If you purchase an item from Amazon, they will, in what appears to be a modern miracle, deliver it your door, here in the remotest part of Montana, within a day or two.

If you don’t like it, an even bigger miracle takes place. When the courier comes to retrieve the item, in that same box Amazon sent it you, the courier scans it at your door for delivery back to Amazon and you are instantaneously refunded the money.

Amazon might be getting an empty box when they credit you, no questions asked.

But that’s no miracle — their business model is unsustainable by anyone other than a company with monopolistic practices.

When Amazon first started in 1997 it was mostly a book re-seller, so no one would begrudge that they didn’t show any profit until 2003. Its fourth-quarter profits in 2017 exceeded the combined profits of the prior 14 years. Along the way it drove the nation’s biggest bookseller out of business and then, as any economist would suspect, started mandating new rules for publishers.

CEO Jeff Bezos (who until his divorce will be considered the richest person in the world) long preached re-investment in his business as the reasons for the regular losses.

But that’s a lie. Amazon wouldn’t be in business if not for the stock market. It is investors who have fueled the growth and now dominance of the largest retailer the world has ever known.

And they’ve done it through unfair trade practices, inherently designed to eliminate their competition.

Look around your favorite bricks-and-motor stores — those are what Amazon is unfairly trying to eliminate.

Most Americans aren’t retailers, but we do depend upon local retail to pay for the lion’s share of our needs as citizens. Unlike your local retailers, Amazon paid little or no taxes in most of these United States, until a few years ago.

If you can imagine a world without local retailers, you might want to imagine that same world without local police, clean water, and sewers.

There is a laundry list of why it’s a better experience to walk into a locally owned (or even locally managed) shop to buy something. First and foremost for the buyer is service. That may mean there’s someone to help you pick out the right product, and if it’s the wrong product, just take it back to the store.

When shopping online, a savvy buyer may be able to work miracles with a smart phone but good luck to the person who attempts to actually use that smart phone to discuss a problem.

So there’s the proof of Amazon’s miracle : They’re eliminating jobs on Main Streets all across America, to feed the beast.

And the beast is your desire for instant gratification.

If you spend $100 with a local retailer, that money re-circulates in the community a multitude of times, burgeoning the local economy.

Spend that Benjamin with Amazon and you achieve the opposite effect for your community — you diminish your local economy by several hundred dollars with your $100 purchase.

A recent investigative report on Amazon states that the company killed almost a million local retail jobs last year along with a staggering 62,000 local shops.

If Teddy Roosevelt were president now, Amazon would be broken up by way of the Sherman Act, along with Facebook (which we believe is America’s real Public Enemy Number One), Google, and others who bamboozle the public into believing there is no long-term harm in unfair competitive schemes.

But America is at its ebb in political courage.

Greed, which was a few generations ago considered one of the deadliest sins, seems now to be the American ideal.

All those years of no profits also garnered Amazon billions in tax refunds — so the federal taxes you pay did, in some sense, pay for Amazon’s ability to create those miracles you enjoy online.

Tom Mullen is co-owner of The Nugget.