This past week, University President Drew G. Faust gave her support to Boston’s bid to host Amazon’s second headquarters. The bid joins over 200 others, each vying for the 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investment Amazon plans to bring to its new site. We also support Boston’s bid, and we believe that the Greater Boston area has substantial benefits to offer to Amazon that it would not be able to find elsewhere.
As Faust’s spelled out in her letter, rather than providing massive tax breaks or absurd incentives, Boston’s appeal lies in its thriving intellectual culture. Boston’s first-rate teaching and research facilities, including those here at Harvard, make it home to highly educated students, researchers, professors, and experts. This makes Boston a center for academic collaboration, innovation, and the exchange of knowledge.
Moreover, Boston offers a promising pipeline of young, knowledgeable, and motivated students from a variety of disciplines. As Faust rightfully asserts, not only are Boston’s science, applied science, and engineering students strong assets for companies like Amazon, but so too are its students in the social sciences and humanities. Should Amazon decide to come here, it would greatly benefit from the area’s intellectual resources, culture, and diversity.
The potential move is an exciting prospect for Boston as well. Beyond the economic benefits, although Boston has had success in industries like biotech, Amazon’s headquarters would help Boston develop as a city with stronger connections between the technology industry and academia. Stanford’s long-standing association with Silicon Valley, for instance, has helped them draw students and talent, and both have greatly benefited from the relationship. Amazon’s move would be an opportunity for Boston and the East Coast to gain traction in attracting more big tech corporations and leveling the playing field.
Of course, should Amazon decide to come to Boston, it ought to be considerate of the surrounding community. Bringing in an influx of highly paid workers and a massive office space would inevitably affect the area. We acknowledge that Amazon’s move to the bid’s proposed site, Suffolk Downs and East Boston, would lead to gentrification and affect the demographics of the region. Thus, Amazon ought to limit its impact when possible and avoid imposing itself or its brand too heavily on the region.
Furthermore, the delays in the construction of General Electric’s Boston headquarters should serve as a cautionary tale, given the obstacles that an Amazon headquarters could face in setting up here. We appreciate that the Boston bid has not promised too much as part of its incentive package for Amazon. At the end of the day, however, Boston is a great city, and we encourage Amazon to join our community and call this area home.
This staff editorial solely represents the majority view of The Crimson Editorial Board. It is the product of discussions at regular Editorial Board meetings. In order to ensure the impartiality of our journalism, Crimson editors who choose to opine and vote at these meetings are not involved in the reporting of articles on similar topics.