ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Spatio-temporal Dynamics of Capitalist Landscape in India

Amazon Warehouses as Spatial Constructs

The conceptual delineation of “spatial compression” in critical writings of Karl Marx and David Harvey is mapped to explain how contemporary capitalist practices use “time” creatively to overcome the spatial constraints to profit-making. The insights drawn from the discussions are used to examine the rapid expansion of Amazon India, primarily achieved through its network of warehouses—a spatial construct. Thus the tangible manifestations of restructuring time and space in the present-day capitalist landscape of India are analysed.

The authors extend their heartfelt acknowledgement to the anonymous referee whose invaluable feedback and insights helped them explore and enrich crucial areas and issues within this article. The referee’s suggestions have shaped the present form of the article, elevating its quality and impact. The authors would also like to express gratitude to Suheel Mir for providing valuable suggestions.

Capitalism is continuously reproducing itself, and more so in the highly globalised world. The so-called “Fourth Industrial Revolution” has created a need for the creative side of capitalism. It is characterised by the convergence of technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and the internet of things. Capitalism is said to be a system that tends to reward innovation and creativity. With the Fourth Industrial Revolution raising the stakes, businesses that fail to innovate and adapt may quickly become irrelevant, as new competitors emerge with better products and services. These attributions are rather loose remarks on the reproduction of spaces in a constantly and rapidly shrinking world. The spatial churning is increasingly evident in emerging markets, such as India, where capitalism is quickly adapting and expanding itself in creative ways.

A noteworthy case of this phenomenon is Amazon India’s remarkable growth by way of expanding its network of warehouses. Amazon has been instrumental in revolutionising traditional ways of doing business and shopping (or offline markets), leading to what is referred to as “e-commerce penetration” in India. This entails a comprehensive strategy of overcoming the physical aspects or limitations that constrain the traditional or offline markets, such as convenience, accessibility, diversity of products, competitive prices, discounts, and rapid delivery experiences. All these limitations are associated with time and space, and capitalism has a long history of dealing with them. The ability to constantly innovate the ways to effectively overcome the physical constraints largely determines growth of capital in the globalised markets. So, the pertinent, or rather puzzling, question is: How does Amazon India handle temporalities, overcoming barriers to the growth of capital, and how that increasingly renders the offline markets redundant? What explains the constantly changing capitalist landscape brought about by its creative aspects?

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Updated On : 2nd Oct, 2023
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