These are both meaty topics.
I think people love free markets because they get to tell their own stories, instead of being forced to join someone else’s. That’s the biggest part of why they’ve done so well. I do think people also like a larger movement — this is one argument for having symbolic royalty, for example — but I think it’s a nice-to-have, not required.
Corporations are able to provide that sense of mission, too, but I think it’s so watered down at larger organizations, and people’s work is so far from it, that it becomes less of a motivator.
In terms of Amazon, I think they’re a very different kind of company, and some of that is about internal organization, but a huge huge amount of that just has to do with their bringing to the web Wal-Mart’s business model of squeezing suppliers to enable deep discounts to customers. Combining that with the Costco subscriber business model means more repeat business and higher growth.
It’s true that AWS and other things have been invented within this framework, but I’m not yet willing to say that it’s because of Amazon’s internal structure; it could just as easily be because of the problems they encounter needing new ideas.
And I think if you would ask the warehouse workers at Amazon, they would not feel like they’re part of a free market system. They’re exactly the kind of crushed pseudo-employee that our modern economy specializes in, and Amazon is perfectly happy to exploit.