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Because Amazon is the future of shopping; being an Amazon "associate" in an Amazon "fulfilment centre" – take that for doublespeak, Mr Orwell – is the future of work; and Amazon's payment of minimal tax in any jurisdiction is the future of global business.

A future in which multinational corporations wield more power than governments. "It solved these huge challenges," says Brad Stone.

It's here, where actual people rub up against the business demands of one of the most sophisticated technology companies on the planet, that things get messy.

It's a system that includes unsystemisable things like hopes and fears and plans for the future and children and lives.

It expects to continue the growth that has made it one of the most powerful multinationals on the planet.

Right now, in Swansea, four shifts will be working at least a 50-hour week, hand-picking and packing each item, or, as the put it in an article a few weeks ago, being "Amazon's elves" in the "21st-century Santa's grotto".

But then who hasn't absent-mindedly clicked at something in an idle moment at work, or while watching telly in your pyjamas, and, in what's a small miracle of modern life, received a familiar brown cardboard package dropping on to your doormat a day later. "It mastered the chaos of storing tens of millions of products and figuring out how to get them to people, on time, without fail, and no one else has come even close." We didn't just pick and pack more than 155,000 items on my first day.

It's littered with the names of defunct websites (remember Sir Bob Geldof's, anyone? It was a frustrating task and of pretty much everything I ordered, only the book turned up on time, as requested. And to work in – and I find it hard to type these words without suffering irony seizure – a "fulfilment centre" is to be a tiny cog in a massive global distribution machine.I'd left my mum's house outside Cardiff at 6.45am and got in at 7.30pm and I want some Compeed blister plasters for my toes and I can't do it before work and I can't do it after work.My finger hovers over the "add to basket" option but, instead, I look at my Amazon history.It's an industrialised process, on a truly massive scale, made possible by new technology.The place might look like it's been stocked at 2am by a drunk shelf-filler: a typical shelf might have a set of razor blades, a packet of condoms and a DVD.

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