, Chicago, Dallas, and Detroit, quickly scrambled to outline why they should be home to Amazon's new corporate office, which is expected to employ up to 50,000 workers. The mayor of Washington D.C., Muriel Bowser, even made a scripted video for Amazon explaining why the capital should be picked. It featured an Echo, Amazon's smart speaker.

But experts who have studied Amazon's business practices say having one of the most tax-allergic corporations in the world come to your hometown might not actually be a good thing.

"It's an intoxicating proposition to detonate an Amazon prosperity bomb in the center of their city," Scott Galloway, a marketing professor at New York University and the author of The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, told me on a phone call. But "this has the potential to be destructive on the wrong terms for the local municipality."

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